This weekend I returned to Cornwall to see my parents and finally get round to sorting out my bedroom. Alexa, play Adele – Hometown glory. In my naivety I thought I had already done this when I left for University but it turns out that looks can be deceiving. My bedroom on first glance may look organized, tidy and grown up – minus the fuchsia pink carpet – but the cupboards and drawers and under my bed painted a different picture. Piles of clothes, photos, 1000 chunky belts and many silk black clutch bags stuffed with Marlborough lights were unearthed and separated into charity shop or ‘for the tip’ black sacks. I might be 29 years old but I still hid the crushed up cigarettes from my parents because it is important they still believe that I am Sandy before she had the makeover.
Sorting through these objects made me feel like I was on a low budget version of This Is Your Life. I used to have dreams that one day I would be famous and be surprised, but not too surprised, when I was presented with that iconic red book. Judging by the current trajectory of my life this is eXtremely unlikely. It felt kind of funny meeting my past self in journal entries of scathing tones that XYZ boy didn’t fancy me and the black silk clutch bags (why did I need 7?) that were an essential item for a successful night out, obviously paired with heels and intensely back combed hair. It felt kind of nostalgic meeting my past self in school reports from the celebration of when I first wrote my name to the recurring theme that I would be really capable if only I would stop talking so much. It felt kind of sad meeting my past self in love letters from a boy who used to make me cry at every six form party, push me around and smashed up his iPhone on the Oceana dance floor after seeing me weeks after I finally plucked up the courage to dump him.
Through this process I had the chance to meet with myself from child to teenager to adult, facing up to past worries, triumphs and regrets as I filled black sack after black sack with my history, tied up in broken hair bobbles and garishly coloured tights. I could let go of things that I had harbored for years and recognising that these no longer have a hold on me. I’m free.
During that weekend I saw from a distance, people who once were placed with great importance in my life. The girl who used to fill me with fear when I walked down the school corridors now played with her children on the water slide at the local leisure centre and the boy who used to tease me for being tall now walked with his 2 year old son desperately trying to get him to take a nap. Instead of placing these people into a black sack never to be seen again I had to face up to the fact that I am going to see these people over the years when I visit home and instead of feeling that knotted stomach feeling like I did walking to my English class in year 9, I had to let go. My Mum used to try and appease me when I went home crying, desperate to be in the ‘popular gang’ who in fact were a group of people who weren’t popular at all, they were feared. She would say that these are their glory days and one day when I was a grown up I might even be thankful for how these experiences had shaped me. I never believed her. Until now. I walked past them, looked them in the eyes and smiled. I have absolutely no idea if they recognized me and if they did, I hope they know I forgive them. Boy that smashed his iPhone, I forgive you too.
Life’s too short. I’m happy.