While searching in my bedroom closet the other day for a long misplaced book, I realized with sudden clarity that I've been living out of boxes for decades.
As I went through box after box, I thought how I couldn't do this anymore, couldn't spend hours lifting and sorting through boxes, not even knowing if I'd find what I was looking for. My old bones protest too much. And that's when it hit me for the first time that I've been doing this since I was about 16.
How does one develop such an odd habit? I suspect it comes from a deep insecurity, the insecurity of never knowing where you belong or, if you belong anywhere at all. This insecurity most likely also accounts for why I've moved over the years more than anyone I know. Maybe it made a certain kind of sense to keep everything I don't use on a daily basis boxed up: who knew when I'd be on the move again?
I want to be angry or indignant on my behalf, I mean that things happened to me to turn me into such a stumble bum. But I find that I just can't; the most emotion I can conjure up is a sense of tenderness for all the awkward stages of my becoming who I'm meant to be that have led me here, to a closet full of boxed up life.
This is another benefit to my mother's recent death. I feel more kindly towards the both of us, and it goes so deep I can't begin to understand a bit of it. When I would have a thought that normally results in anger towards her, I think, "Yeah, but she had such a horrible childhood." When I want to silently mock myself for not being perfect, I realize, "No one's perfect."
Those boxes stacked in my closet symbolize so much for me. They symbolize my life all shut up and compartmentalized. They symbolize my inability to put down roots in any one place because I've been too busy trying to outrun my childhood, and the shame of a mother who couldn't love me.
Most of all, they symbolize the depth of my stepfather's brainwashing, the constant mocking and disparagement that told me I didn't deserve to take up space or live a healthy life like others.
These boxes don't have to continue giving off these tired, worn-out messages. I can see them rather as one more challenge to be overcome. I've overcome so much in the 9 years I've been blogging that it makes my thoughts spin trying to keep some kind of tally. I can do this; I can let go of what I've outgrown because it's not healthy living like this, and I deserve a healthy life.
These boxes are mini-storage units (or let me be honest here, mini-prisons) I've willingly confined myself to as I've continued the deconstructing work on my soul that my abuser began back when I was a redheaded stepchild.
How silly they seem to me now, these bland brown boxes whose contents are not so much filled with treaures I can't bear to part with, but the no longer needed relics of my own destruction. I don't need these keepsakes to remind me of that House of Incest.
Isn't it fitting that I've kept them hidden away in closed up boxes, where no air gets in and no one can see from the outside what they contain?
My life feels as if it's in need of a good airing out. I sense a good old spring cleaning on the horizon!