I didn't really mention it here on the blog, but if you follow me on Instagram you know I was home in Alaska last week. My mom is trying to clean up the house now that the nest is empty of all the kids, and after living there for almost 20 years, it's a tall order! A lot of our stuff is still there being stored, so I went through boxes of my old stuff and tossed a ton of stuff and picked a few things to save that will eventually get shipped down here. It was an interesting few days, sort of reliving my entire life through all the knick knacks, journals, and photos I'd squirreled away over the years. Everything from my preschool teacher-parent journal, to boxes of fancily folded passed-notes from my BFF and high school ex-boyfriend. Stuffed animals, homework, horse show ribbons, yearbooks. It was interesting to be confronted with so much of my past all within a couple days.
On my last night in town, I dumped out the box of notes from my high school ex-boyfriend on my bed and decided to read them. All of them. I knew it was a toxic, unhealthy, manipulative relationship, but reading over a year's worth of his notes all in a few hours was, well, heartbreakingly illuminating. I found myself both ragingly irate at how he treated me, and devastated for the girl I became while I was with him. I sobbed for her, surrounded by a pile of crumpled, scrawled notes. I wept for the precious time she wasted trying to manage his emotions and psychological issues. I cried thinking about how powerless my parents felt watching him writhe his way into my life. I watched, retrospectively, as he tried to shrink that wild-hearted girl into a little safe box where he could control her. And then I wiped the tears away and the next morning took every last note and burned them. At first I felt compelled to watch them crumble amidst the flames until ever last one was consumed, but then I decided I wouldn't waste another second of my life on that boy and walked away as they smoldered.
I've done a lot of burning-things activities over the years at retreats, camps, etc., but being able to physically burn that relationship away, even though it was a relationship I hadn't given a thought to in years, burning away all those manipulative words... it was good.