memoir · personal

“On this day…”: A Compulsory Stroll Down Memory Lane

Facebook has this great feature– “On this Day”

It lists all your posts from past years, and also the things friends posted to your wall or tagged you in. It really is great, having a memory of that funny cat video or the hilarious parody of catcalls pop up, or articles that were so spot on that you just have to share them again.

It can also be not so great, scrolling through memories of breakups, and then, even before that, memories of meeting the person who would later break your heart–or be broken by you. It’s enough to make me not want to look, sometimes, at my memories.

But I always do.

Today’s made me pause. 7 years ago, I posted “is wondering if anyone wants to come over Friday night to keep her company while she packs.” [this is back when Facebook set every status up as an action statement]

I’ve moved several times in the past few years. This particular move was sort of a landmark. February 21, 2009, I moved into my own apartment, while exiting my marriage–the one that brought me to Oklahoma back in 2005.

At the time, I was so frightened and embarrassed and shamed. So many emotions accompany the failure of a marriage. A friend offered to come help me pack, but I ended up canceling because I didn’t know how to process my emotions yet, and felt too vulnerable, in the end, to have her there.

Several people came that weekend to help me move my things from the house to my apartment–a little loft in a semi-questionable part of town. I loved it, though. It was mine. As desperately sad and confused as I was, that apartment was mine. It was wonderful to know that. I could decorate it how I wanted, decide what groceries to buy, decide whether or not to have the TV on and what channels to watch. All relatively small things, insignificant and petty, even, in the scheme of life’s important matters.

Yet, I had spent most of my life feeling as if the places I lived were just the places I stayed. I rarely felt as if I had inhabited any place, resided any place, rested any place. And this apartment, it was mine. I could be comfortable in it, and so could be comfortable in my own skin instead of slinking around like an intruder asking to stay one more day.

Moving was difficult; the end of my marriage was painful, but the freedom of moving comfortably in my own skin was joyous.

As I scroll through memories, joyous and miserable, I see how much I’ve learned to live in my skin, how to stretch and move within myself and become, if not fully comfortable, at least more at ease with the person I am.

So these compulsory strolls down memory lane, while at times embarrassing, jarring, or plain excruciating, also remind me that, while I may not always be comfortable in my skin, at least I reside in it. I no longer try to escape.

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