Wanting to be proactive, I decided a few months ago to start going through storage containers and file cabinets — beginning with the dreaded Great Paper Purge. That task took me almost a week, resulting in 7 large, extra-strong garbage bags filled with 150 pounds of shredded paper. Yay me!
The next task was to go through photos and keepsakes that mother’s keep of their children—including those relating to my eldest son, Anthony. Mind you, this was before his death threat against me last week. I put all the childhood photos of Anthony along with his schoolwork, report cards, childhood drawings, newspaper articles about him, and every other memento of Anthony in a storage container. On the top, I placed the ring Anthony had purchased for me in 1999 with the first paycheck he’d ever earned. It is gold and inscribed “I love you.”
Ronnie then sealed the storage container and delivered it to a supervisor at Anthony’s place of employment. I felt it was important for Anthony to have these items, regardless of how horrible he had been treating Ronnie and me.
When I escaped the abuse in my mother’s home by going to live with my newly discovered biological father when I was a freshman in high school, I left with only the clothes on my back. My mother never gave me even one piece of my life — not a baby picture, not a drawing I’d made, not a school yearbook, not a favorite toy, not one of the hundreds of outfits she’d sewn for me. Nothing. I had not a single piece of evidence that I existed before the age of 15.
In the last couple years, two of my aunts have sent me a few pictures of me as a child that they were able to locate. In the oldest picture I have of myself, I believe I am two years old. My aunts also sent me photos of other family members, which I can pass on to our son Lance one day.
The next items I began to sort through (and have still not completed 3 months later) were personal treasures, such as sports memorabilia, jewelry, and other possessions that at one time in my life I felt I must have and hold on to. Ronnie likes to keep “stuff.” I no longer do. But together we made the decision to place items we felt we did not need on Craigslist to help pay for my psychiatrist and other expenses I have been incurring during my new writing adventure. I took photos of the items we wanted to sell, and started listing a few on Craigslist every week.
One day, a lady by the name of Lynn called me and wanted to come to our home to look at a very nice gold chain I’d listed. Lynn and I hit it off right away and visited for more than 2 hours. During our very personal, in-depth conversation, I told Lynn I was not going to charge her for the necklace, that I wanted to gift it to her. Lynn was very surprised and resisted at first, but I insisted.
That’s when I decided I wanted to start gifting. I really enjoy seeing other people happy. So I started boxing up items I thought my friends might want and started shipping away my collectibles. I’ve even gifted my possessions to a few people I have never met in person and know only from my Farmville days on Facebook. Crazy, I know.
Ronnie thinks I have really lost my mind, but I just want peace, not stuff. I don’t care about the Waterford Crystal Millennium Collection or any of the other “valuables” that I’ve tucked away. What I truly care about is feeling at peace and making other people happy. I just want out of Oregon, away from the pain, and in my new peaceful place, wherever that will be, as soon as it can be.
In the meantime, I now have a new beautiful friend, Lynn. And good friends are more valuable than gold.