So there is something that has been in my life for as long as I can remember. My addiction. It’s been something that I’ve tried time and time again to help and it’s also something that has caused me a great deal of anxiety. When people here the term addiction, most people think drugs. Well, I’m here to burst your bubble and tell you that I indeed do not have a drug issue. I in fact don’t even smoke cigarettes and hardly drink.
But I am an addict. I’m addicted to memories. I am terrified of losing memories… especially the ones I hold close. My entire life I kept every single that that reminded me of something good. For a long time I held on to clothes, notes, e-mails, and anything else that reminded me of anything I cared about. At one point in my life I gained courage and threw away a lot of things I held close… like the light purple polo shirt I had on the first time my childhood love hugged me, or a childhood toy I played with all the time… I still own that barbie… or how about my favorite socks I wore in high school. It sounds silly, it truly does, but I kept everything.
After letting go of most of those things, I felt relief. Relief that I’m not held down by so many objects… but every now and then I think about what I threw away and I can’t remember what I threw away and it gives me anxiety to know that I don’t remember those memories now. I still to this day hold on to things I shouldn’t… like toys, clothes… notes. I don’t want to consider myself a hoarder, but once you define it and look at me, I am. Not to the extreme of hoarding you may think. I don’t have mounds of stuff untouched or mounds of things that are covering my entire house. I just have little things I hold dear.
Looking around me right now I can already see so many things that are “trash” but I keep. An example would be a masquerade mask I made for an old friend’s birthday party. Though me and this person do not talk, and frankly she hates me now, I still keep it. It reminds me of so many happy things. The people I made it with, who I don’t talk to anymore either, but we were friends then… and I cherish those memories.
How about a hornets nest I have laying on my desk? There is no reason for that and in fact needs to be thrown away, but it reminds me of the day I picked it up to use it as a sample to photograph for my fear of holes image… that didn’t even work out. I was terrified to pick this thing up because I’m scared of holes and sticking my fingers or arms into a dark hole… not knowing where it leads to.
I shouldn’t hold on to these things and I know this. It’s just so hard… hard to let go of some clothing because it reminds me that I bought that with my own money… or I wore it for my anniversary, or holding on to lip gloss I had since childhood because my dad bought it for me at the skating rink and those were some of the happiest days I’ve had.
I hold on to so much… I want to be the person who can let go, someone that has a clean house and no clutter, to know how to be okay with not remembering everything all the time. To be able to throw that piece of paper away that says “love never fails” and that’s all it says. I want to be able to throw away silly things.
I’m taking baby steps. Each time I go to my closet I let something go. Each time I clean the house up I let something go. It’s a long process and every time I move it makes me realize just how much I hold on to. I don’t want this anxiety but I want to be able to remember all the happy times and turn to them when I’m in a dark time of my life. Another part of me knows that holding on to those memories is far more unhealthy than when I’m sad.
I actually created an image about my addiction last year. It’s also an image that illustrates a story I wrote in college about putting all of my things into a box and being scared of losing that box. This image represents letting go and the feeling of forgetting those memories… it’s both and positive and negative image for me.