Since Memorial Day 2009 I have twice had to restart my life.
An end of a marriage. An end of a relationship. Moves from where I had been living, one as short as a year, the other eight years total, to someplace new. Rentals. White walls. Whole new views of sunrises and sunsets. All new belongings.
When these endings occurred I both times got rid of nearly everything I had, but nothing so consistently as pots, pans, glasses, plates, silverware, dishrags, and trash cans. The first time I left everything from the marriage because I was the one leaving and taking it with me would have reminded me of the marriage. The second time everything went to Goodwill to attempt to stem memories of who had used my pots and pans, my pint glasses from college, my Fiestaware. Spatulas. Strainers. Everything went, and I started over. Again.
It is more than just the kitchenware, of course. Having to furnish every room, knowing these structures might feel more comfortable with things on the walls, tables where the guys and I have meals. It’s the kitchenware trigging thoughts more than anything else because for some reason emphasis was put on plates and how they meant something, and with these new things I am constantly reminded of the old being gone.
Retreating to dark corners might help me from the pain of confronting things, but it also keeps me in the dark corners with my memories, my obsessions, my refusal to be in the present and not somewhere in the past. What if I had kept the last house, and the mismatched, on purpose, dinnerware, and the wooden spoons purchased for $5 from Target? Would heading at it straight on have made a difference? Is wondering whether it would have just as much a waste of time as thinking about every instance I would do differently if I could?
With unlimited resources I worry I might change everything all the time. Get too used to the pots and pans, and the thoughts they trigger, cast them aside, and buy replacements. Rather than look around and say everything in sight is, unequivocally, mine, all I see is what is gone. Maybe it is better I am on the brink of financial destruction. I’ll have to deal with what is here.
While I have no peace doing the dishes I somehow tonight found peace writing about no peace while doing the dishes. I suppose it is a measure of experiencing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), doing something with my time for me as a person rather allowing the thoughts to control me. Now how do I do it again?
Maybe I did an intelligent thing by cleaning up the kitchen tonight no matter how much it triggered the obsessive thoughts because it led to writing. And maybe all I did was end up with a clean kitchen.