Deep in the recesses of my sock basket lies a pair of well-worn, well-made men’s gold-toe socks. They have lived with me for over three years and in more than three apartments. I almost never wear them, save times of extreme laundry crisis. Or the rare episode of an early morning freezing floor. But, if Marie Kondo were to blast through my wall like a petite Kool-Aid man and politely hold the socks up in front of my face, I would have to say, “No, Marie. They do not spark joy.” Then why haven’t I let them go?
They did belong to a guy I dated in college, a guy that I once loved. Our love ended. The socks endured.
I hadn’t thought much of what holding on to them might mean until now. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m in denial. Maybe there are pieces of my college relationship woven into the fibers of those socks. Maybe that’s why they’ve stayed in my basket for so long. A token to love lost.
I open my closet and rip through my basket, flinging socks about, none of them paired. Of course not. Chaos is a sock drawer. These ones are easy to find, though, because they are rolled together. Rolled together because I never wear them. I hold them for a while, pressing the fabric between my fingers. That stupid gold-toe. It’s funny to me that not even socks are immune to fashion trends.
I wait for that Marie Kondo spark. I wait for the fire of the past to burn strong enough for me to feel its warmth again. I hold the socks and prepare to remember. To remember a time when I didn’t think I could walk without the feet that filled these socks beside me. See memories of a girl who could not make one step forward had he not made it first. The silhouette of my longest love. The echo of my biggest heartbreak.
But nothing comes. No such fire burns.
So I put them on. My feet drown in them, the gold toe not reaching my own, the ankles pulling up to an unflattering length. 100% Certified Dad Socks. I peel them off, roll them back up, and return them into my chaos basket.
Nothing sparked in me. No joy. No sentiment. No romance, anger, hurt, heartache. They really, truly mean nothing at all. They’re just socks I haven’t bothered to get rid of.
Letting go is a funny little thing. I don’t know that I believe in it. If I did, these socks would probably mean more to me. Because if I just let my relationship go, I would never have really moved on. I simply would have allowed it to move beyond me. Loosen my grasp on it and set it free. A passive act. But that’s not what I did. The socks are not that relationship because I didn’t just let go of that love. I ran the fuck beyond it. I cried, wrote, quit drinking for good, worked hard, spoke sweeter, laughed harder, mastered being alone. Don’t loosen your grasp on what needs to change. Tighten your grip on your own life and never let go.
My life is in my hands now. And sometimes, too, is a pair of my ex-boyfriend’s socks.
Anna Snedden is one of our guest performers, and we are in love with her writing style. We hope you all enjoy her work as much as we do! Thanks Anna!