Let it go

I finally got rid of my wedding dress. Quite unceremoniously.

I was housecleaning and preparing for a dear friend’s arrival for a visit — a friend who’d stood for me at my wedding, in fact. It was one of those times when the usual weekly cleaning morphed into full on purging.

As the bags for Sally Ann piled up by the door, the thought occurred to me — I should just add the dress to the pile. I’d been trying to find a more meaningful way to part with it. It didn’t seem right to sell it. I didn’t like the idea of taking money from a bride-to-be for a dress that seemed cursed. I’d found a woman who uses material from wedding and prom dresses to sew tiny gowns for still borns, but she had too many donations and not enough storage space.

There was even the giddy idea of doing a trash the dress thing — jumping into the pool at the old YMCA wearing it with all my Y friends to support me (and keep me from drowning). But I hadn’t committed to that idea before the building was closed.

Two weeks ago in the midst of my purging, the moment was just right to let it go. I didn’t try it on again. I didn’t handle it any differently than the bags of clothes I handed over to the guy at Sally Ann. I just let it go.

It reminded me of indoor rock climbing. Really.

The first time I did it, it turns out I was able to scamper up an advanced wall without much difficulty, but a more seasoned (and extremely competitive) fellow in our group couldn’t do it.

I watched how he was climbing. It looked like he was trying to be uber strategic about every move he made. Because he took so much time trying to choose the perfect next knobby thingy to grab, his body got too tired to complete the climb.

I didn’t put that much thought into it. I took a quick scan of the available knobby thingies and made a decision, then another quick scan, and another decision, and so on. The point being, it’s a strain on the system to hold onto something (physical or emotional) too long. You have to let go and keep moving forward…or up.

Cats are great helpers for purging old wedding things.
Cats are great helpers for purging old wedding things.

With that done, tonight I moved on to all the other wedding things I’d packed away in a bag and tucked out of sight in a closet. I kept the CDs of photos and video, a photo frame (minus the photo from the engagement shoot), and the guest book, tearing out the few used pages. I kept the rings but tossed the boxes. I kept the length of silk that came with the dress. I filed some important documents. I read all the kind words my friends and family wrote in cards (and found some money!), then bundled them up for recycling. I dumped the dried bits of bouquet into the compost and said goodbye.

Let it go.




Today is my nonniversary. The non-anniversary of my wedding day.


lilacsBut the other day as I was walking along thinking about this approaching date, I got whiffs of lilacs on the warm breeze and had this thought:

This is so much better than that.

Pushing through all the mess of extracting myself from a marriage I never should have gotten into is so much better than having stayed in a place where I didn’t belong. A place where I was losing my sense of self.

Today, I may not know exactly where I’m going, but I am intact. No part of me is slipping away.

This is so much better than that.