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Emotional uncluttering

A long time ago, a girlfriend gave me a throw pillow.

It was decorated with metallic thread and sequins, and it was pretty, but also too small to be anything but decorative, and it was scratchy, and didn’t go with anything I owned. It was very obviously a (G)ift, picked out to fulfill the quota of some holiday or other, not a gift selected with me or my tastes particularly in mind. I rationalized it as “hey, it’s early in the relationship, she just doesn’t know me that well.”

That pillow became a metaphor for the ENTIRE RELATIONSHIP. In the metaphor language of Captain Awkward, the Scratchy Pillow was ill-fitting pants with a small side helping of bee stings.

We got on each others’ nerves, all the time, in small and pointless ways. Our conversations always seemed to consist of her having a conversation with some Theoretical Me in her head, while I struggled to be heard. She never seemed to include me in her decision-making or thought processes, or interested, actually, in understanding me at all. And truth to tell, while the idea of the shape of the relationship appealed to me, I never really got comfortable with her in my life. There was ever-present, ever-shifting friction, and it never got better, it just hurt.

It ended – of course – and I kept that pillow around more out of guilt than sentiment. If I’d been a nice enough person, accomodating enough, thoughtful enough, I would have found a place for it. I would put it out somewhere and find it clashed, or scratched, or kept falling on the floor because it didn’t fit the spot, so it would go through the wash and then back in a cupboard, until the next time I came across it and thought, oh, it’s not so bad, I should try again. Despite never really being used, it became threadbare and tattered. And in the end, it wound up in the bottom of my closet, where I came across it today.

Dear Reader, I cleaned out my closet this morning, and I threw that pillow away. Little things, important steps.

Published in intersections

One Comment

  1. I’m quite surprised you didn’t borrow a flamethrower and burn the damn thing in the front yard, cackling merrily. With a glass of wine to celebrate.

    I just realized that this comment is a testament to the complete faith I have that you would be able to procure a flamethrower on a moment’s notice.

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