A little story for you… During my senior year in college I was just getting over a pretty devastating break up. A few months after being dumped on my rear end I began dating someone else. A lovely European man whom I will call Vlad. I went to a small school so there was no 'dodging' my ex, besides we both worked at the movie theater on campus (one of my 10 jobs) ;). It was really annoying for me to see my ex with our friends. I was still hurt. I was still angry. Vlad was amazingly perceptive and direct. We had a discussion where Vlad asked me if I still had feelings for my ex. I immediately denied any feelings whatsoever. I was so frustrated. I had been loyal and loving to Vlad and was genuinely happy in our relationship (except for the fact that women on campus routinely threw themselves at him, in front of me, sometimes pushing me out-of-the-way, seriously) and was upset that he was implying I felt for my ex. After I protested and told him that I couldn't stand my ex that my ex made me angry, Vlad said, "yes, anger is a feeling." I remember at that moment stopping (at least in my head, knowing me then I probably argued a bit more in reality) and becoming clear on what he was saying to me, what he was asking me. He asked if I had feelings. Not if I liked him still or if I wanted to be with him, but was I over it? Could I look at my ex and feel nothing, no charge, no surge of emotion. I then conceded (yes, I was sure I was at war at that moment) that I indeed did have feelings regardless of their nature.
You know you have moved on from something when you can look at it, and, as a friend says, feel the way you would feel if it were a sock in a box. Was my ex a sock in a box. Hell no. It was more like a firecracker in my hand. It was unpredictable and burned and could possibly take my hand off if it exploded. I was hurt and felt like nothing would be the same because my trust had been absolutely destroyed. I felt bent, cracked, broken. I had feelings and they were on the surface and Vlad wanted to discuss what they were. He was lovely (is lovely) and I was lucky to have someone address what was happening for me and be absolutely secure around it. So much so that he and my ex became friendly. They really enjoyed each other in a genuine way and that pissed me off even more. Though I was supportive because that made more sense than being a brat.
Recently I discussed my marriage that ended in 2002. It was even more devastating than my ex in college. This was supposed to be forever, we promised. I was destroyed by the ending of it and took note, as years passed, if I could look at that situation and feel anything. For some years I felt like I would go back if asked. That changed to feeling like I wanted to know how they were doing because they'd been a part of my world in a huge way and I had that right, no? Then came the day that I recalled the story of my marriage and felt like I was discussing a book I'd read some time ago. It had become the sock in a box. It felt so good. It was so very nice to feel that I was done with the immediate work around that relationship. I was free and clear.
I am not one to dwell in the past. I enjoy my present moment way too much to concern myself with something I cannot affect. I am so busy in my 'now' creating my 'next' that the past is an interruption that is not welcome usually. However, I do, every now and then, take a look at some past events that, at that time, were big to me. I take a look to see how I feel and if I feel anything surrounding it.
Do you have experiences in your life that you still have strong feelings around? What would your life look like if you could see those things like socks in a box (or maybe just one sock in a box)?