Burials and Boxes

What am I meant to leave behind? Bury into the soggy, spring ground and walk away from? This morning, while walking the pup, each leg felt like an office building with more windows than one could count, and cubicles and photo albums from every calendar, and at least 100 underpaid employees, and it may have been someone’s birthday because there was cake and an awkwardly harmonized Happy Birthday. 

All of this latched onto, into my thighs as I walked.

This weight I carry with me cannot be lost with a diet of grains, gluten- and sugar-free, and more water. I don’t need to join a gym right now. At least, not because of this office building built into my body.

I think I need a burial. For everything I carry with me that can be let go of, that can be left behind.

Last night, I dreamt that I lost my sandbag. I was walking and fell–while clutching my sandbag–into a thick, deep pit of mud. It pulled me in, but I got out. Unfortunately, my sandbag did not make it.

In real life, I sleep with a purple sandbag stuffed with flaxseeds and scented with the calming aroma of lavender. Others may call it an eye pillow. Sandbag prefers to be called Sandbag. There are nights I wake up and cannot find it. I travel my fingers beneath each pillow, search further down the bed. My sleeping spouse will sometimes (instinctively) find it for me.

Some have teddy bears. Some prefer light music to fall asleep to. Some like to sleep in silk undergarments. Or leather. Or….we all have our needs.

For me, Sandbag puts me to sleep. And though I do sometimes put it over my eyes, there are many nights, I fall asleep clutching it like a wish against my chest.

To analyze my dreams, I become each person, each important part. This helps me to understand it, unfold it. A therapist suggested this once, and it has offered me quite a bit of insight.

So, as I walked my dog and felt the wet air twist itself into my curls, I thought about my dream. I became my sandbag, losing itself in the dirt. Burying itself.

So, what am I ready to bury and move away from?

My current therapist–the best one–has told me that I may be ready to rewrite my story. I keep telling the same one.

But I know it so well. I’ve memorized only a few facts, but THIS story I can recite backwards.

When I was in my twenties, I had boxes. The first one started when I was nineteen, and I was with my first girlfriend. It became a casket of memories, even though we were still together then, as I stuffed receipts from outings, movie stubs, love notes, photos, even some gifts. When we broke up, I couldn’t get rid of the box. It was such a large piece of us, so I hid it beneath my bed, in closets as I moved and carried it with me past many state lines.

The next box was smaller and that one bled into another box which was bigger and then my next box overflowed and I had to graduate into a bigger one. I never told anyone of my boxes because it was a way of holding on, it became another secret I collected (I was so good at that). But then, my partner (at the time) learned of my collection and asked me to get rid of them. I was reluctant, but understood. We were moving in together and it wasn’t right to move in my past loves too.

So. I threw. Them. Away.

There are some things we simply cannot get rid of. I’ve got this army of scars on my arms and (elsewhere) that cannot be recycled or composted or buried beneath my bed. I guess there are creams and treatments, but mine are so embedded, and just like my glasses and the way that I hiccup only once sometimes, they are a part of me.

My sandbag is trying to tell me something. As it comforts me through the night, it whispers in its healthy flaxseed-soaked voice: How about you stop living behind you, and living ahead, and start walking within your current?

I do not like to leave my house. The subway has become a traveling circus of panic attacks. Lately, I have been daydreaming of mountains and closet space. I just don’t know how to be present.

Perhaps this is all to say that maybe a contemplated burial is enough right now. A realization that yes, it is time to let go because by doing so, I can make room for more. More memories that have been waiting on line for years to get into the packed club that is me.

What I was and what I am have been battling my whole life. I am ready to examine what I could be.

 

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