I’ll Never Understand Why You’re So Good At Letting Go


I had a drawer in the house I grew up. “Sabrina’s Drawer” my mom called it. It was in the kitchen, in a large entry table, and I stored all my random stuff there. Old papers, certificates, prizes, candy wrappers, markers — every knick knack you could imagine, in complete disarray. It was as stuffed as my belly after Thanksgiving dinner. At times I’d have to pry it open with all my might. That’s whenI’d finally take every article out, organizing the keepers and painfully, occasionally, throwing away the trash. Within days, it’d return to its chaotic mess. Sabrina’s Drawer.

I didn’t want to say goodbye to any of its contents out of fear I’d need them again.

On the other hand, my bedroom was immaculate. Bed made as soon as I got up, clothes folded on shelves and on hangers. But here, this drawer, was my place to be messy, to not have to say goodbye to anything, to let everything have the chance to live out its full potential.

I’m not good at letting go. I hold onto things.

When I was younger, it was material items in my drawer. Now it’s mostly people. If I get in a disagreement with a friend, I’ll get over it pretty quickly. I rather talk it out and then move on, go back to being friends and enjoying each other. If a romantic interest says he’s too busy or not ready to date, I practically refuse to accept that as truth. You’re wrong, you’ve made a silly decision is what I say to myself and sometimes the guy. That never goes over so well.

It took me years to learn to let go of physical things—throwing out and giving away old clothes, especially those with holes. Like the white dress I bought at 19 from Lucky that I wore all over Southeast Asia and Europe and still had until a few weeks ago when I told a friend packing my Austin home to throw it out. I said it hesitantly, in fear, wondering, Am I making the right decision? I’m discarding something that holds invaluable memories.

Years ago, in fact maybe even just a few months ago, I would’ve kept it, shipped it across the country and let it sit in my closet except for the one day I’d wear it, remembering an hour later why I hadn’t in so long—the strap had been broken for years. I’d looked half homeless. I’d then place it back in my closet until that one day happened again, a year or so later. But not this time. This time, I said goodbye. Now I want simple.

But when it comes to people, I struggle to let go.

I still think about my exs, even though I’m no longer in love with them and even though it’s been years since they were mine. I simply miss the way I loved them and they loved me.

I hold onto crushes. I overanalyze why things ended, why I wasn’t enough, what could I have done differently. I don’t want to say goodbye. I want the chance to have something in my life that makes sense, that I want. And I want it all. Especially romantic love that makes your heart almost hurt with joy.

I may still be a hoarder like my younger self, but not of things—instead of experiences and people.

“Why do you care so much?” my friends ask when I’m upset about a guy.

“Why don’t you care?” is my rebuttal.

I don’t understand how losing someone and the chance at becoming something great doesn’t cause people to fall apart inside a little bit. Everything in my body and mind screams to not let go, to not let a chance at connection leave. I know what true, deep, gut-wrenching loss feels like. It’s painful and dark and lonely. And I don’t want it anymore, but I find myself back in that space at times. Especially the past few years being single, mini grieving episodes, each time I’m disappointed a romantic fling has ended.

I’m ready for something that stays, something that doesn’t make me fearful it’ll disappear on me. Someone that’ll willingly let me stuff him in my drawer for keep sake, and let me organize him when we get messy, and then, all over again, get messy, together. Because that’s just what I do.