The anxiety of letting go is intense.

I think, and this can sometimes be a dangerous thing, that “normal” people don’t have a problem with parting ways with inanimate objects when they no longer serve a purpose.

I have two anxieties, quite possibly way more than two, about letting go of things given to me by someone else.  Tossing out a gesture of love is a near abomination to me.  The other anxiety is the thing given to me in love has become a dust collector and is hardly even noticed, let alone used.

I have a collection of plush bears given to me by Joe over the past 12 years.  Each bear had been hugged, squealed over, and many moments had been spent feeling the soft texture of the fur in my hands, and doing the ultimate act of delight….rubbing the soft cuddly thing against a cheek.  Many days had moments where I stopped to look at the  new treasure, give it a touch and a squeeze, feel my heart swell with love, and off I’d go about my daily business.  Those moments dwindled into walking past the bear collection without a single notice.  That is until I saw the thick layer of dust upon the once loved fur.

My bear collection

Layers of dust on the bear

Every winter, during my hiatus, these bears all come off the shelves and are run through the clothes dryer for an hour on high heat.  I have a tennis ball in the dryer that bounces around inside during the drying cycle to help bang the dust off the bears.  This also kills any dust mites that may be living in the fur.

I learned, long ago, that you don’t put a plush bear through the washing machine to clean it.  By the time it gets through the wash cycle all the stuffing has shifted down into one leg or up into one arm.  The poor creature is terribly deformed and misshapen.  The only thing to do then is operate on it, rip its guts out, add new stuffing material back inside the bear, then stitch it back up.  Oh ya, after it has gone through the dryer to fully dry.

I had to, reluctantly, tell Joe to not bring me any more bears.  Crushing both of our hearts.  He thinking that I don’t like ANY of the bears he had brought me and putting him through several minutes of agony.  My watching and hearing the hurt I have just put upon the man I love.

These bears have become hostages in a home that has no love for them any longer.  They are held, on display and forgotten, because I don’t want to give them away yet I don’t want to keep them either.  They mean a lot to me, yet again, they mean nothing to me.  Poor bears 😦

I had to have a talk with Joe.  A long avoided and much dreaded talk with him.  I had to explain myself and my request fully so he would understand that I love the thought behind the gifts but I no longer love the gift itself.  Joe, being the fantastic man that he is, gave me permission to let go of the bears as long as I took pictures of each bear before it left our home.  In his wisdom, the reason behind it, he said I would eventually miss them and would wish I had not given them away later on.  Having photos of the bears would give me the ability to still keep the bears close to me but in a better place.

Joe’s parting words were…..”A child will have a bear to cuddle with at night and be kept safe from the closet monsters.  That child will give the bear the love it truly needs.”  Do I have the most awesome man in the world or what?!

Here are the bears that were donated to the Goodwill.  After they went through the dryer first to get them cleaned up.

Small brown bear

Small white bear with blue clothes

Small white bear

Small leopard

Medium sized brown bear

Medium sized white bear

Medium sized white bear the hat and flowers

Small white bear with bag

Small pink bear

Small yellow bear

Pair of halloween bears

Medium sized white bear that sings

Large white bear

Large tan bear

Medium sized white bear with shirt

Small USA bear

Medium sized white tiger

Medium sized red bear

Medium sized white polar bear

Medium sized white bear

Large purple bear

Large white bear with sweater

Large white bear with heart

Bear from Russell Stover's Candies

Many years ago I read some pretty harsh words said by Flylady.  “Clutter is Clutter no matter how much you love it”.  The words stung me each time I looked at my collection of bears.  These were not Clutter!  I was adamant about that.  She was wrong, so very wrong.

Well, I got over being upset with her.  It has taken me about five years to finally decide to embrace the fact that these bears are just exactly that.  Clutter.

To be fair to Flylady, she was addressing a problem one of her “Fly-Babies” was having about inherited household goods of that person’s late parents.  The Fly-Baby lamented over the state her house was in having all the furniture and “Stuff” of her parents.  Much of which the woman grew up with and adored because it belonged to her mother or held dear memories of her father.  She couldn’t give any of it away, nor could she live with it all.

USER FRIENDLY TIPS:

  1. Take a good look at the items you have collected over the years.  Do they get used?  Maybe china passed down from your parents or grandparents?  You want to still keep them?
  2. Do you have a collection, or stuff, that never gets used?  Do you mutter under your breath each time you have to dust or clean the collection?  Or you have clothing in a closet that you used to look stunning in but no longer can wear?
  3. Do you live in fear that once these items are gone they are gone forever?!
  4. Just take some time to think about how you would feel to have some space in your home if the stuff were gone.
  5. Give yourself permission to feel the pain of the loss, feel the sadness of packing the stuff up and giving it away, feel the betrayal of thinking about someone else putting their loving hands on these treasures of  yours.
  6. If this process causes you too much anxiety to even think about then let it go and don’t do anything.
  7. If, through this process, you feel a sense of freedom, and a nudge of guilt as well, then think about taking pictures of these treasures.  Consider making a scrapbook.  One you can look through and remember these once treasured items.
  8. This is a highly emotional task and is filled with all kinds of land mines that could set you off on a rant or an emotional storm.  Give yourself permission to leave this until you are ready to try once again.
  9. If, on the other hand, you are ready to begin the process of letting stuff go then get in there and do it.

