How big are your purses? Mine are typically, oversized, roomy, with lots of pockets. Between Crossfit and my 10 pound (exaggerating…maybe) leather purse, I keep my chiropractor in business. I can’t tell you all the things that are in my purse, because if that were the case, I’d be talking to you forever. Let’s just say, “It a whole lot of a whole lot.” Lol, Meaning, I have a little bit of everything.

When I was a pre-teen, I remember admiring the handbags my siblings carried, which was always a Dooney or Coach bag of course. The soft leather and details seemed to catch my eye, but it was the contents inside that amazed me. They had everything that you can think of in their bags! Everything a woman needed – gum, tissue, pads, body spray. You name it and they had it. I liked that they seemed to always be prepared when it came to the type of things that they carried in their fly handbags.

I soon picked up the same habit and fell in love with purses and handbags, too! I wasn’t necessarily stuck on name brands (mainly because I couldn’t afford it), but I did enjoy one with a nice look and feel to it that showed off my style. Yes, you guessed it, the contents in my bag covered everything a young woman needed plus a little extra.

Okay let’s be honest, it was more like A LOT of extra.

Someone call the TV show, Hoarders, because I still struggle till this day with overfilling my bags. It’s like I can’t let go of all the STUFF, and before you know it, I am faced with broken zippers, junky pockets, and leftover candy wrappers a plenty. It’s just sad.

One day after shopping for a new purse, I sat down to finally clean out the contents of my old one. I struggled with determining what to keep, and pondered over the thought of things that I just might need later on. I knew some of the items were old, useless, worn, or maybe even dated, but what I realized was that they also held a memory that I just couldn’t let go off. At this very moment, there is an old, used handkerchief that my sister gave me. I have pulled the “hanky” out for use at 4 different funerals in the last couple years. It’s sentimental to me and offers comfort when I need it the most.

I found through various therapy sessions, that not only do I hold on to various items no longer needed in my purse, but I tend to hold on to relationships as well. I was holding on to people that no longer served a purpose in my life, let alone my future. One relationship specifically lasted over 10 years. He was my first real love and I loved him with everything in me. Even to the point where I allowed him to become an idol to me. He was my sun and moon, and I longed to be with him. Timing, immaturity, and our ongoing dysfunction was never on our side and led us on an on-again/off-again rollercoaster that caused us more hurt than good.

But we still held on, and like the hanky, kept each other in our pockets, just too afraid to let go. Our relationship had seen better days and after a decade of wear and tear, was almost unrecognizable. We found ourselves holding on to what we once had during the early stages of our relationship. It was beautiful, and fresh, and without spot or wrinkle. We were young, and so things weren’t complicated. There weren’t other factors inhibiting our ability to maintain what we perceived as the ideal.

I think a part of our decision to allow the relationship to linger was the fact that we were afraid that we would regret it. Everyone fears the moment we log in to Facebook and see with our own eyes an Ex that has moved on and looks…HAPPY. It’s a bitter sweet feeling, yes, but I think the initial sting is a bit more bitter.

It also revealed a certain amount of selfishness from the both of us at various points, because I guess we figured that if we can maintain even just a tiny piece of one another, it would prevent someone else from having ALL of us. Because you know, once a person is gone, they are GONE.

There was also the fear that we wouldn’t find anyone better. Yes, we were dysfunctional, but when things were good, they were GOOD! The energy was magnetic, the chemistry was undeniable…and the sex, well I’ll let your imagination figure that out. No one wants to look back and say “that’s the one I let go. HE/SHE was the best I’ve ever had.” NO ONE.

But how do we REALLY know right? Is what we are holding on to actually the best? Are we hurting ourselves more than helping the situation, by gripping the hanky sooo darn tight?

Three years ago, I finally let go of my coveted hanky, or relationship and it hurt like HELL. Did I cry? Yes. Did I feel a sinking feeling in my stomach during our long, honest conversation? Absolutely. Did ripping the hanky out of my own hand expose some untreated wounds? Most definitely.

But it was needed. It was imperative in order for me to grow, for us to grow. We no longer served any purpose romantically in each other’s lives. We were different people with different interests, wants, and desires.

We still care for each other till this day, but our lives have taken us on a new path. A path that lends us the opportunity for happiness, peace, and true LOVE.

I can honestly say that I am still the “Bag Lady,” but your girl has learned to let go of the things that no longer fit in her “life purse.”