I am not good at letting go.
I cite as evidence the sports bra I wore last night while jogging, which happens to be the same one I wore back in eleventh grade, after faking my period to get out of gym class for the third consecutive week.
Sentimentality runs thick like caulk through my bloodstream. Hey, I’m a Cancer, we boast hemorrhaging hearts on our sleeves. I’m also a child of divorce, so any parting-of-ways, no matter how trivial — like when the busker outside my grocery store moves on to new and presumably more profitable territory — is devastating. From birth, the deck has been stacked against me.
As my twenties roll on, the years have been littered with goodbyes. My best friend moved to Kentucky. My mom (who am I kidding, my real BFF) moved out West. I have changed jobs four times. I have collected keys from no less than four roommates. Casually dating means I am in a perpetual state of breaking-up.
And yet here I am, queen of the farewell letter, master of keeping inventory — a veritable worrywart. I take comfort in my ghosts: the shells of ex lovers, bosses and friends navigate my mental halls, wailing and clanking their chains. Compartmentalizing every relationship has plopped me in the nucleus of hanging-on and of feeding the hangers-on.
Why do we feel the need to set things right? Why does the situation have to be neatly parceled for us to officially move on? We make pained attempts at small-talk when confronted by an erstwhile lover. We send the obligatory holiday email to the former boss, lest a bridge be burned. We hold on to the kitchen towels left behind in haste by an ex-roommate, convinced they will, one day, be returned to their rightful owner.
But closure, as Martin Amis put it, is a greasy little word that describes a nonexistent condition.
Nuts to that, I say.
Closure is indeed attainable, but it is not something that you can facilitate through immediate or definitive action. It is not, say, the deleting of a phone number. Letting go is a time for being selfish, for carving out that reflex kernel in the pit of your belly that froths excitedly at even the teeniest of ruminations.
Just let it be, The Beatles will tell you. Because there are no indicators when the curtains are drawn.
There is an utter and unobstructed lucidity that comes with removing oneself, to see things through an ever-widening vignette. Turns out you had it all along. Such clarity is just shy of a physical manifestation. It is the scrubbing of your soul. It is the shedding of onion skins – the peeling-away, devouring and gorging of raw and pungent bitterness. Let it eke out of your pores through sweat, out of your ducts through tears.
So insert here whatever forgive-and-forget-time-heals- all-wounds-phoenix-rising- from-the-ashes hackneyed cliché you like, because such destruction, after all, begets renascence.