So long time no post…because I’ve been moving! Admittedly this has put a bit of a damper on my life. Somehow moving boxes just aren’t super sexy to me.
I’ve fallen in love with thrift shopping at a little store a few blocks from my new place. My roomates and I scour every room, including the un-airconditioned back room which inevitably leaves us drenched in sweat. We know the volunteers there. They greet us as we walk in, suggesting favorite pieces, letting us keep our treasures in small horde-like piles at the front as we gallivant through the store and peek into every corner.
The things we gleefully haul home have been previously loved, broken in for us. I find myself imagining their past lives as I settle them into my room. A chair in a child’s bedroom in which her mother read tales of talking cows and princesses who save the day, a table on which an old man placed his spectacles and crossword puzzles before having a nap, a throw pillow which has seen its share of pillow fights and secret midnight forts.
Why are the tales of objects’ past lives-that which renders them “previously loved”-enchanting, but in our love lives past relationships make us uncomfortable?
I suppose it might be the “newer model syndrome.” There’s a sense that because we’ve moved on to a new relationship, any mention of a past one implies comparison. There’s no comparison. I don’t need to compare myself to your ex, and you don’t need to compare yourself to mine. My relationship with someone gets to be wholly my own, not marked by my past. But knowing my past and my exes exist is also critical, that they’ve somehow made me who I am…they will ever and always be characters in my story. To erase them would be to erase a part of myself, to skip over the middle of the story which got us to happily-right-now-ever-after.
And admittedly, there are some not so glorious moments in my past relationships and even in past dates. I’ve made mistakes aplenty. But I’ve learned so much about myself and the world in the process. I learned to stay up late and make art and drink hot tea, to appreciate forehead kisses, to set high standards like finding people who will not hesitate to dance with me in the rain. I learned guilt is a weapon, not a tool. I learned to let go of control and how to hold hands best during a movie. I learned to love myself so that I can love somebody else.
Learning about ourselves and the world comes with loving, both romantically and platonically. Whatever level of learning you’re at is beautiful. We’re broken in and a little worn around the edges, and that is hard and scary and wonderful. As challenging as it can be sometimes to face our own and each other’s pasts, we’re the better for doing so. Our lives are the richer for unearthing such treasures.
We come previously loved. We come previously loving. We are inevitably thrifted.
And that’s ok. All we can do is keep hunting for those treasures of people whose stories will resonate with our own lives.