Today I did a thing. Last night, I did a thing, too. Today I stripped and refinished a $5 yard sale small guitar that my son bought. Last night, I deleted my past. Okie dokie then.
It started because I took on an art challenge because of this guy named Jesse who makes beautiful art photography. My hard drive (and all my backup drives) were full. Literally. Maybe 10GB left. So, I deleted about 600GB from my laptop (after backing up my photos). EVERYTHING else, including all my writing (except that which is stored in private blogs/journals) is GONE. All the words. All the data. All the copies of copies of messages and letters and everything else… Even the words from DB that were conversations of all of the things I can no longer carry… Gone.
In order to back up all my GoPro, Sony and LUMIX images I had to delete the same sort of things from my backup drives. So I did. I repeated the process with them. All the stuff. Gone. And at the end, I didn’t cry. I just sat on my bed staring at my freshly cleaned computer, feeling empty. Feeling cheated. Feeling raped of time that could have been better spent elsewhere, but wasn’t.
But, the truth is that I hadn’t been raped of my time. Or of my love. Or of my integrity, or character (which I hadn’t lost, just lost faith in). It hadn’t been stolen. I had chosen to give it away. To not manage it properly. To put others before myself, always. So. No harm, no foul (that’s an obvious lie – there is very clear damage within me, and I know that). Goodbye, stuffs from past lives. I don’t really need you anyway – I’ve been at least three different people in the last year. I’m far from who I was in 2002 or 2006 or 2009 or 2014 or even 2016. So, the goodbye is really to all of those versions of me – no one else is left to say goodbye to.
Then, this morning I woke up to Saturday. The world still spins. I still breathe. Life goes on, with a little less history on my back (so to speak). Chores done, mom’s business taken care of, we stopped at a yard sale. The boy got this crap guitar for $5.
I didn’t get a photo of it in full frame before stripping it, but I did get this one after I took all the hardware off of it. Yeah. It was pretty bad. It was cheap to begin with and it was BAD when he picked it up. I had a vision though. I knew, despite its broken strings and cracked joints and really ugly color/paint job that we could make it great. And so we did. Correction, I did. The boy went to BK with the neighbor and their kids.
I spent a grand total of about an hour sanding and stripping away the past of this cheap kid guitar. It was therapeutic. There were moments when I could feel my own “skin” peeling away with the layers of paint, dissolving into dust and blowing away as I blew the remnants of paint and sanding dust off the surface of the guitar (and me). It was almost like a final step to the process from the night before. By the end of that hour, I held this masterpiece in my hands:
When this step was completed I took a really long break in order to let my hand return to normal functioning ability and I ate a bunch of pecans. I munched my celiac-friendly snack and I pondered what to do next – how do I make it my son’s? He wasn’t here to ask, but I know he likes doodles. I know he likes to doodle and he loves when I doodle on his things (just check out the back covers of his notebooks). So I decided that to doodle was the answer. I sprayed a couple of light coats of clear sealant on the natural wood, and then I got out my sharpie. I doodled. I wanted to do something from me to him. It was a very zen hour or so. Finished with my part, a newly begun masterpiece in hand, I sealed my doodles. This was the end result (I left the back and sides blank so that he can do his own doodling if he so chooses):
Later in the evening, we had a fire out back in our (also DIY) fire pit, and I went a bit further and burned a number of things that I had been clutching mentally for a very long time. The paper I didn’t get an A on (I got a B, I was devastated). The letters from a “friend” I haven’t seen in five years, yet held on to hoping for I don’t even know what. Cards, old writings and poetry that are just no longer relevant, even bill statements and letters about them that I know no longer matter. Why do I need them on my desk? They’re…well, the truth is none of it matters anymore. The real truth is, none of it has mattered for a very long time, aside from in my falsely hopeful heart and my overthinking head.
The moral of this story is this: delete it all – all the things that no longer serve you. When the time comes, when the time is right, you’ll know. You’ll feel it in your bones. When the time comes, don’t wait. Don’t ignore what your soul is telling you. Wipe your slate clean every once in a while and know that you have permission to start over. You just have to give it to yourself.
Whether it’s in a literal or just an emotional or spiritual sense, DO IT. Not gonna lie – it hurts at times. But the reality is that those things from the past no longer matter, and they take away from what life could become. No – what life SHOULD become. The music that the original guitar made that was made by someone we’ll never know, doesn’t matter anymore. They were done with it. What matters for us is the music and the memories we are – he is – going to make with it.
And that’s all that SHOULD ever matter – the things that are now are the things that truly matter. By all means, hold on to what’s good – especially good memories. But all the bad stuff, all the pain, all the ugliness? All the stuff that hurts? Delete it, and let it go. No matter how hard it may be, or how much it hurts, at some point we have to realize that we can only do so much, and in some situations, there’s nothing we could have EVER done. It’s what it is, and when it becomes nothing but a burden it’s truly not meant to be something you carry with you.
It’s taken me far too long to do this, at least in this way. Especially regarding the end of friendships, and spiritual questions and my doubts and disgust for religion, and the ugly end of cancer, it was truly time. Tonight, I sit in the same spot on my bed that I sat in last night and I feel…just here. I feel less burden, but not really lighter. I’m not sure what that means or how to explain it, but I know that it feels “right.” I feel no joy or sudden replenished happiness, no “ultimate peace” (but the peace I always feel in “being here now”), and I ponder as I write this how many people might have spent their night or day doing the same things… I wonder if they feel differently or the same.
What I’ve shared here – these are just my thoughts… Maybe they’re not thoughts that will resonate with everyone. That’s ok. Do what makes you happy. Do what’s best for you. Do what works for you. Just…do you. But ultimately, my goal in sharing this is just to say, “you deserve to be free.” So, go now. Follow your NOW heart. Fly. Be free.
Love to all,