I had a breakthrough this past week that I’m still feeling through what it means. I tossed out my favorite sweatshirt, one I’ve had for over 10 years. I know, it seems so weird to think that throwing away a piece of clothing would be a breakthrough. It was.
My ex, “M,” went to UCLA Law and it was a sweatshirt that he gave me on our second Christmas together in 2003. That sweatshirt was with me on some of our happiest vacations – San Fran, Paris, Hawaii, LA. I wasn’t sure I’d ever part ways with it but a student of mine pointed something out, even if she didn’t mean to.
Every time I wore that shirt, I carried him. That sweatshirt wasn’t just my memories of the man but after his death, that sweatshirt had become a symbol of sorts. And in the way that she pursed her lips to the side last week, it hit me – each time I put the shirt on, I forget that I’m still living. And more importantly, I’m still living MY LIFE. Not his. Yeah, he shaped who I was in so many ways. But that was the past. As I work through my current issues and learn to trust myself and others again, I’m shaping my own future. And while there will be parts of him always present, this is my path. It’s time for me to step out of his shadow and let my own light shine.