This house cleaning and purging I’ve been going through for several weeks has been an emotional roller coaster.  I’ve had many moments of frustration knowing that I will go through the whole process once again next winter.  All this work for nothing.  Then again, all this work has brought me so much freedom as well.

I’ve brought out the “Pity Party” decorations and had quite the shindig.  I’ve lamented not having a regular job like a regular person.  One that I’m home every night with two regular days off.  A life that would allow me to spend time in  my craft room and be creative throughout the year instead of just in small chunks of time.

I’ve also been brought up short in my partying to realize that I would have my butt fired in an instant because I don’t “Play well with others”.  Then I’ve had to clean up my partying mess and get back to the business at hand.

The last, and final, post of 2012 will be (hopefully) tomorrow about our hallway.  Or as I like to call it – Joe’s “Man Cave”.  His tools and STUFF reach out and grab me each time I pass through to the laundry room.  The result ranges from muttering under my breath, occasional loud cursing, micro bursts of exasperation aimed directly at Joe to get the mess cleaned up.

Truth to tell, he had been asking me when I would be finished with what I was doing so we could clean the hallway.  HE was getting excited about getting the hallway, and his stuff, organized.  So, see, all this work does have an effect on those in your household.  As they see the results and feel the pride you are showing in your environment it seems to rub off on them.  Okay, I’ll shut up for now.

The much dreaded hallway

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About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

6 responses to “The anxiety of letting go is intense.

  • JasmineKyleSings

    I would put them in space bags suck them flat!! than you’ll have more room LOL!!! Clutter is NOT always clutter, it’s a collection of bears your husband lovingly picked up for you on various holidays. Thins you can hold when he’s at work or away from you. If they were love letters you would not say they were clutter. Happy new year!

    • Message In A Fold

      Miss Jasmine, thank you. I have thought about putting the bears in a space bag. My major problem is I have very little space to put the space bag.

      I did keep several of the bears Joe gave me. The ones that really mean a lot to me. I’ll have to show them off. I also have a filing cabinet with a drawer full of his love letters to me. Those will remain with me forever 😀

      Thank you, my new found friend, for your comments. I do appreciate you.

      Happy New Year to you and your little family. My wish for you is that all your dreams come true in 2013. You move into your dream home, your singing career takes off and soars, your husband falls more in love with you each day, as you do so with him, and your child fills your heart to near bursting 😀

      Warmest regards – Leslie

      • JasmineKyleSings

        Oh Leslie what a WONDERFUL new years wish for a stranger! Your so kind. I can’t tell you how nice it’s been having someone like you encouraging me. Good people keep me going and positive. You guys keep this up I’m going to turn to rubber and all the bad things that happen to me will bounce RIGHT OFF !!! Happy New Year and I hope your bears find a warm cozy place to snuggle, and you get LOTS of New Years kisses !!!

      • Message In A Fold

        Life is made better, more “bearable”, and sweeter by people that bless our lives. Thank you, Miss Jasmine, for blessing mine.

        Leslie

  • gardenpinks

    I am a sucker for ‘cuddlies’! I didn’t have any as a child and can’t stop ‘ooohing and aaaahing’ over them whenever I pass a shop that has any in however I have drawn a line so that my dear ones do not inundate me with these cuddly things 🙂 I have a handful of very small ones and they are easily tolerated and can be popped into a drawer so they don’t get dusty. I recall our daughters have masses of them and only loving a couple so bit by bit I ‘disappeared’ the ones that weren’t favourites and passing them onto charity shops or school fetes! Now our daughters are doing the same to their children!!!!!! 😀 So funny.
    I do understand where you are coming from and you do have to harden your heart to get rid of the unwanted things but these bears will give lots of love to someone else.
    Love and hugs
    Lynn xxxx

    • Message In A Fold

      I’m so sorry to hear that you did not grow up with a cuddly 😦 I see you do have some to fill that void now, even if they do live in a drawer 😀 You can be surprised by them when you pull the drawer open 😀

      You had an excellent way of dealing with the abundance of unloved cuddlies with your girls. Now they see the benefit of it and do the same for their little ones. So, you didn’t damage them too badly by “disappearing” their cuddlies and having to watch and listen to the wailing and tears. Good job that.

      Those poor bears. They are off on new adventures now instead of being stuck to a dusty shelf 😀

      Love you – Leslie

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