When my life used to feel out of control, I’d clean out my room. First I’d crawl into my closet and write my anxious and angry thoughts on the walls in sharpie. (Months later I’d grab the paint bucket from downstairs and paint over my Anne-ogylphs.) Then I’d pull out my dresser from the West wall and drag it to the East wall. It never looked as nice. When that didn’t work, I’d drag my bed away from the North wall and put it in the middle of the room. That never looked good either. Finally I’d give up on the rearranging idea and instead pull out all of my possessions from the closet, side table, dresser drawers, pictures on the walls and throw them in the middle of my floor.

I’d go through every notebook and rip out random pages where I had doodled or written Jaron Ortega’s name in flower-letters or where Camille had drawn a picture of Austin and me about to kiss. Then I’d smash them into a garbage sack. I’d toss out dried flowers I kept pressed in a dictionary, cut off the head of a stuffed animal a boy had given me–a boy who broke my heart–and set it on fire in the backyard.
I’d shove ALL of my clothes into a bag and label it “for D.I.”
And after almost all of my possessions were shoved into garbage sacks, I’d crawl under the bed covers and hide from the world until I fell asleep.
Then the next day I would remember my panicked emotions and go through all of the garbage sacks again. I’d first put back all of the necessities–my clothes, shoes, and underwear–and laugh at myself for throwing everything away. Then I’d look at the random items and contemplate whether or not I should throw them away. I’d start remembering–Awww, this is from Girls camp! Aww, this is the CD Emily and I made when we were eleven! Aww, Garrett gave this to me as a Valentines present in 6th grade!

Nothing, not even a doodle in my notebook, got thrown away. I put it right back in its place. Except for the burnt stuffed animal. Couldn’t do much about that.
Now all of those random things are in my parents’ basement inside an “Anne” box and, well, I doubt they’ll ever make it out of my parents’ basement. But we don’t need to discuss that now.
But this week I again had a “My life is out of control!” moment, but I took the very chill ‘Vivian-way’ of handling it and did not shove everything into garbage sacks. Instead I organized and threw away things that really did need to be thrown away. I went through the “Need vs. Want” way of thinking, and made it through.
But there were some items that brought back Awww memories and couldn’t throw them away. Things that had meant so much to me at the time and still mean something to me now. Here are some of the Awww‘s:

What things can you not throw away?


  1. I hang onto little bits of writing in mostly empty notebooks. I like to run into them once a year or so.

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