One of the things I did when I left Texas and moved to Virginia was PURGE
I purged everything.
I’d lived in that house almost 10 years. And with it came a lot of memories. But not all of those memories I needed to take with me. Some needed to get left behind!
There were things I had kept because–quite frankly–I just didn’t know what to do with them. And then there were things that I probably knew what I should do with (toss!) but found myself simply unwilling to let go.
It’s amazing what you find hiding in the garage when you have no choice but to go through it. After all, whatever you move—you PAY to move.And moving isn’t cheap. I can promise you that! So you better WANT or NEED whatever you’re bringing with you because you WILL pay to move it. I guess when a price tag is attached to things, you suddenly see them in a new way. Maybe you were willing to let them take up space in your garage for years when all it cost you was the inconvenience of having to walk around them. But what happens when those items add up and cost you the mortgage that month collectively to move them?
All of a sudden, you see things in a new way. Things that were easy to throw in the garage or a box at my other house suddenly came with a cost. Was I willing to pay money to haul them across the country? After all, it adds up!
I kept a lot of things in that garage over the years. Things like my wedding dress from 1995 even though I’d been divorced since 2006! There were papers that could have been thrown out years ago. Broken things. Things that I might use one day. Things I knew I would NEVER use one day!! I even had my ex-husband’s fishing tackle box on a shelf gathering dust. It was amazing what I refused to throw out.
When my mother and my Nana died, giant boxes of their belongings were sent to me. I could never bring myself to go through them so there they sat as well. Many times I tried to open them but before I could get through 5 minutes of sifting I felt depressed. I would close them back up and say “another day”.
I guess in many ways this is what I do. This is how I live. I look at the complicated things of life and think to myself….tomorrow.
I will deal with that tomorrow.
The problem is that when tomorrow comes I am no more ready for that box than I was yesterday. In fact by the time tomorrow rolls around….there are more things thrown on the pile. What then?
That is what happened when my Mom died. I couldn’t bring myself to go through the boxes so there they sat in my closet. They took up the entire closet but they didn’t sit so high that I couldn’t still hang my clothes. So I could deal with it. But then my Nana died a year later. Guess what? More boxes. Next thing I knew—the ENTIRE closet was taken over. And that was the end of my closet. I couldn’t use it for its true purpose because it was too busy being utilized to house memories I didn’t feel ready to deal with.
Sometimes we have to shelve things for awhile. Sometimes it’s even important for us to wait before we handle a situation. But when you find yourself with a wedding dress hanging in your garage almost a decade after the divorce and an entire closet that you can’t use 3 years down the road because you never went through the boxes—well maybe then it’s time to start viewing this as a problem!
But I didn’t have to deal with those things. I wasn’t going anywhere. I didn’t mind shoving them in some corner of the garage or a closet and waiting for the tomorrow that never came. I could peek in the garage and quickly shut the door. I could throw a curtain over the closet when the door no longer would shut from all the overflowing boxes full of Mom’s and Nana’s belongings. Whatever it took to pretend it wasn’t there. To keep saying TOMORROW.
Maybe I could have dealt with some of these things earlier ( I’d tell myself)–IF I JUST HAD DONUTS!
You see, my answer to dealing with difficult things was to always pair it with food. If I HAD to deal with something…I mean if I absolutely HAD to…then I would. But only if I could do it while drinking a chocolate milkshake and eating a box of donuts. That was literally the only way I knew to make it manageable. With the donuts absent, I found life a lot harder to deal with. I willingly admit that there are times in my life where my weight goes DOWN but other things pile up. And they pile up simply because the food isn’t there to help me through it. In some ways, I still find it hard to deal with life when food is not there to comfort me. That sounds silly to some. But I know a lot of people out there get it.
When I decided to move and the cost of moving EVERYTHING confronted me—I suddenly knew I had no choice but to stop saying “tomorrow” and start saying “today”. Suddenly the moment of truth had arrived and I could no longer avoid it. I had to deal with things. That meant throwing some things away and saving others. But finally I went through it ALL. And you know what happened? I survived!
It’s funny how we always tend to think we can’t handle something until we suddenly find ourselves faced with the cost of NOT handling it. I guess up to a certain point we are willing to pay the price. But one day we decide that price is too high and then finally we face it head on. That’s how it was with my garage. There were times I couldn’t even park my car in the garage because it was full of so much stuff! Just like I couldn’t hang my clothes in the closet when it was full of boxes. I won’t say going through and purging things was easy—but it was worth it. The process was unbelievably stressful but the outcome was a clean slate and a fresh start.
It’s been exactly one month since I left Texas and moved to Virginia. That may seem like a long time but in many ways it has flown by. We are still not settled in. When I say I purged— I mean it. I got rid of a lot of furniture as well that was old and way past its time. I even left behind my recliner and THAT was difficult. That recliner was my lifeline for years. My brother helped me get that recliner when I was over 400 pounds and could no longer sleep in the bed. I practically lived my life from that recliner once upon a time because I had a hard time moving at all. So to leave it behind was in many ways acknowledging that I no longer needed it. That I no longer was bound to a prison cell due to my weight.
