I’ve recently listened to an impulse talk by Laura Seiler. It was one the audios she sent as a “door“ in the advent calendar from her website.
She advised to clean up at the end of the year, literally in your flat, but also emotionally.
At first I nodded in agreement. This sounds so simple. But when you go about it, it is extremely exhausting. I cleaned up my desk and room in Austria before I left for Germany to pass the Christmas break there, proud of myself. After Christmas there was a nagging feeling in the back of my head that made it understood that I was not to get away so simply.
I know what that nag wanted. With a sigh I went to the attic and retrieved two cardboard boxes. I had thrown stuff in there I had not wanted to deal with when I moved to Austria more than five years ago. Everything I did not feel capable of handling. And I opened the two boxes.
It was as if a part of me had held her breath until that moment. Surprisingly, it felt really good to go through the stuff! I read many postcards and quite a few letters, moved by old friendships and relatives. I put some of these in a small box with a smile on my face. Some I discarded right away, as their content did not affect me anymore although at that time it had done- time heals some wounds without me doing anything.
I looked at numerous photos and indulged in some wonderful memories thanks to them. Snapshots from our classroom at school, from university parties, summers in Italy with my family, school trips, the one time I dared a still innocently erotic shooting (! which I had forgotten about entirely), family events, our beloved old cats that are buried in the garden now, an ice cream ad shooting I voluntereed for because of a friend, crushes and former boyfriends.
One letter I read made me cry, as it was so cold and neutral and the last of a, of the, long relationship. They were not bad tears, though I had dreaded this one; they were the good kind. The ones that tell me that this emotional wooden box does not hold anything anymore that can hurt me but the thorns I put around it to hide it.
Some pictures, especially the ones from our summers in Italy, made me nostalgic, and reminded me that I still owed an apology to my Italian summer crush of three or four years in a row. A day later, I delivered it, although 15 years delayed, and he was cute (as always) and we shared laughs and memories. 🙂 Awesome.
All in all, I feel much lighter now, and am wondering (in hindsight 😉 ), or rather shaking my head proudly, why I was so terribly scared of opening those boxes. Opening them has shown me how far I have moved on, and that I do not have to fear the past. Besides, I have learned that time does heal, and that is okay. And finally, going through the content made me smile a lot, brought back long forgotten moments and reminded me a lot of the girl I used to be. I remember her fondly now, mistakes and all.