Better Now. And Still Holding.
As we talked last week about ‘Why we hold on’, many of you reached out to me about your own struggles with holding on to things that had really turned into clutter. More of you found it difficult to part from things, because of an emotional attachment. Believe me, I get it.
After departing from my 30-year-old suitcase, I had to deal with losing that emotional attachment. I realized that there were some other things – a t-shirt from Army basic training that is almost just as old as the suitcase - was still in my closet. I wear it all the time. Holes and all. I made a vow to never get rid of it, because it holds too many memories.
At least once a week, I try to FaceTime with my two nieces – A’Raya and Nevaeh. They are two of the smartest and brightest tiny humans I know. Soon into our conversation, they always ask “Auntie, where’s Puppy?”
No, I don’t have an actual puppy. The one they are referring to is… Okay, let me tell you the story.
Growing up in the 80’s in Kansas City, the Landing Mall was it. I think my mother and I shopped there every Saturday, and we loved going to Macy’s. This particular day, I roamed around in the toy section and this cute, cuddly, soft puppet caught my attention. A brown and white puppy puppet. I loved him right away.
Clinched to my chest, I found my mother and begged her to buy this puppet for me. I knew I had to lay it on as think as I could, to ensure she understood how serious this was. Hey, 8-year-olds gotta do what they gotta do. My genius worked. I walked out of Macy’s that day with the puppet on my hand. I immediately named him Puppy. I know, not very imaginative.
Puppy and I were inseparable. My mother even let Puppy take shape on her hand from time to time, complete with a voice and mannerisms. Over the years, his fur became less soft, having survived food spills, several needle and thread operations, multiple washings, and a brief kidnapping at my grandmother’s house (tragic!).
Now, back to my adorable boos…
When my nieces ask where Puppy is, I immediately go rally him off the shelf in my bedroom closet. Puppy – oh, he still got it. He dances, and has a whole song that has them giggling and dancing along. Puppy has helped them celebrate their birthdays, and other celebrations. It’s the fact that he’s still bringing smiles, and giggles. This is what pure joy looks like. Which is why Puppy will never go away.
No one can tell you what or what not to hold on to. Anything or anyone that is taking up too much space, causing you pain or emotional stress, or limiting how you best live your life should probably go.
Those things you are holding on to, regardless what it is, that bring joy or sentimental value, determine where their proper place should be. Your entire collection of Ebony and Jet magazines from the last 30 years probably doesn’t need to be sprawled across the coffee table (or underneath it, or in the hall closet). Maybe save the covers only and put them in a binder – that goes on the shelf in the basement.
Clothes you don’t wear anymore. Really. Clothes you haven’t worn in 10+ years, that still have tags on them, that are too small or too big, pack up and donate. Shoes too!
Photos that are busting out of the boxes you've had them in for two decades. Scan them onto an external hard drive. Organize papers, organize your inbox, and do you really need those VHS tapes underneath the television? Just saying.
You get the idea, even if it’s hard. Give life to what best serves you. And boxes (and maybe a swift kick) to what doesn’t.