My Own Form Of Therapy

November 2019

I just finished cleaning through my kitchen spices drawer. I replaced every single jar with new ones, hand wrote out the labels, stuck them on and arranged them in the drawer. It was one massive cleaning ritual and I feel so good after doing it. It was therapeutic. Not just because everything is clean and organised because it was like that before. It was because I replaced every single spice jar that I had from my previous life.

Now you’d probably think I’m strange for doing it, especially when I tell you that it was me who chose and bought the spice jars that I just replaced. But every time I opened that spice drawer when I was cooking, it’d remind me of that old life and I didn’t want any reminders. It still contained spices that I never used. They were spices that he bought for himself and hardly touched. He wouldn’t let me leave them when I left. He didn’t want anything left in the house that was remotely mine, and he considered anything in the kitchen to be mine since he hardly spent any time in it. He also made me take the glassware that I absolutely hated. He bought them and loved them. I hated them and so did the kids. They were heavy and hard to hold, especially for little hands. He threw out the previous glassware that we had because he didn’t like them, but the rest of us did. That was a gorgeous set and we (the kids and I) loved them. He didn’t, so they were thrown out. So it kinda makes sense that we threw out the glassware that we HAD to take with us, even though we hated them. We replaced them as soon as we could.

There was also the cooking pot set and plastic storage containers that I’ve since replaced. Apart from all my baking and cake decorating stuff that only I use, the two dinner sets that I bought (and he refused to use because they weren’t bulky enough or some rubbish, but hey, they’re fine bone china!), and the silver cutlery set that I also bought, everything in the kitchen was replaced. Even the kitchen knife, which was really good quality, but the kids refused to use it after we moved because it, like everything else in the kitchen that was replaced, reminded them of him and they weren’t nice memories. And when I stop and think about it, I could probably count on one hand (or maybe two, at most), the things from our old life, that I’ve kept. Everything else? Replaced.

I know it sounds extreme, but it’s what we needed to do to heal. I wasn’t planning on going that far with everything, but when looking at something reminds you of a lot of the hurt and pain, and just being near an object projects the feelings (because even inanimate objects can hold energy) of a past that you’re trying to escape, you keep cleansing your environment until all those feelings and memories are gone. And it wasn’t just me who wanted to do it. It was actually the kids who asked for it first.

When we first moved out, the kids asked if we could replace one or two things that really reminded them of him. They were quite clear and up front with me about their reasons and when you think about how pure a child’s mind is, you couldn’t deny that it was something that they each needed to do, to help heal and move on. So we started off slow, but there were a few big items that needed replacing or we had to just get rid of, because there was no space. Their beds were one of them. I remember sitting with them and going through different bedding options until we all finally decided on a triple bunk that they all loved. So we saved up and bought it; And they still love it to this day. Not simply because they helped me assemble it (as it came flat packed), or because it was new (and he didn’t like buying them anything brand new). No, they love it because they got to choose it, so they really consider it theirs. We even replaced the big leather lounge suite that admittedly, took up most of the small living area. That made a HUGE difference. We all felt a change in the energy when that left. The kids even spend more time in the living area with the new lounge, which is tiny in comparison, but we all squish on together when we watch TV.

Anyway, over time, we furnished our new home the way that we chose to as a family. We made the decisions together and everyone had a voice. For everything. I made a point of making sure that they each knew that their opinion mattered. That THEY mattered. It was part of what they needed to heal. They needed to know their value and worth, and be reminded of it daily, because they unfortunately, started their lives believing that they didn’t matter and that their opinion didn’t count.

So I’ve made sure that their artwork was hung up on the walls. I’ve made sure that their photos were clearly displayed. And all of it was even. If it was three pieces of artwork from one of them, then there was three pieces of artwork from each of the other two. Everything has been and will continue to be fair. No one will be left out or cut short; They even split up and take turns helping to clean and do the other chores, without me asking. Everyone contributes. And with each passing day of this new life, with this standard of fairness, we’ve all started to grow and flourish again. And by replacing all the spice jars in the kitchen, I think I’ve done the last of the replacing and cleansing of our space. Another little bit of healing. Our way. I feel a bit different. I feel a bit refreshed. I feel a little lighter after clearing out that last bit of old energy. I feel better and that’s what matters.

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