Out of Sight

Monday, September 29, 2014 / 9:16 PM

I have a postcard board in my room that's made with pink elastic and a map of Paris. You can barely see the surface anymore because of all of the postcards and photos and tickets stubs and notable two-dimensional items layered on top, and it's too heavy to hang on the wall because it would surely just come crashing down with all of my memorabilia. It's a board that's traveled with me from city to city and state to state, and somewhere beneath the recent acquisitions--the tickets to Ellis Island and the zoo, and the postcards from Canada and France--are memories I've forgotten about.

Except for the ones I've surgically removed, that is. I don't even know what the point of all that was. If something exists in the background, how is it any different than tossing them in a shoebox somewhere in the back of my closet?

I guess I'm wondering if "out of sight, out of mind" really matters. I feel like that's a temporary Band-Aid because you can't physically remove memories from where they're stored in your brain. You can get over something, and that's the best that can happen to slowly remove whatever bad associations you have with that person, but does it ever really go away? We all have trails of broken friendships and relationships behind us in our lives, and that shit can stain even after you've committed yourself to forgiveness and progress.

And sometimes you can feel like the hard feelings are gone, but the other person still holds something of a grudge--and in that case, removing items from sight can't do anything to fix it. Just recently I had a really good friend tell me she was feeling insecure about work and she couldn't talk to me anymore because she said it frustrated her when I expressed insecurities at work too, and that I should have no reason to complain because I was doing better than her. I never viewed our friendship as a contest, but perhaps "out of sight, out of mind" helps her feel better and more secure in her skin. If that's the case, then I'm happy to put myself in the metaphorical shoebox in the back of the metaphorical closet.

It's made me think recently about the people I've been putting in my metaphorical shoebox too. Are those people who are "out of sight, out of mind" doing me any favors? Is it selfish? (Yes.) It's convenient to put people aside when we feel our lives are too heavy. We'd rather set them aside than see our relationships crash to the floor along with all of the memories.

But there's something brilliant about being able to open the shoebox again and not feel as torn as you were when you were setting all those things aside. "Out of sight, out of mind" is fine for a fix, but it'll never be a permanent solution to any sort of anger or pain or hurt you're feeling. The best you can do is confront that past head-on, and remind yourself that happiness always lies ahead if we let ourselves find it, and that the saying "the best is yet to come" means something: life is too short to pull over on the side of the road every time we let ourselves get a little down.

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