My mother could have very easily done the job for me. Taken the stairs by two up to my bedroom and stuffed the party dresses and old dance costumes into a black plastic bag. The array of peach-colored satin and sequined headpieces would serve as a cushion to the teddy bears and dolls that would soon join them. She could have dropped my childhood into a Salvation Army box and left me to deal with the remains. Dolls That No Longer Whispered Secrets To Me. Dresses That Never Again Allowed Me To Believe I Was The Queen Of Home Depot.
We all know what it is like to throw something out. To go through a pain-staking process of spring cleaning. To purge our lives of past collections of old shoes, movie memorabilia, and Pokemon cards to start fresh. Newer. Older. Wiser.
Imagine if our bedrooms and houses never needed to be ridded of their clutter, if we were able to become socially acceptable hoarders. Would we turn to play with those Legos with our morning coffee? Would we acknowledge the Raggedy Ann Dolls and kiss the heads of our Polly Pockets before we headed off to work? Probably not. We make the decision to let things go when we realize we have outgrown them, that they no longer serve a purpose to us besides the one that sits dusty (but preserved) in our memory.
We accept the fact that we need to let certain things go, but then we shudder to think about the same process applied to people. Cutting Ties With People Who We Have Outgrown. Who No Longer Serve A Purpose.
It is hard to say for certain how we can ever really be sure that we need to let someone in our lives go, to cut a weak tie that no one has the energy to thread any longer. But I think its just like that bedroom, full of toys and dresses and wooden blocks that we have long stopped playing with. Eventually we need to accept that some conversations will never take us anywhere. Some interactions will hinder us more than help us. Some people will keep us rooted in the past so much that we forget we even cared to look to the future.
When we hold on to people for too long, their purpose well having served itself, we lose track of New Doors Opening. New Faces. New Laughs. New Hands. New Insights. New Challenges. New Pet Peeves. The New Newness of Meeting Someone New. And that would be a shame to miss out on, simply because our bedrooms are too full of our childhoods and our hearts are too full of people we don’t have the courage to let go of.
I will never forget learning it for myself the day my mother told me that I needed to “get rid of some things.” How dare she call them things, I thought, they are my life. My Happiness. My Universe. But as I put on my aqua blue princess dress with the ruffles that allowed me to float like a cloud, I suddenly understood her suggestion. (I) The material no longer fit the same way. (Don’t) The leotard inside was stretched and uncomfortable. (Fit) The shoulder sleeves that once puffed let out a sigh of exasperation. (You) My princess dress looked more like Cinderella, post-ball, post-wrestling match with some ugly step-sisters. (Anymore) I had grown out of it and was accepting it for the first time.
It is much easier to accept this truth with “things.” We rarely ever accept it with people. We rarely ever tell another that there is only one more “goodbye” left in our path, and no more “hello”s. Because its too hard. Because we want to convince ourselves that we can hold onto every human being that we cross paths with. That will never do though. Which is why we must make the hard effort on our own. To Cut The Tie. To Bid Farewell (and this time really mean it).
I wish I could say that I know every star that is meant to sit up in my night sky. But I don’t. Some have not been named yet. Others are there one day and gone the next. But that is the joy and the beauty of this lifetime, that we encounter new individuals on a daily basis and some of them change us. Not All For The Better. But All For Good.
But we must make the proper accomodations for new people in our lives. So that when they arrive we are ready for them and we have a spot for them, just as we once made room for new toys and new dresses. If our lives our too cluttered, our worlds too jumbled with people whose purpose’ have faded, we risk someone new walking in only to walk out for lack of room.
And I dare say it, I don’t want to miss that chance encounter. That New Face. That New Laugh. That New Newness of Meeting Someone New.