I am feeling sad this morning. On my way to work, I carried with me three, large garbage bags full of cherished stuffed animals from my childhood.
I told myself not to look in the bags, to just set them aside until I could meet up with a friend who runs a therapy practice downtown and lets her younger clients pick out a book or toy to bring home with them.
It is a wonderful way to part with possessions that have meaning. What use do they have sitting on a shelf? Stuffed animals need to be loved and to bring love. That is their destiny, and I am denying them said destiny by keeping them in my life.
I remember a friend of mine telling me that one will always experience seller’s remorse after parting with something meaningful. I should be able to live with this. The lightness I feel each time I part with material things makes the parting of value, despite the bittersweet end to an oft-lifelong relationship.
I broke my tenuous promise not to look in the bags. Each time I do this, memories wash over me with each stuffed animal I pick up and hold in my arms. My favorite black lab puppy stuffed animal that I wanted to name Blackie (my parents would not allow me to do this but never explained why….it took me a decade or so to figure it out on my own) and settled on Penny. My Snoopy with the purple ballerina costume and curious George with eyes missing. The pink rabbit that my sister gave me with a skirt she made herself.
These animals, who I thought of as very real when I was a child, have gathered dust for several years. They deserve to be the center of a child’s world once more.
What worries me is what will happen when the next child is done with them? Will they be cast aside or sent to a landfill? I relinquish control when I let them go.
I am going to go out on a limb here and entertain the notion that my difficulty in letting go of these stuffed animals may be a projection of my own desire for stability and control in my adult life.
I do not have a background in psychology, but I am well versed in my own inner scape and inner demons. Loss of control is something I have grappled with for years. The ways I created a tenuous sense of control was to take control of tangible things—cleaning, biting my fingernails, the food I ate on a daily basis. All of these components reveal measurable results, however fleeting they may be.
I intermittently experience a similar sadness (call it seller’s remorse) over the loss of my black cat Izzy. Even though I know I gave him a better life by giving him up, I feel sad for myself without his presence in my life. my partner reminds me that it is ok to feel this sadness but to know that my own life is simpler by having fewer animals in it and Izzy is happier because he is with a family who can give him more attention than I could.
So what to do? I have moved seven times in the past two years. I am trying to simplify my life. I have an opportunity to part with material possessions so that my next move may be lighter in spirit and physical weight. I may also bring joy to many children in the Lowell community. And there are some pretty amazing kids here.
Do I let go of my desire for control and allow the universe to lend a hand in the destiny of my childhood stuffed animals?
Do I hold onto a few? Will that make me feel better initially but heavier in the long-term?
I already know the answer; I just have trouble letting go and feel a deep sadness in my heart.