Wednesday, April 08, 2015

I did a difficult thing this evening and threw out what may have been over ten years of handwritten journals.

Since I discovered The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (affiliate link), I have been undertaking a project of decluttering my life from unneeded or unwanted items. Some of this has been clothing, such as things that don't fit, will never fit again, or I wasn't wearing because I really didn't like it or who knows why. Some of it was books. Actually, a lot of it was books. Most were my husbands, but we have about 130 ready in boxes, waiting to be donated. I tidied up my jewelry, getting rid of pieces that I stopped wearing a long time ago. The basic principal of the method is: keep what sparks joy. Unless the object doesn't "spark joy", but is functional to you, then you find joy in its purpose. You may not love your blender, but you can't afford a new one and it's damn helpful in the mornings.

I've mostly finished with my belongings at the new apartment. It was difficult to go by category, according to the method, because so much of my life was in boxes and bags. I ended up addressing things as I came across them and as I found homes for everything. We're still figuring out storage options and could really use some shelving. I decided to move on to a completely different category of "things I left at my parents house when I moved out several years ago". That was for my first apartment with Hulky.

A couple of weeks ago, I dragged some boxes out of the attic eaves and discovered schoolwork from middle school through college. Straight to the trash! I found a lot of knick-knacks that I had cherished during those times, but didn't hold much memory for me now. Only sentiment, and to be honest, I'm finding that somewhat detrimental for my well-being. I can't keep living my life dragging around memories that I don't need. So I threw a lot out and recycled what I could. Most of it was easy to part with.

This week's task was peeking into my old bedroom's closet, now my brother's closet. On the top shelf, I'd left several shoeboxes full of journals, shown above, and notes from high school friends. I also found two tutus, a pair of tap shoes, and the 35mm analog camera I used in my college photography courses. The camera stayed, but everything else went out. Yes, even the tap shoes. I am making a lot of swift decisions in this process, like weighing the effort of trying to sell something over the ease of simply throwing it in the trash barrel.

The journals were not so easy for me. I was tempted to read them, but I made a promise to myself a long time ago that I would never re-read my journals. I peeked at the dates on the first page of a few of them. I know that the black ones with the spiral spines were from middle school. I know that there are many memories recorded in those books, things that I have mostly forgotten, and I know that it's time to leave them behind.

Picking them up to throw them away, I nearly cried. I'm not sure if I can really articulate why this was such a difficult and necessary task for me. I have let my past and my depression hold me back for a very long time and most of those journals were a symbol of that. Many of those journals hold the record of my darkest times. I need them to be gone so I can know it's okay to move on. Depression may still be a struggle for me, but I am not the same person I was ten years ago, or eight years ago, or six years ago.

Here's to the future.


  1. There's some irony in the sadness I feel when you throw those journals out. I wonder how much of those terrible feelings and depression I contributed to.