A clean start

I left my car with my friend Brad, who lives not far from the Phoenix airport, while Mom and I were traveling for two weeks. A friend lets you do that. A good friend drops you off at the airport and picks you up again, and maybe even puts a little gas in your car while he has it. Brad did all that and, as a surprise for me, he DETAILED my car! It hasn’t been this clean since it was new, seven years ago, and all the way home I couldn’t stop exclaiming over it.

Once my car became our family car, with Mike and the kids treating it like a trash can, I had given up on even trying to keep it clean. Soda had spilled in the cup holders and turned to gunk, which I made a half-assed attempt to scrape out. Chocolate got ground into the carpet. I only washed the windows when I was having difficulty seeing out of them. I’d given up on the apartment, too, once Mike’s studio space took over all but our bedroom.

I’m not the world’s neatest person, I’ll admit, but I’m not a slob. A dirty environment wears me down, makes me feel frustrated and cranky. Clean space lifts me up, gives me energy and inspiration. Now that the car is clean, I feel inspired to keep it that way. And when I get a new apartment, I can keep that space clean too, since I’ll be the only one making messes in it. Would I trade control over the cleanliness of my living space to have my messy artist husband back? In a fraction of a millisecond. But that’s not going to happen. So I might as well make a clean start.

I’m making a clean start in other ways, too. In the two weeks after Mike’s death, I lost six pounds because I couldn’t eat. I needed energy to function because I had things to get done, so I tempted myself to eat with whatever food appealed to me. If that meant dinner was a bag of potato chips, hey, at least it kept me going one more day. I didn’t care what I was doing to my body. I barely cared about living. Needless to say, this led to some pretty bad eating habits. In the four months since then, I’ve gained back those six pounds plus about eight more. But this treating my body like a trash can stops here. Today I threw out the potato chips, bought lots of healthy food at the grocery store, and put in 45 minutes on the treadmill. That felt good.

The clean start applies to my relationships as well. In the last several months, I’ve had people that I’d loved for years and considered family cut me out of their lives. I’ve grieved these losses, and now I’m done letting them take energy away from the only loss that really matters. I’m realizing that it’s for the best, that the Universe has simply been pruning away the dead wood to make room for me to grow. I’m choosing to surround myself with people who nourish and support and inspire me. And for each friendship that has fallen away, I’ve been blessed with someone who brings far more into my life – either a new friend or the deepening and blossoming of an existing friendship.

Thus energized and inspired, tomorrow I will get in my nice clean car and make the 7-hour road trip home to Los Angeles for several days of reconnection with my friends, my support group, my therapist. I’m looking forward to that.


~ by hourbeforedawn on August 19, 2010.

5 Responses to “A clean start”

  1. Like I told you when I hugged you before you left, we cannot do truly great things – only small things with great love. You deserve to have someone do nice things for you for no reason other than to make you happy and give you a little boost – so that you know they were thinking of you and that your happiness means enough to make the effort. I knew it would make you breathe easier since you’re going to be spending so much time in the car going back and forth from LA to AZ, and I know how much better it makes me feel to provide an act of love.

    Your gift to me is that you always walk through any door I open for you, metaphorically or otherwise. This was a small thing that invariably opened a door, and for that I am grateful. It’s almost as if I’m getting equally out of this what you are, and I’m grateful for that as well.

    It’s just my way, as in all things I do, to provide a reminder of how much you are beloved instead of simply relying on the words for conveyance – how I believe in you when even YOU don’t believe in yourself – how proud I am of and for you – and how much conviction I have that there is NOTHING you CANNOT do.

    You love me perfectly. Thank you for that.

  2. i love this.
    all of it.
    and i love brad’s response.

  3. This trip appears to have lifted your spirit, and elevated you to where you want to see yourself. I find it very inspirational.

  4. How wonderful of Brad to do such a nice thing, he truly is a treasure of a friend. I too have such a friend, maybe they were sent to us to help us find our way?

  5. wow. brad is such a blessing. thank you brad.

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