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Holding onto Junk (Literal and Metaphorical)

Hi friends! Sometimes, I wonder what to write about, and sometimes, something happens to smack me in the face with just the right amount of inspiration. I hope you can appreciate my small journey to getting rid of junk and moving into the future, unburdened by the past.

The event that sparked this post: packing up old baby clothes. For many who know me, I have had an interesting/sad/joyous/complicated journey to motherhood: my first child was born with a fatal birth defect and was stillborn, then I had three miscarriages and finally got pregnant with my daughter and had her almost three years ago. Since then, we have discussed growing our family but have had trouble making that happen for a variety of reasons. How does going through old baby clothes relate to my motherhood journey? For a long time, I told myself that I was 'saving' our daughter's baby clothes for the next baby. And then the next baby didn't come. And didn't come. And didn't come. As of the publishing of this post, a positive pregnancy test has still not arrived in my life. Here's the kicker: it may never happen for us again. That is a real possibility.

When I opened the closet door in the old nursery, tiny onesies, old boxes and a car seat basically came tumbling out. It seemed an apt metaphor for my waiting/grieving process. My soul felt clogged up with the grief of losing children, the unrealized dream of having siblings for our daughter, and the resentment of not being able to have a baby "easily" like other people (although, I know that having babies "easily" comes with its own set of challenges). I wanted to hold onto junk (literally some it of was junk-think stained bibs and old diaper boxes), because I was struggling with letting go of the future I had planned in my head. When I was a teenager, I told people I wanted six (6!) children when I grew up and got married. And here's the weird part, that dream has basically happened, but it doesn't look anything like what I had pictured 15+ years ago. I have five children, four of whom are in Heaven, and only one child Earthside. Holding onto old baby clothes/gear isn't going to make that reality any different, and it won't make the sadness sting any less.

So, how does this relate to you? Well, if you're a 'normal' American, I can guarantee you are holding onto stuff. Our garages are packed full, our closets are stuffed to the brim, and we may have 1-2 junk drawers in our kitchen that we can't even open because of all the crap inside. You've probably inherited things from family members, and you've wondered if you 'should' get rid of family heirlooms. If you're like me, maybe you're ready to finally let go of some of that junk, both literal and metaphorical, and move forward. Maybe it's time to go through a closet, and finally get rid of the clothes you keep telling yourself you're going to "lose 20 pounds and then fit into," because looking at them just makes you feel bad about your body. Maybe it's time to rifle through your filing system and throw away old cards and mementos, because the memories are still in your heart, even if the paper isn't crammed into your filing cabinet. Maybe it's time to scan in old pictures and create a digital keepsake album, because the photos getting bent at the bottom of a drawer doesn't show how much you love them. Maybe you need to look through your home and decide if any of the furniture isn't actually your style or doesn't fit your life.

Here's the four step process to getting rid of junk (both physically and spiritually/emotionally):

  1. Pull it all out. Take a deep breath. Dive in.

  2. Give yourself space to feel whatever emotions you need to, as you go through old things. You can cry, laugh, grit your teeth, etc.

  3. Put the stuff into two piles: trash and donate.

  4. Then gather the trash pile up, and take it immediately to the dumpster. Put the donations in your car and drive to the thrift store immediately and give it away. Don't hold onto it. It's not part of your journey anymore.

Get rid of the junk. You deserve a future that is bright, and joy-filled, even if you had originally pictured something different. You deserve to be free, and holding onto heavy baggage ain't gonna be the way you get there. I'm rooting for you, even if you cry the whole time you go through things. I cried, too, on a Sunday afternoon, holding a watermelon onesie, and then I put it in the donation bag and gave it away. I am better for it, and you will be too!

Take care of yourself,

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