So… I bought some new furniture for the living room and kitchen but here’s the thing–when you buy new furniture, it doesn’t arrive the next day! In fact, it doesn’t even arrive the next week! I thought the most difficult part would be picking out which furniture to buy. In fact, that was just one part of the process. The hardest part is patience in waiting for it to arrive.
I bought the kitchen table a few weeks ago and tomorrow it will finally be here. My living room furniture however was bought a week before the kitchen table and it STILL isn’t here. In fact, I don’t even have a delivery date in sight. So it feels as if we are living in limbo. The floor is our dinner table and couch for now!
Throughout this experience, I have been reminded of a few things. First–refusing to deal with something often comes at a price. For years, I allowed certain things in my life to pile up around me. I felt that tomorrow was a better day to deal with it. Only tomorrow never came. It was only when I was faced with the steep cost of moving those “things” across the country–that I was willing to part with them. I find this to be a lot like the weight loss journey.
There is no doubt that, for me, living life in an obese body came at a price. Anyone that lives with obesity knows we pay for it. Physically, emotionally, psychologically. It’s just not an easy life. But for a long time I could manage it. The problem for me is that it was never a ‘stand-still’ issue. It was progressive and by the time I hit 417 pounds it was literally draining the life out of me. Many times, we are willing to pay the price for whatever we don’t think we can deal with. It is often only when we are faced with a price too high to pay (a medical diagnosis for example) that we finally become willing to face it head on.
Now that I have finally purged my closets and garage—I can see that it was worth it and I intend to make a habit out of doing that regularly. I no longer want to be bound by the clutter of life. Holding onto things that weigh me down. I want what is positive and uplifting in my life. I must learn to let go of the rest. The same is true for me in my weight loss journey. I must be willing to have a lifestyle that involves regularly surveying the situation. Not allowing bad habits to build up to the point that they become unmanageable.
I have gained back weight that I previously lost. I have let back in destructive habits. Maybe right now, that is all manageable for me. The weight I have put back on hasn’t affected me to the point where I can’t fit in a chair or can’t walk. But I know that it COULD if I let it. I know the price tag that will come if I don’t address it now. Why should I wait until the cost is so steep when I could deal with it now?
But there’s another lesson I have learned from all this. PATIENCE. You see, there comes a time when we realize we must let go of certain things. We become aware that nothing new and fresh will come into our life if we don’t let the wrong thing go. So we let go of it. And then we look around and wonder—where is the replacement??
The problem is that the replacement isn’t always working on OUR time schedule. There is an in between time. A lag. And in the meantime, all we can see is the empty space where something USED to be. This is the case in many areas of life. We let go of a bad relationship only to be faced with the quiet. We know deep down that NO ONE is better than the WRONG ONE. Yet how many times in life do we become impatient and unwilling to wait? Before long, Mr. Wrong looks better than Mr. Hasn’t Shown Up Yet
This is not so different from the weight loss journey. We let go of certain things in our life that have contributed to the problem. Maybe it’s sugar. Donuts. Cupcakes. Maybe it’s laying on the couch instead of going for a walk. But in letting go of those things, we find now a struggle. A daily struggle. And we don’t see the fruits of our labor. Maybe we walked every day for a whole week and guess what….still obese! Maybe we didn’t eat any sugar for 3 days and you know what? Headache, nausea, misery! Sure we have heard that one of these days the benefit will come. But how long do we have to wait until we start seeing those benefits??
No where in life is patience more critical than in weight loss. It literally took me losing 100 pounds before anyone that knew me in my real, daily life even NOTICED. Even then it was like…”Hey…did you do something different? Something is kind of different…” That’s how it really was!! That’s how it often is with people who are significantly obese. Losing 50 pounds at my current weight is very noticeable. At over 400 pounds, it seemed like a drop in the bucket. My point is that we have to be patient. And that isn’t easy to do. We want to believe that we will be rewarded for forsaking those destructive habits in our life. AND WE WILL! But in the meantime, we must learn to be patient. And that my friends is often the hardest part!
So here I sit—waiting for my furniture to arrive. It’s been several weeks now and I’m getting impatient. But I have to remember that this is a process. Often in life, we must wait. And it’s in the waiting where we often learn the most.
It is often when I am faced with those empty spaces that I have no choice but to really see my life for what it is. That is when I must determine what I really need and what I don’t. And when I am forced to wait, I become even more grateful. Because now I know what it is like to go without. To not have that thing I have yearned for. And when it finally arrives, I am much more willing to care for it as a prized possession.
It’s not really the furniture I speak of here–although I can’t wait to get it! But really I’m reminded of the struggle we all go through when we give something up in anticipation of what is to come. In moving here, I made an effort to give up some things in my life that were destructive. I made a point to start fresh. The process isn’t easy but I still believe that it will be worth it.
If you are just starting out with your own fresh start, I encourage you to push through. To perservere. To be patient.
And I’ll be right there with you—doing the same thing!