Every once in a while when I realise that my personal life is a mess, I resort to a trusted ritual to get right to the bottom of things. I clean my room! AndI mean thoroughly. Inch by inch I tear the place apart and go through each piece of paper, hair product, purse, shoe, article of clothing and random item housed in my bedroom, and don’t stop until I am both extremely exhausted and elated. Exhausted, because I tend to neglect my surroundings when things are going as they should. Elated because I can once again look around and manage breathe a satisfactory sigh of relief. Order has been restored in my world. Well… kind of.
I found myself on my hands and knees cleaning my room early on this week. I had been through most of my ‘stuff’ and formed two large piles of the things that I planned to keep, and those which I was going to happily toss. While I do make it a habit to wean more and more clutter out of my life each time I move, there are a few things which always seem to linger in unlabeled envelopes. Pictures.
I have pictures dating from childhood, through my high school years, and, unfortunately, even documenting my dating life. I came across one such envelope this week and paused my cleaning to relive the memories a bit. There is something about looking at happy pictures of yourself with an ex that I find eerily disturbing. Mostly because every single one of my feminine hormones kicks into high gear and I find myself reminiscing on the better days.
Surely I can’t be the only one! You’ve done it too right? So, this week I find myself trying to discover once and for all, the rules regarding exes. Is it ever justified to rekindle a flame that once burnt out? Should the past remain the past, or can a future stem from a seed which had previously refused to grow?
When I think back to my past relationships, I’m generally happy that I escaped them, and am no longer subjected to the stress and insecurities that came along with them. Not to say that I didn’t learn anything from those trying times; in fact, given enough time, I often find myself becoming thankful for the lessons learned in the midst of misery. Many of my exes have taught me the value of respecting myself enough not to settle for less, releasing me to the joy of making my own decisions, and being the boss of my own life. Still, every lady knows there’s always just that one guy in your past who could still get your knees shaking and your tongue unable to function when you open your mouth to speak.
You know him. That one dude who could show up on your wedding day and confuse the living daylights out of you, such that, when the pastor asked you to confirm your vows you’d find yourself actually hesitating! The one who you find yourself fantasizing about from time to time, thinking that, if you had one more chance to make things work, you would be more than a woman to him. The man for whom you’d be willing to let your pride go if it meant getting the chance to have butterflies in your stomach and giggle like a giddy schoolgirl when he came around. You know –Him! That’s the guy whose pictures I found while cleaning my room this week. Plus, not only was he looking extra fine in the pictures, but I was there by his side, looking happier than a 5-year old at Christmastime!
Usually when these moments occur, the fantasy is often reconciled by the fact that that particular ex is long gone, in a different part of the world, and with no forwarding address. This is not the case for me. My favorite ex is living in this very city; we still have mutual friends, I still have his number written down on a post-it-note and it wouldn’t take more than one phone call for me to reach him. That’s if I wanted to. Talk about confusion! As I sat on the cold floor staring at pictures of better times, I couldn’t help but notice that the radio suddenly began to play all those songs that reminded me of the times we shared together. An acute smile took its time forming on my face before I caught the image of myself on the mirror and quickly came back to the present moment.
The week is nearing an end and I know if I am going to do anything about the memories held in those Polaroid’s I need to do it now or forever hold my peace. I can feel that smile starting to creep onto my lips as I write this. He made me happy. He really did. I was happier when I was with him than in any other relationship I have ever had. Which is why I suppose, I ran. It scared me to death to be falling in love. I was used to being treated poorly and constantly trying to make things work in relationships. But with him things were going a little too well and I didn’t know how to handle it. So I dropped the ball and ran the other way. I don’t plan on going out this weekend. I just want to stare at these pictures until I figure out what to do. So wish me luck, won’t you!