mental health

What do to with gifts from someone you no longer like?

What do to with gifts from someone you no longer like?

I am in the midst of my big move cross country. One more day till i hit the road. I have my home office to pack up and a lot of knick knacks. Although, I am getting quite good at throwing things out. However, I still can not bring myself to how out my son’s baby clothes and I have three boxes thus far. I keep thinking he can use them for his children when he finally has them. or I can use them when I need a pick-me-up. looking at those clothes swell up my heart in a good, nostalgic way.

Nostalgia can be so soothing. yet, I came across a few items that have me wincing and wondering whether I should toss them in the garbage for symbolism’s sake, give away to a thrift store for goodwill, keep and remember the good times or keep and just let it all go.

I came across a candle lighthouse. Seems innocuous enough.  I love lighthouses. I am mesmerized by them. I love being enveloped in them. I love climbing to the top and looking far, far away. Several people know of my love of lighthouses. This candle lighthouse was a gift. A purposeful gift that showcased the gift-giver’s knowledge and esteem of me.  A purposeful display of supposed care and thought.

I have never lit the candle but I did put it on display on my kitchen window sill next to my Puerto Rican homage candle. I have not paid it much heed since I placed it on my window sill. I just picked it up and wondered what i should do with it? What should I do with the other items I received from that same gift-giver? There are jewelry pieces, a jewelry box and assorted random bits. I will admittedly keep the jewelry without any flinching on my part. Jewelry is not personal. Or at least it is not to me. Well, rather not those pieces. They were earrings that have no meaning to me. The candle, on the other hand, was supposed to mean more and thus proves to be more problematic.

But it is only a candle after all. Easy to toss. It was supposed to be a sign of friendship, partnership and understanding. Yet, we are no longer friends and there is a bitter taste about it. Thus, the candle is bitter-laced. a possibly ten dollar candle has taken on so much more worth. Part of me thinks I should just light it and let it burn.  Let it burn-burn-burn-burn and then it is done. Or perhaps I should light some sage afterwards and do what Puerto Ricans call a limpieza (a cleaning). A limpieza of the space, spirit and soul. I will light it up and move on and forget the gift forever more.

2014-10-24 21.33.58

19 replies »

  1. Go for the limpieza! I have two things that after blessing and purifying them, no longer are associated with one of the most devastating relationships of my life. I would have regretted throwing them away.


  2. My vote would be to give it to the thrift shop or to light it with your son and let him enjoy the flames. I’ve never met a kid who wasn’t mesmerised by a candle’s flame.
    I really hate waste so even though throwing it out might be cathartic, my preference would be to pass it on to someone else who can it it a new story if burning it yourself doesn’t sit well.
    We are renovating and having moved a stack of things back when my parents sold the Palm Beach house, we had to get rid of mountains of stuff. So far, I’ve mainly been moving on the easy stuff but I came across some photos of an ex-boyfriend and I and they posed a dilemma. Neither my husband or I probably have an issue with me keeping them but what about the kids? Do I really want to explain that relationship to them? Can I? Is it better, perhaps, to destroy the evidence and re-write your own history? Leave behind a censored Mum? It’s very tempting but I guess I also want my kids to know me and not a cardboard cutout. That said, a bit of pruning doesn’t seem quite so bad.
    I wrote a post yesterday, which I thought you might find interesting about helping kids through difficult times and trying to be patient with them yourself as well…not an easy journey at all. Not being a psychologist myself, I have put this together through my own experience and how it relates to children whose parent are living with a chronic and potentially life-threatening illness. Here’s the link:
    Hope you are enjoying Summer. I think the cooler weather here is helping to advance the renovations. We’re in a semi-hibernation xx Rowena


  3. Ha, just last night, I was laying in bed looking at a bottle of perfume my ex gave me. He actually gave it to me in the period after we ended things and were trying to be “friends” and before all the messy secrets that rendered that impossible came to light.
    But even though I cut him out of my life, and erased every other trace of him, I haven’t been able to get rid of that perfume.
    Right after the secrets were exposed, I told myself I wouldn’t touch it until I got into a new relationship with someone that really cared for me, and then, I’d wear it on a nice date with him. Kind of as a “take that!” to my ex. I was so consumed with bitterness.
    I haven’t quite gotten over it yet- he was my first love. But thankfully, nearly a year later I’ve realized there’s no need to go into a new place smelling of old things.

    Still can’t get rid of it, though.


  4. My ex best friend lent me an expensive food scale to weigh kittens on and chart their growth. When we “broke up,” it was pretty dramatic and bitter. I threw that scale out! It was probably wrong to do it, but I didn’t want an encounter with her or any contact. I have to admit, I do not regret it. It was good to get rid of her and her disloyalty and lies in a symbolic way.


  5. I vote for tossing the candle. It may be very pretty but no need to bring something with such bad connotations. Oh,and I’m with you on the jewelry! I kept the stuff I received during my marriage because I felt – and still feel – that I earned it all. Good luck!


  6. I still have a flowery over-sized T-shirt I got from a neighbor I had emotionally moved away from long before I separated myself from that block physically. I didn’t wear it then or there but I still have it because I like the colors and the flowery pattern.

    When we moved next door to her at the end of the beach-close cul-de-sac, we were the only families on the block with young children so we naturally gravitated towards each other. We were close for several years in the area where she had grown up and where her family still lived very close by, and I liked them all. This lasted till the family of a high school chum of hers moved on the block, after which the friendship disintegrated for a number of seemingly unrelated reasons.

    The final straw in our break-up was when she threw a Halloween party, which we had previously done in tandem, and invited all the kids on the block except mine and another family who had been her friends and neighbors in their previous area home. My feeling was that it was OK if she wanted to exclude me but I’d be damned if I’d let her hurt my kids that way.

    We all got over it but, imagine my surprise when she FINALLY noticed, two years later, that I had stopped talking to her and made the effort to come over and ask me why. When I told her of this specific incident and reasoning, she had the gall, ignorance and stupidity to reply that she had only invited friends to that party. The woman was so tone deaf that she didn’t hear herself say the words that clearly confirmed to me that we were no longer friends. She barely acknowledged it when I parroted those words immediately back to her.

    Bottom line, if you like the gift or think you might use it, keep it! In this instance, there is and was no emotion attached to it.


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