what I learned from crayons

I discovered that there is was a water leak. It seems to have started in the boy’s bathroom and run under the wall into my work area of the bedroom.
As I work at tables, I lack storage space. The solution for that is stylish (yet affordable) storage boxes. Constructed of sturdy cardboard, the boxes in direct contact with the floor absorbed the water. I didn’t discover this for some time. And last night when I did, I was sad and disappointed.
The box that took the most damage was filled with boxes of crayons. Now this may not seem like a big deal to most people. But it is a terrifically big deal to me. All the crayons were “collector” boxes. Most of them were standard Crayola cardboard. Some of the crayons have never even been used.
I carefully removed everything from the box, salvaged what I could. Some of the boxes were damaged beyond repair, so those brand new crayons went into quart storage bags. I labeled the bags based on the boxes, “Crayola’s 100th Anniversary 100 colors collection.”, “First edition box of 96 crayons.”, “Crayon color names retired in 1990 special edition box.” And so on.
Now here’s where it gets real.
I know crayons aren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.
But in the Roby scheme of things crayons are of a most big deal.

I was feeling frustrated. In all honesty I was feeling a bit defeated.
Does that sound dramatic?
I suppose it does.
Yet that’s how I felt.

I asked myself why it is that so many of my things have been destroyed since moving into this house.
My family photos.
My dishes.
My crayons.

Is this house out to get me? Is it retaliating because I call it a “hand me down house”?
This stimulates that awful feeling of sacrificing everything to come here and attempt to make a life. That I continue to sacrifice parts of *my* life to be in this one.
Those feelings had subsided. I finally felt as though it was all for the right reasons.
Yet here they are. All shiny and new because some cardboard got wet.

It’s hurtful. To give up everything you’ve spent your entire life creating. To turn simply walk away from it. Even bringing some of your “things” along doesn’t make it simpler, or feel any less painful. And then those things are broken or damaged…
I feel angry! Must everything be stripped from me? (This is super dramatic, but I’m serious about the way it feels.)

So I went to bed feeling…alienated.
But I woke up with a different feeling.
A sort of peaceful understanding.

Perhaps it’s OK that photos and crayon boxes get ruined with water. Perhaps it’s OK that dishes break.
Perhaps it’s part of the process.
Perhaps I’m still evolving.
Perhaps I still need to shed bits of that old life as I work at building this new one.
Perhaps crayons are simply colored wax wrapped in paper. (My ass! Crayons are magical and that’s the truth!)

I realize that we all “have a past”. I realize that we carry through our lives the things we hold dear. But they are simply things. Things that are emotionally tied to, or are physical representations of experiences from our pasts.
Perhaps the trick to building a new life is to somehow keep the emotions while being able to say goodbye to the things.
All in good time, my little pretties. All in good time.

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