Catch Up Mondays: Why do I still hold on to this? Emotional reasons? – revisited


I first posted this on February 3, 2013.  How many of us hold on to things for emotional reasons?  The item has not value.  It may not even be safe.  But it has that special memory that tugs at your heart.  In my case, it was a special memory of a time long ago.  I time before illness and sensitivities to fragrances and other chemicals.  Just reading this post saddens me but it needs to be said for all those out there in similar circumstances.

I have tossed out so many things since my mold exposure at work and subsequent cross-contamination of all my belongings at home.  I have tossed out books that I loved, tossed out all of my clothes and shoes, watched as my husband tossed my old one-eyed panda teddy bear and Scottie dog from childhood, gotten rid of my computer which was less than a year old and placed all my photos away for future scanning by someone other than myself. Yet I still have this little tiny bottle of perfume. Have I ever worn it? No. Is it a small vial of a very expensive perfume? No. Do I even know what it smells like? No. Then why am I holding on to it?

When my husband and I got married in 1976 I had chosen the perfect gown. It was a candlelight color and I fell in love with it. I had gone to the bridal salon in plenty of time to get fitted and order the gown. My mother and I had been told the gown would be ready in eight weeks. Eight weeks came and went and my gown was not in. Finally twelve weeks after I ordered the gown, I received a call at work. I was so excited. The gown was in and ready for me to try on. I phoned my mom and she met me there. The dress was taken out and given to me to try on. It was more than a size too small. They had misfit me or inadvertently ordered the wrong gown. What was I going to do? It was barely over eight weeks until my wedding and this gown had taken twelve weeks. They offered to place an other order and said the gown would be here on time. I told them to do whatever they wanted. Tearfully I walked out to my car. What was I going to do?

That weekend my mother and I drove out-of-town in search of a gown I would like that we could purchase off the rack. We searched and searched and I “settled” on a gown. It wasn’t the gown I wanted but time was running out. We purchased the gown and the woman gave me this lovely little  bottle of perfume to take with me. I didn’t wear the perfume on my wedding day but this little bottle has been sitting on my dresser or table in my bedroom and moved from house to house with me all these years. Why haven’t I gotten rid of it? I honestly don’t know. I have never opened it, never wanted to wear it and now could never wear it. I guess there is something about it that brings me back to a happier time.

Sentimental Value
Sentimental Value

Today as I was talking with a friend about loss of belongings because she has found some mold in her house and is worried that she, like I, will have to get rid of clothes and other “things” (things that hold memories of a time long gone). I told her about my piles of black garbage bags that sat on the floor as my mother pulled all my clothes and shoes out of my closet (pictures will be in the book), etc. Then I mentioned the lone little vial of perfume that I have sitting in my bedroom on my dresser. Suddenly, after all these years a horrible and earth shattering thought came to my mind. Why do I have that in my bedroom? Yes it has never been opened and no fragrance or chemicals are being emitted from it. But what if? What if for some unknown reason, that innocent looking little vial of perfume were to fall on my hard tile floor and shatter. All those chemicals would be thrown into the air of my safe bedroom. How could I not have thought of this before? It is amazing what giving up possessions and memories can have on a person and make them totally “INSANE”.

It just looks pretty.
It just looks pretty.
So what happened to that beautiful little bottle of perfume that held so many memories?  My younger daughter took it outdoors far away from me and dumped out the perfume.  She then gently packed it up in a bag with paper towels and took it home with her to Texas.  She will be the guardian of what means/meant so much to me.  At least it didn’t have to end up in the refuse dump with all my other treasures from what feels like a life time ago.  I need to have her send me a picture of where it now resides.
What are you holding on to?  What about it makes it so painful to let go?

8 responses to “Catch Up Mondays: Why do I still hold on to this? Emotional reasons? – revisited

  1. Kathryn, what a wonderful piece you wrote – a little story about why we hold on to things from emotional needs. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing. It reminded me of a few weeks back when I stood and look around my house realizing I had things, and more things, and more things – which collected dust, and more dust, and I was cleaning, and cleaning, and cleaning – until I said to myself, if I get rid of those dust items and those over there, then perhaps my cleaning each week won’t be too much on me. I laugh because by the time I finished, my house looked like a model house~

  2. I remember this one, and I remember thinking about it afterwards, wondering how I could give up all my treasures. I guess I could, if I had to, but it would feel like losing every day of my past.

    You are a very brave woman, Kathryn.

  3. Luckily I had already entered a minimalist phase before I got really sick. It was tough after I got disabled. I would pull open a drawer and realize there was a tube of lotion that had been safe before but now made me sick. Just today I opened my jewelry box and realized I need to get rid of it. A friend had given me some vintage jewelry — the previous owner must warn a lot of fragrance — it transferred to the box — so when I opened it to put on a necklace the chemicals almost put me on the floor. You’ve helped me look at potential issues before they’ve become issues. My walk-in is off my bath. I moved as much out of there as possible so the moisture from the shower has no chance to create mold issue with my clothes. 😀

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