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Thoughts on Moving Out


The art, calligraphy, inspirations, and ponderings of Riana Nelson.

Riana Nelson Blog


Thoughts on Moving Out

Riana Nelson

What is it about Moving Day that moves us to tears? 

I have moved approximately six times in the last four years, so by the laws of repetition, you'd think I'd be getting BETTER at the whole Moving Out Thing. Not really, sadly. (This is not a post where I'm going to tell you my top tips on moving, because I actually threw up last night, I was so anxious for Moving Day. Yep. Stiiiiill not getting better at moving. Or suppressing barf-inducing anxiety, apparently.)

As my brothers carried all of my belongings to the truck today (#MyHeroes), they chuckled, seeing my emotion/overwhelm threshold peaking. "Oh Riana... you're so good at so many things-- but moving is just NOT one of your strengths!!" they joked. Accurate. I burst into tears as soon as the truck was packed.

Why do I inexplicably cry after the majority of what I know to be “mine” has been boxed up, thrown away, or carefully wrapped up in a Home Depot cardboard box?!  It seems so trivial in the scheme of life.  Whining and crying over the displacement of ALLLLLLLLLL my precious possessions?! “Oh my GOD I just have so much stuff and it’s so hard because I’m so sad to leave and BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

But is it about being sad to leave???  Is it even about facing a "First World Problem" of having SO many THINGS?  I’m gonna guess the emotion comes from deeper within, so I’m seeking some answers.

I look around my empty apartment.  By empty, I certainly mean a freakin' chaotic explosion.  

While there is no more furniture here, and the boxes are gone, that also means there’s nothing remaining to hold the confines of the spillage of Riana Nelson's “Going In The Car” Contents ooooozing out beyond the walls, including, but not limited to:  A pile (and I mean a PILE) of clothes and shoes heaped in the corner, crawling towards the open sprawling suitcases, desperate to be folded and reminded of their purpose to be organized.  Receipts and pieces of paper that did not end up in its place before The Move lay in tiny “I-was-going-to-do-something-with-this, but-then-I-ran-out-of-time” piles.  Forgotten odds & ends from documents this year litter the floor.  Pens, gum wrappers, coins, lint, dust, and a horrifyingly large collection of hair things, headbands, and bobby pins all congregate in one visual army of emotional deconstruction and upheaval; a reminder that life is sometimes messy, and even in the clean up—in the move— it can be emotionally and visually jarring and disconnected.

What is it that causes us to feel that lump in our throat when we gaze at the stark and tragically diced-up landscape of the “old apartment”? Is it the unfamiliarity? Is it the contrast between the destruction we see now, and what we felt just yesterday was “how it should be”?  Is it the sneaking feeling that we will never, ever, EVER get back “what used to be” here?  Perhaps... it’s finally realizing our posessions do impact us more than we would wish they did, and the lack of them causes us to seize up, take pause, and announce what truly does define us.  Or, even scarier: it's the act of acknowledging we could totally survive easily without our possessions... OOF!

When we literally touch every piece of our past, contemplate every belonging, think about what each of our treasures and skeletons mean to us (and meant to our past self), observe how they may help or hinder us in the future, and (for the sake of emotionless productivity to get the task done) unbridle our minds to pack up our lives objectively, what about it makes us cry?  What about it creates that nostalgic wish “to go back”?

I suppose to be physically and mentally able to sort, pack, and throw things away quickly, you force yourself to disconnect the emotional Heart from such draining tasks.  Once the task is over, however, the padlock is released and the Heart takes its first peek with fresh eyes at her “new world” and cringes to see it has completely changed.  The once familiar territory is now unrecognizable, and the poor Heart has no idea what has happened, except that:  it hurts.

Moving hurts and it even SUCKS.  It shocks the heart.  It confuses and tests the brain.  And it forcefully knocks on the window of the soul to remind her to pay attention, and take inventory of the days we’ve spent and the days we have left to spend.  In this way, moving can even challenge our own mortality, reminding us that nothing lasts forever.  Some things pass more quickly than we’re ever really ready for:  Cities, houses, vacations, careers, friendships, love, family and the people closest to us, and ultimately, the thrillingly beautiful chapters in our unforgettable book of Life.

Daring to live means daring to die at any moment but also means daring to be born, crossing great stages of life in which the person we have been dies, and is replaced by another with a renewed vision of the world, and at the same time realizing that there will be many obstacles to overcome before we reach the final stage of Enlightenment.
— Arnaud Desjardins