I have a bazillion different email addresses. And I have a perfectly logical explanation for why each exists. However, last year when my life became insane, I stopped deleting and organizing regularly, and one of my mailboxes became very, very full. This morning I had 7421 unread messages.
This particular email address is the one I give to people who regularly forward doomsday warnings, recipes, family newsletters, and funny sites. I don't really have time for those and I definitely don't want the emails clogging my work inbox. I call this my "junk" email address and try not to remember that it's the only one I give to my family members.
So today I spent time cleaning up. I am currently down to 4690 messages.
I realized, after spending an hour scanning them, that if the messages are a year old and I haven't read them and no one's followed up or tried to contact me about them, I don't need to scan--I can just delete them. After that wise thought, the clean-up process has become quick and easy. Unfortunately, this particular email system does not allow me to delete more than 100 messages at a time, so I might be doing this for awhile.
I think, when I've had time to sort through the things I've stored in my head, I will need to do the same thing with some baggage that's been hanging around for more than a year. That might take a little longer than clicking on a box and hitting delete, but the long-term benefits will be necessary and helpful.
Last year was traumatic. When I experience trauma, one of the most devastating effects is loss of self. I'm not talking about self-worth. I actually begin to lose my sense of who I am. I forget the things I can do. I don't sleep. I lose all that is magic.
The past 10 months I have spent trying to regain that sense of self. It hasn't been easy, and if you're close to me, probably it took a toll on our relationship. When I'm doing self-definition crap, usually it means I question everything and everyone and trust is non-existent. And I'm not finished. I've been regaining strength and vitality, remembering the things I love, and testing limits in relationships--now I'm ready to rebuild.
Letting go of things I no longer need, even when they've been helpful, is part of rebuilding. Recognizing losses will be a part of that, as will learning to value gains--which will be the last step. It's intimidating, and unlike my email purge, there are no shortcuts. But I need to do this and I need to do it now.
I chose not to plant my flower/herb/tomato garden again this year. The Big Guy didn't send any miracle flowers to bail me out this time, but I'm okay with that. There is something about walking by my front garden, noticing last year's old canes and dried debris that has not been cleared out, and telling myself it's okay--I needed to take a break--that feels calming and important. It also allows me to recognize that the opportunity to plant is not gone; it will come again next year and the year after that...
As with my garden, I'm allowing time for other things that I would normally take care of immediately. It feels reassuring to know that I don't have to hurry, and while some things might be late or not get done at all, it's more important for me to take care of my internal health right now.
The next three weeks will be busy as I prepare to teach my class and private students, and Darrin, the kids, and I try to coordinate schedules and cars and time together.
I suppose the purpose of this post is to allow me to record that I'm giving myself time to become Samantha again. I'm allowing myself to not be powerful and perfect all the time. I'm remembering that while I AM very strong, I'm also vulnerable in many ways. I have a great deal of energy, but sometimes I need to rest. I know many things, but the most important are yet to be learned. I love with abandon, but I need to learn how to trust those I love (a learning process from which I recoil repeatedly).
And after all that I've written, I find myself toying with the idea of buying all the clearance flowers I can find, cleaning out the dead stuff in my garden, and filling it with the flowers just because I miss them. Probably that means I'm sort of hopeless when it comes to learning life lessons that are good for me, but I prefer to believe it just means I love flowers.