Can I Live Without Him? – The Stranglehold of Emotional Attachment: Part 3


Me ‘n My Horsey – Summer ’84 (left) and a year later (right).

“Our life is the series of moments that is steaming through your consciousness right now, and how you use those moments and what you fill them with is what truly matters, not what you fill your home with. At the end of this short journey, you’ll look back and remember your experiences, the people you loved and who loved you back, the things you did and didn’t do. Not the stuff you had.”

Leo Balboau

It’s still a scary thought, letting go of an object that’s made me feel secure for so many years. We all have them – our beloved childhood stuffed animals all stitched up, cuddling the memories of childhood past; the favorite book that sits quietly on the shelf, preserving that feeling we felt the first time we read it; the guitar that waits for “one of these days.” We all have the emotional attachment that defines their well-preserved existence.

All of these things conjure up feelings that make it difficult to even consider tossing them away. So when I started to simplify my stuff, I immediately dismissed any object whose story began with “I love you.” I even ignored my favorite blogger’s advice, to ‘Love Life, Not Stuff’.

It must have been the day that I rediscovered Horse’s Head that made me realize that I could live without these things. I was cleaning out the storage bin when I found his lonely dismembered head stuffed into a box with other childhood toys that my mom encouraged me to keep. Even though horse’s head had been out of sight and out of mind for years, feelings of warmth and security immediately arose as I hugged him close  – well, close enough. He is made of plastic. I then began to wonder how something so special could have fallen so far off my radar. Could it be that I didn’t need him anymore? This realization didn’t make it any easier to throw HH away. I gave him another hug, shed a few memories, and then packed him back away because I didn’t dare get rid of him.

A couple of days later and I was still thinking about Horse’s Head. I asked the question again – “Can I live without him?”

NO! And I was going to prove it.

I pulled the packing tape aside and placed Horse’s Head on the dresser in my bedroom. He sat there for a couple of weeks. Josh would snarl every time he knocked it over while in search of his missing black sock. I also got tired of looking at the bizarre remains of my beloved childhood rocking horse. When friends came over, he barely fit in the bottom drawer. Eventually he ended up decorating my linen closet.

I knew the answer was clear; it was time for Horse’s Head to join his other half in horsey heaven. I didn’t need him anymore.

Life can be confusing and scary, so we surround ourselves with stuff to provide walls of comfort, but the fact is that objects will never fill the spot in our hearts that seeks adventure, friendship, experiences, and love. After every trinket is neatly on your shelf you still have to turn and face the world.

I called my mom on the phone to break the news. Surprisingly, she was more devastated than me and pleaded to take him off my hands. I didn’t necessarily like her plan; I wanted to part ways with my emotional baggage. But, at her insistence, I packed Horse’s Head one last time to be shipped back to my childhood residence. I guess that’s where he belongs, back at the foot of the bed.

One Response to Can I Live Without Him? – The Stranglehold of Emotional Attachment: Part 3

  1. Mom says:

    Abby loves Horse’s Head now. She tries to ride him while sitting on the bed’s post. Cute!!!

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