Thursday, October 7, 2010

Moving Day

Tomorrow my parents are coming into town to help me move into my new apartment this weekend. I am moving into the city and will be closer to school and some of my friends, oh and New Guy. It is a move that I am ready to do.

Life is different in the burbs and there is more opportunity for me in the city. I will be bummed that I will not be as close to my friends in the suburbs, but I am not in that place in my life--not married, no children. And I know that I will have no problem driving out to see them when they are not busy doing their thing.

My apartment was a good place for me after moving out of my house and I will be grateful that I had it at that time in my life. It was a place of security in that I could easily get to the turnpike if I needed or wanted to drive back to Cleveland to see my family. I could have tried finding a place in the city then, but I wasn't entirely sure which neighborhood I would want to live. Some had too many memories from the first time I lived in the city with my ex and others were unknown about the safety factor. It is one thing to visit a place and it is another thing to live there. Pittsburgh is not a majorly crime ridden area, but I think it is important for a woman to be extra aware of her surroundings. I felt safe and comfortable in that first apartment and it was what I needed at the time when I was starting my life living on my own.

Now I am ready for a change. It will be good to be in a new place in a new season and at a time when my life is so very different than it was a year ago. While my old apartment was a source of comfort, it also holds the memories of when I was first really living entirely on my own. I realize that I had been living by myself for nearly a year while still in the house. But this place was my first home that had no connection, ties or memories with my ex. With the dark of winter fast approaching, I sometimes remember those lonely and confusing days. I felt unsure of myself in my confidence and in my future. It was a lot of living one moment at a time and exploring the world as a single woman. It felt foreign to me and I was so unsure of myself and where I belonged. I felt like I was discovering a whole new world that made me feel both frightened and excited. It was like every step that I was taking was somehow a new experience for me.

I feel so very far away from that old me and I would like to think of my new apartment as my fresh-fresh start. It is like starting a new chapter on more solid grounding in knowing who I am and what I want. While I am still learning about myself, I hope that I am growing. Although, it is difficult to admit, I wonder if I might be running away from my old self and the memories. Or is it that I am truly making this change for me to grow in a positive direction? I guess time will only tell.

But I think the move coincides with this recent feeling of needing to downscale and make my life simpler. I want less stuff. I don't want it all weighing me down. And I feel that it is time to let go of some of the stuff that has been sitting in boxes in my apartment. I have no regrets in waiting because I know that it is time and I will feel no regret in giving away or selling some of the things that still hold memories of my old life with my ex. I didn't want to part with too much too fast and feel that I could have made a mistake or if that I wasn't ready.

For example, I had a moment this week with the dumpster. I just could not bare it any longer and had this overwhelming need to expunge and free myself from a few things. It is like they had this building power that was just leaking a haunted sadness into my life. So, with that I brought these items down to the dumpster and said my final good-bye to them.

  1. My Wedding Invitations--I don't know why I have held onto the extra wedding invitations for this long. I couldn't understand it when I was married. These boxes have been packed and repacked and have traveled with me to four different homes. It just seemed so wasteful to throw them away. I kept thinking of just picking out a few to save for our (hoped) children. But instead I kept them all. Before I tossed them into the trash, I opened each of the boxes one last time and said my good-bye. I remember looking at the silver font and subtle scrolling pearled boarder. I used to love the simplicity of them. But now, I felt nothing. The cards bearing my name felt empty and I was surprised at the detachment that I felt. It was surprisingly easy to toss them away.
  2. An Anne Geddes Baby Puzzle--Yes, you remember all of her famed photographs with posed babies. I found this puzzle shortly after getting married on clearance and thought it was just too cute. Looking at this puzzle now made me feel angry and sad and frustrated. My ex had always made fun of the puzzle and could not understand why I would buy such a thing. I don't know, it was cute at the time. But then I realized that he never valued my deep wanting to share in having child of our own together. He thought of babies as ugly, boring blobs that did nothing. He never appreciated the life of a child and the experiences they have right from birth. Babies are people who are actively taking in the world from the start. I am amazed by the complexity of child development--it is what my Master's program is all about. I guess the puzzle makes me angry because my ex never appreciated or valued what was important to me. I didn't just see a cute baby. I saw the beauty and wonder of watching a child explore and discover what they can do in this world as they grow up.
  3. A Booklet of House Plans--It was one of the books that we had gotten in deciding which model we wanted to build for our new home. This brought the strongest reaction from within me. At first glance, flipping through the pages made me happy as I was thinking back to the time when we were dreaming about our dream home. This was it. It was exactly all of what we ever wanted and talked about throughout our marriage. And it was finally before us in print and could not have been more perfect for us. I thought about our trip to New York City between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had planned the trip to enjoy the magic of the city and had brought the booklet with us because we would need to make our final decisions shortly after returning from the trip. It was not a chore and was a source of fun for us. I remember laying on the bed looking at the floor plans and list of upgrade options after a long day of sight seeing. It was a lovely way to end our day and we were just too giddy about it all. With those thoughts running in my mind, I remembered how sadly it all came crashing down. Gone was the house, gone were the dreams, gone were the possibilities that that house was supposed to hold for us in our life together. It makes me sad for the me in New York City at Christmas time, not knowing what was all going to happen. The sorrow gripped me. I thought how silly for this of all things to be so difficult to throw away. I had already moved out of the house and all that was left was this booklet. But then, I realized this was an artifact of a really big loss. And it is okay for me to feel however I feel about it. I said my last good-bye and tossed it into the dumpster.

So, now I am at the beginning of another new chapter. We will see what it will hold for me. Perhaps after I spend some time with my good-byes, I should remember to have some time with some hellos.

In fact, that is just what I am going to do. I have an amazing man waiting for me to help with some painting of my new place. Time to go back out into the world and really live in it. Time to dream some new dreams.


  1. Wow Jamie, what an incredibly moving post...

    You say you're worried that you're running away from your "old self"... But what I see is quite the contrary. I sit here in awe of the incredibly brave, and steadfast woman you've probably always been, but just recently took of hold of and ran with it. The progress you've made in just a year is astounding, and you should be SO proud of yourself.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You had every right to lay down and spend a year in a heap grieving the losses of your "past life". But you took every opportunity to put yourself out there and take chances, and do things that felt scary. Jamie, that is pretty amazing.


    And even though it took a HUGE and gut-wrenching challenge to find that out, aren'tyou glad you know now?

  2. I agree with Melissa above...I'm so impressed by you, Jamie, and I'm so thankful to know you. I love how you described the different emotions and memories attached to each of these artifacts and ultimately decided that you don't need to drag them along with you into your fresh start. As you've said to me at some point, you can always hold onto what you want to in your heart, but you just have to keep moving forward.

    Good luck with your move this weekend -- hope it's all going well, and I'm so glad you have New Guy to help you paint, etc. Can't wait to see your new place!

  3. Jamie, I can't really say it any better than Melissa did above - you have taken this time and found out so much about the person you are.
    I know that the time at the dumpster was both sad and refreshing at the same time. But I am glad you took the time to reflect on each of those items before you put them in the dumpster.

    I hope that the move into the new place went smoothly. Enjoy painting with the New Guy. Decorate your new place and welcome in this new chapter of your life.

  4. Thank you ladies for your words of encouragement, understanding and support! You all mean so much to me in so many lovely meaningful ways.

  5. Jamie,
    I am very proud of you for finding the courage to let those "things" go and even more for examining the reasons for keeping them in the first place.

    Remember to live today for today... live in the moment and you will have few regrets. At least that's what I strive for.

    Love, barbie