I had a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago that I've been consistently reminded of since. I'd asked her about her weekend plans, and she told me that she intended to "eradicate Joey" [not his real name].
She was in the process of breaking up with this Joey, a long-term on-and-off sometimes-long-distance boyfriend, and no, she wasn't going to kill him . . . . she was, somewhat like Dr. Mierzwiak's minions in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, going to attempt to eradicate the detritus of a relationship so that there were no clues.
Since we had that conversation, I've been thinking about how much less [for lack of another word] romantic my habits have become. Should Dr. Mierzwiak's crew come into my home to eradicate the detritus of some relationship, it would be easy for them: a few tchotchkes, a few pieces of clothing, a few notes, a few computer files . . . . done.
I remembered how much of an effort it was when I went through processes like that in the past. I remember leaving a boyfriend a long time ago, and taking with me not only everything that was mine, but also everything I ever gave him, everything he ever gave me, everything we purchased together, everything that I thought would remind him of me . . . . and trashing all of it.
Not that I would wish to do that now. I'm not anticipating such a loss in my life. And, if I did sometime in the future, I don't anticipate wanting to remove everything. During the last major breakup I had, I just put the "scary things" in an antique hard-shelled suitcase so I didn't have to see them, but I'd know they'd be available if I wanted to see them later. When I was stronger / had more perspective, some of those things were released from scary-storage, and I was glad that I had them.
What's made me sad while thinking of all this is that I have so little to remind me of almost anyone, even the most important people in my life. I've seen the homes and cubes and cars of other people. I've noticed how some of them have, like I once had, so many reminders. And, I'm wondering when I became like this how I started getting fewer, giving fewer, and keeping fewer mementos and what I've lost of myself in the process.