We all have them, those seemingly left-over items still in our possession once a relationship has run it’s course. You give back (or throw out, depending on the level of civility in the breakup I suppose) the big things, clothing, books, the toothbrush you kept at their house. The major items which trigger intense feelings and memories are disposed of… too emotionally charged to be overlooked.
But every once in a while, there are less obvious items that slip through the cracks.
These romantic remnants, as I like to call them, do still come with associated memories. Whether it be gifts never returned or borrowed items forgotten in the shuffle, they seem to have an invisible tag on them. “Property of so-and-so”. “Collateral from Relationship X”. “Acquired when part of (insert cute couple mash up name here)”.
These items don’t cause you heartache, but they aren’t disconnected from your past either. You just seem to have held on to them through all the aftermath, for a variety of reasons.
The question is, what should you do with these scraps?
I present several items from my own life for your consideration…
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EXHIBIT A –
Item: Brand New Women’s Snowshoes
Description: Given to me for Christmas about 7 years ago by a boyfriend’s mom. Never used.
Why I still have it: They are really really nice! And I feel like snowshoeing could be a fun activity. I just haven’t done it.
Options (Obvious): Use them, silly-pants!
Options (Alternative): Donate, Sell, Throw into the street, etc.
Conclusion: Okay, this one was cheating because just last month I did actually use them for the first time and love them. I’m glad I have hauled them around for going on a decade.
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EXHIBIT B –
Item: SLR Digital Camera
Description: Decent SLR camera, borrowed from serious BF for travels to Nepal and Photography class
Why I still have it: Broke up mid Photography class, then he moved to the other side of the country. And I suck at mailing stuff. And then time passed. And then it felt weird.
Options (Obvious): Consider it viable collateral from a six-year relationship. Keep the damn thing but actually use it.
Options (Alternative): Mail it back to him now, 5 years later, even though he’s probably replaced and upgraded. Or sell it because you
Conclusion: Keep the damn thing. Take more photos with something other than the iPhone.
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EXHIBIT C –
Item: (1) Photobooth Picture Strip
Description: One printout of a four picture series photo-booth session with that DJ I went on two dates with before he ninja’ed. (which was for the best because I think he might have had a serious drug problem.)
Why I still have it: I look really, really good in all the pictures.
Options (Obvious): Throw it out. Be less vain.
Options (Creative): Photoshop him out of them. Photoshop someone else in with me. (Like my new kitten!) Claim it was more of a real relationship or even better, just a buddy situation, so I can keep and post the pictures.
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EXHIBIT D –
Item: Propensity to say “Wicked”
Description: My most serious ex was from Boston and said this all the time. As is common anytime you are around a certain phrase or word constantly, I picked it up and say it sporadically.
Why I still have it: This one mostly disappeared post-breakup, until I befriended another New England native who says it quite often. The habit returned with this reminder.
Options (Obvious): Maybe don’t say words that have nothing to do with where you have actually lived. It’s not like I say “crikey” all the time.
Options (Ridiculous): Come up with a fun new phrase or word that is all your own and fully Colorado and try and make it a thing. (Though how you make a word go viril is beyond this girl’s social media knowledge.)
Conclusion: It’s a word. Use it, don’t use it, no one cares. Though they may be confused when you use it and then have to explain how you aren’t from New England.
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Not everything left behind after a relationship ends is negative. You want to keep things in your life that make you happy. I have a couple blown glass vases made for me by my serious ex’s brother. They are beautiful things and bring me nothing but joy.
Ditch things that make you sad. Make new memories (and take it as getting something from your heartbreak) with the things that have potential to stand alone. As far as I’m concerned, I’m now a woman with nice snowshoes, a classic digital camera, and a diverse vocabulary from living all over the country and befriending people from different backgrounds. Not a girl with a bunch of leftovers from relationships ending.
Find the positive element in these things and let that grow, while you let any negative associations go.
I just think it is better that way.
Upcycling is still very in, guys.
And you can do it in your own head and heart… no painting or DIYing needed.