Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Man Pack Rat

Today, as I dragged an email to one of the many folders I have segmenting my inbox, I noticed that there’s still a “Sent to Mike” file lingering in there like old yogurt in the fridge. He is the ex who cheated, and a person who hasn’t been in my life since last July.

“I should delete the folder,” I thought.

But I couldn’t.

I don’t know whether I’m afraid of losing a chunk of my history. Or needing to go back to the folder and floundering when I find it absent. I’m not sure what my hang-up is.

I have “ex boxes” stuffed away in dark corners of my apartment, too. For a long time, one held pictures, poetry, a crusty rose and even the toothbrush of a short-lived ex. Eventually I whittled its contents down to photos alone…but again, I can’t bear to just get rid of the box. Because it might mean that the love affair connected to it never happened.

Somewhere inside, I think my children or my nieces will find my old relics after I’m dead and be fascinated by my life. But maybe I’m the only person who is—and ever will be—interested in all my stories. Journals alone don’t seem like enough…

Am I crazy? I need to delete the “Mike” file, don’t I?

27 comments:

Dingo said...

Just hit delete.

Diz said...

YES!!!!!

laura said...

delete, DELete, DELETE...your kids and nieces will have plenty to talk about even without the evidences of the exes.

Linda and her Twaddle said...

It depends what is in the file. Perhaps print it out on nice paper and pack it away in a box. Then delete it. Be prepared that one day some others may read the letters/items so be mindful of what you want to leave behind. Some stuff is better kept in our heads.

Big Sister said...

I'm sure there is some other evidence of Mike somewhere else that the children will find when you are in the nursing home. Bye Bye Mike file.....

Lara said...

Delete. I think a few photos are okay, though. My mom and dad both have photos of exes and it's fun to see that they had lives before my siblings and I were conceived by immaculate conception. The emails should go, though. Would you ask the doctor to save a malignant tumor that was removed so that you could go back and look at it when you're in the mood. No! I second dingo.

P.S. I'm sure T.C. would ask for the tumor and work it into a piece of art for big sister.

charlotteharris said...

Go ahead and delete. I actually have some "drafts" where I wrote down everything I wished I could have said to my ex if I'd had the last word (but if I actually hit send, that would just look crazy). It was purely therapeutic for me to type it all out - the next best thing to actually getting to say it all. One of these days when I hit "delete" it will be because I know I have definitely moved on. I think you have moved on, so yeah, DELETE!

jen tarara said...

Purge it. Be done with that 'not so joyous' chapter already. You'll make room for new, positive memories.

Alysha said...

I vote with Laura, DELETE, DELETE, DELETE! I think holding onto photos, possibly momentos is fine. But Old Emails that relive the hurt - DELETE! I hold onto photos but thats about it, the momentos I hide until I am ready to get rid of them. Except for my Tiffany necklace gift of course, I managed to disassociate that one fairly quickly! :-)

Michael C said...

I say delete it and sing a happy tune while doing so.

Do it!

Do it now!!!

;-)

Freddy said...

I say have a burning cleansing ceremony. Those objects really don't help you live in the moment. Or maybe I've just been watching too much Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic channel....that's possible too...he always says that dogs just live in the moment....and I'm trying to do that a bit more too.

Mandy said...

I had a Mike folder that I had to delete too. And yes he was a cheater, and yes there were some phenomenal, scathing emails in there, by me, renouncing him for the cheating man-whore he was.

I also threw out the shoe box full of the times and dates of phone calls, girls' names, numbers, flow charts, pie charts, spreadsheets, all of it the desperate and heartbreaking attempts of one baby mama to figure out whether she should be a single mama or not.

Throw it all out.

The past is bunk.

P.S. Being a single mama rocks. ;-)

justrun said...

You'll delete it sometime.

If there's anything "good" you can print it out and save it in a shoe box or hat box or something where kids two generations from now will read it and think "wow, so this is what email looked like in the olden days." :)

Nilsa S. said...

