throwing away tokens
Since Moonlight and Harbor died, I have not been able to throw away their “stuff.” I still have their toys, their food, their beds. Even the chicken I was going to cook for Moonlight is still in the freezer… Harbor died a year ago and Moonlight died at the beginning of this year.
Dr. Val believes that it is harder for me to get rid of things because the concept of “throwing away” has a much deeper meaning for me compared to most people… since growing up, I was thrown away all the time. I don’t know. All I can think about is that Moonlight and Harbor were throwaways like me; street animals that no one wanted… and I do not want to disrespect them by getting rid of their things….AND something about keeping their stuff is comforting to me; I still feel like I have a connection.
When I was growing up, I would collect little tokens of the places I lived…. candy wrappers, small toys, etc, because I wanted to keep the connection, to make sure I remembered that I was once there, even if everyone forgot about me. Somehow the things I took from foster homes were proof that I was there. Maybe I feel the same way with Moonlight’s and Harbor’s things…I want that connection, proof that they were there. Dr. Val tried to tell and show me that the things don’t keep the memories… that the memories are in my heart and head. She used a couple examples of stories I told, but it did not help me get rid of their stuff.
Maybe I keep things because I never had alot of things. I’ve never had alot of “stuff”. The things I have are ridiculous, but have some meaning to me. If anyone ever tried to rob my place, they would laugh, take some puffy cheetos and leave.
I still live like I am homeless, even though I have an apartment and a job. I don’t own alot of “stuff”…. … and I am not sure I want it. Maybe I have been “stuffless” for so long that I don’t know any different. I don’t even own a cell phone in a world where everyone has one!
In foster care, sometimes I had “stuff,” but lots of times I didn’t have “stuff.” Miss Liz, my first foster mom, , bought me the first real toy I ever had. She gave me a light brown stuffed bear that was super soft and had a black bow-tie. It made me feel safe. I successfully held onto that bear until I aged-out. I lost it living on the streets. It fell off my backpack somewhere and it was gone. I remember trying to retrace my steps, hoping to find my bear, but no luck. I felt like part of my “safety” was gone, when my bear was gone.
Much of the “stuff” I collected growing up got destroyed. In group homes and on the street, your “stuff” becomes other bigger kids “stuff” if they want it. I had a piece of blanket ribbon I had saved from my brother… I hid it under my mattress in a group home I was staying. Some bigger kids took it and burned it while I watched. No reason to do that…. but they did it because they could. So maybe all this left me wondering why have stuff if others are going to take it away?
Some foster parents gave me “stuff,” but when I was dumped by them, they took the “stuff” back. Clothes were left behind, toys left behind, ….things that should have been mine weren’t. Since lots of foster homes didn’t let me take “stuff,” when I left…. I took things I could put in my pockets… for that connection and to remind me that I was there. Sadly even most of those stolen things were destroyed or lost over the years.
Moonlight’s and Harbor’s stuff is not mine, it’s theirs. It feels disrespectful to throw it away…it’s not trash and they weren’t trash.
Maybe it’s crazy, but if I throw it away, I feel like I am throwing them away….
….and then they will be forgotten.
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