My childhood bedroom is covered, nearly wall-to-wall with memorabilia. I’m notorious for hanging up inspirational quotes, pictures from magazines, old photos, letters from friends, New Yorky items, and all kinds of this-and-that. basically, I like to be surrounded by things that give me hope.
The last time I was home in June, I traced the walls with my eyes, reading and looking at everything that I hung up because I decided it was significant. I thought of all the things that once graced the space and I removed to make room for something more important. From gymnastic ribbons and poetry awards to Central Park postcards and brochures about Columbia –the walls that surrounded me reflected my growing pains and triumphs. Over the years, my tastes changed along with my goals and perspective –but some things I never cleared off the baby blue walls: love quotes.
Literally, they were (and are) everywhere: on index cards along the border of the ceiling, highlighted in black frames sitting on my bookshelf, scribbled on notebook paper and placed next to my bed… the list goes on and on. It seems as if, regardless of when and why I changed, my admiration for love never went away, and I always needed to be encouraged to remember it (or rather he) is still out there.
I haven’t had a ton of love in my life, but I’m under the belief that quality is much more important than quantity. I’m also 22 years old and I don’t think it’s realistic to say I’ve been in love countless times. Of these relationships, some have been deeply rooted and lengthy, while others that still are significant to me, only lasted a matter of weeks. But of course, to each their own.
Like love quotes, wall hangings, photos of people I haven’t spoken to in years, and broken heels –I don’t let go of old relationships easily. And I hardly, unless forced, throw things or people away. So needless to say, a large part of my addiction to love is really an addiction to the past. Most of my struggle is not only believing there is a tomorrow (or that I’d be okay without ever finding love. Gulp.), but realizing flames that burned out months or years ago did so for a reason.
Before I can move forward in this journey, I realize I need to go back to the very beginning, and discover what parts of my thinking and analyzing past relationships needs to be corrected. In many ways, I need to alleviate myself of any longing, questioning, hoping, or fearing that’s leftover from love.
I really have to wash away relationship residue so I can have a clean slate for whatever is to come.
So, I’ll need to go back and think about Mr. Curls, Mr. Faithful, Mr. Rebound, Mr. Buddy, Mr. Fire, Mr. Fling, and Mr. Idea. There have been a fair share of additional Mr.’s on the roster over time, but these have specifically impacted me and my love addiction. And while all of them will hold a special place in my heart (and some have pieces of my soul), I have to still let go of a few…no matter how hard it may be.
When I think of my childhood room, I think of all of these guys. I think of talking on the phone in middle school with the chord wrapped around me and making love for the first time with my first love. I think of dreaming about going to college and having a friend become more unexpectantly. I think of crying more than I ever thought possible right before leaving for the best summer in New York and the coldness of an up and down relationship. And I think of the intense sting in the core of me after sharing such intimate parts of myself with someone who ultimately didn’t become what I envisioned he would.
Now, that room is in my past. Eventually, it won’t even be my room anymore, but a room in my parent’s house that once harbored all of my belongings. When I go home for Christmas, I’ll strip down the walls and clean it out to make room for a new transformation…and I’ll do the same to my heart.
Lucky for me, when I come back from dismantling my childhood room, I will enter an apartment that holds no memories or reminders of lost love. It’s a place that’s just me and only highlights the long journey I made to make my dreams my reality.
Yet, on a dry-erase board when you first walk into my apartment, there is a simple quote that says, “She packed up her potential and all she had learned, grabbed a cute pair of shoes, and headed out to change a few things.”