Why are we humans so attached to things? Serious question and I want to explore an answer.
Several years ago, my dad decided to clean out his storage unit and get rid of stuff and get rid of the storage unit entirely. Yay dad, right? Well, as he was cleaning out the randomness that accumulates in these facilities, he came across a bag that was full of my stuff. He dropped it off at my place and I went through the bag dutifully, thinking I was going to throw out whatever was in the bag. I mean, if I hadn’t seen what was in the bag in years, why would I need any of it now? Right? Sort of…
Amongst the debris of my life contained in this bag were sorority t-shirts and sweatshirts, my college sweatshirt, newspaper articles from when I was on the school newspaper in high school, and letterman patches from high school as well.
I got rid of my sorority t-shirts and sweatshirts because once you are not in college anymore, you don’t wear any of these items. Ever. So they went out the door. I sold my college sweatshirt online and the newspaper articles that contained my stories there in black and white… I read them, smiled remembering that time long ago, and tossed them in the recycling bin.
But the letterman patches from high school? Here they are in all their glory:
This particular patch, I received from being on the school paper. Simple enough.
This next patch I received, well you can see what it was for…
I received these patches and I never had the desire to own a letterman jacket. Even in my teen years, I foresaw the actuality of wearing a high school jacket with all these random patches on it beyond high school as futile. A huge waste of money for something I would never wear past graduation day.
So I never purchased a letterman jacket for my random letterman patches. And yet, I still have these patches.
WHY DO I STILL HAVE THESE PATCHES?
Am I going to be in conversation with someone and we are speaking about high school and what a
terrible great time it was, and I am somehow going to talk about my letterman patches and produce them out of my purse, like some absurd version of “show and tell”?
Am I going to have to prove to someone, anyone, that although I am older and have “mom-brain”, once upon a time I used to be smart? Smart enough for academic honors?
Who cares? Why does it matter? And yet, does it matter?
Even as I am writing this post, I still haven’t thrown away these patches and I have to ask myself why. It’s not because I have fond memories of high school because I don’t. Sure there are some fun memories I have with friends, but being a teenager isn’t the easiest thing under even normal circumstances, and my 9th through 12th grade years were extremely difficult for personal reasons. So no, I do not look at ages 14 through 18 through rose-colored glasses.
Do I miss the days of studying or being a part of something as tense and yet exciting as working on the school paper? No, not really.
I am going to play armchair psychiatrist on myself and give an answer that I believe to be the right one: I have held on to these patches because deep down, it proves to myself that I made it. I made it through the turmoil that was my life at that time and I didn’t let it break me. It is somehow a personal accomplishment for me that I was able to compartmentalize the crap that was threatening to bring me under, and get a spot on the high school paper. I was able to push through the chaos and still get good grades.
I. Made. It.
I made it. I survived. And these stupid letterman patches that continue to follow me into every place we move to, remind me of that.
So does it matter? Sometimes it does.
These patches are, for the time being, staying put until I am able to look objectively at them minus all the emotion that continues to swirl around in the lifeblood that makes up me.
I am not quite ready to get rid of my letterman patches just yet…