From personal experience, I suggest you delete the Mike file and throw out / donate the ex boxes. I kept relics of ex's out of pure laziness, not out of anything meaningful or hopeful. When my fiance (then we were only dating) found some of that stuff, he was really hurt. And the last thing I'd want to do is hurt a man I love. Now. Get rid of it. It'll do more harm than good down the road.

Wow, that was awkward said...

I love it when crazy people ask if they are crazy.

The Coconut Diaries said...

THIS is why I erase exs from my life. No photos, momentos. Email? Delete. Cell phone contact list? Delete. Birthday on my calendar? Erased.

I think I live in pencil.

semichrmd said...

Just do it - deleted, delete, delete. No good come ever really come of that.

Mel Heth said...

Dingo - Yes ma'am.

Diz - Yes? Really?

Laura - Yeah, I guess I've given them plenty of other material...

Linda - Yeah I think I'll have to keep at least SOME things.

Sister - There's lots of pictures floating around. Thankfully not too many in scrapbooks.

Lara - Your analogies rock my world.

Charlotte - I've written and deleted lots of stuff like that too. These are real exchanges though so they're a little harder...

Jen - Yeah I know...seems like I might need to refer back to them for some reason though. I dunno.

Alysha - You're such a good clean-breaker!

Michael - A happy tune like So Long, Farewell from The Sound of Music?

Freddy - Oh! I like the burning idea. Fire's cool. :P

Mandy - You totally rock, single mama. The past is bunk...but sometimes bunk is hard to get rid of.

JustRun - I don't know whether I even need to print it out...although then I could hide it away in a tangible box instead of seeing it in my email inbox anywhere.

Nilsa - Don't boys save stuff from exes too, though?

Wow TWA - Stop that or I'll boil your rabbit.

Coconut - Oh I have so much to learn from you! I still have phone numbers I should have destroyed 5 years ago...

Mel Heth said...

Semichrmd - That's what I'll probably do..one by one by one...

Mandy said...

Put your bunk in your trunk and drive it to the dump!

varietyisthespice said...

Sorry, I'm still laughing at the photo.

Delete!! Trust me, I keep EVERYTHING and finally, this summer, I tossed and it felt great.

thebadguy said...

Do what you have to do, but you know there is more to that story than what you tell your friends. We had something good and I am sorry for fucking up the way I did... but there was also alot of good.

Nilsa S. said...

PS - Check out my blog today (Sunday) for some bloggy love.

laura said...

well this blog just got a little more interesting.

geekhiker said...

I don't know if you were reading me when I wrote the post about finding old love notes & letters from high school, or the comments on that. Most people suggested that I keep them, just for memories sake. I don't think e-mail is any different than those paper letters: if you feel the need to keep them, keep them. It's the history of your life, after all...

brookem said...

it's not easy, not at all, to get rid of this stuff. and i dont think that getting rid of it means that it never was meaningful or important and special, it just means you're moving on. you'll know when the time is right.

(i should know, remember my story about the Bag of The Ex that's still in my trunk? um, yeah... it hasn't moved and i dont know when/if i can get rid of it.)

Hannah said...

I think this will be my longest comment ever...

I had a boyfriend whom I date for three years. He was not the nicest person and did a lot of things that hurt me. It took me a while to get over it.

I too did not want to toss anything. Everything sat in a box in my closet. I had a new boyfriend (matty) bt I didn't want to get rid of anything.

I kept saying that I forgave him. Which, I did. But for some reason I still had these needs to be mad at him, to make him feel bad, for him to hear about how happy I was and how my life was so much better without him.

Then I realized that I was doing this stuff because it was me I had not forgiven. I was still mad at myself for all of the hurt I allowed him make me feel. I was upset for letting someone be so horrible to me.

Once I forgave myself for that I was able to let go of every letter, gift and picture with the greatest of ease.

So I say, when you're ready, erase it. You will feel much better.