When a couch is no longer just a couch

February 10, 2015

Lately I can’t make decisions for shit.

What do you want for lunch? I don’t know, what do YOU want for lunch? zzzzzzz

Within the last year, the couch started sagging in the middle. I didn’t notice at first but then, when I did, turned a blind eye. This is my couch, my white couch, my baby. It’s the first major piece of furniture I purchased in LA and I LOVE IT. I stared longingly at it for months while gingerly saving my pennies, only to be richly rewarded when I spotted it at a sidewalk sale in a ritzy neighborhood for a quarter of what it’s worth. When the store owner told me she’d just have a new one delivered straight from the warehouse, I almost cried. And took it as a sign: I really did make the right decision moving here.

Anyway, that’s how far back me and this couch go. We’re like family.

For months I’ve been trying to buy a new couch. I know it’s time, but can’t seem to pull the trigger. My throat tightens, I get overwhelmed and stop looking. Why can’t I just have fun and pick a friggin’ couch? The pursuit plagues me, I’m exhausted. Over a couch.

There I was reading away last week when I came across this quote:

So whenever we make a plan and stick to it, at some point we must choose: Either we refuse to acknowledge or accept that radical change has been happening all along, requiring that we adapt to the next right thing, and make changes to our plan, or we keep trying to live in a world that no longer exists. – Wayne Muller,  a life of being, having and doing enough

And it hit me: this is me. I’m trying to pour new wine into old wine skins and they’re bursting everywhere. Whenever I try to choose a new couch all I think of is my old life; how financially secure and happy I was, how safe I felt. It’s like if I let go of this couch, I’m letting go of self-sufficient Carrie who was able to take care of and provide for herself. Carrie who took risks and didn’t fail. Carrie who could work and not worry about money and bills and creating a life for herself.

Can I tell you how much I hate feeling this way?


I really do.

I feel tight in my chest even writing it down.

When I let go of this couch I’m letting go of a time in my life that I really loved, when things were figured out. Mostly I feel sad; like I’m letting go of all these pieces of myself and don’t have anything to replace them with. It scares me.

I think I’m holding on to a lot of things that don’t belong to me anymore. Hair, clothes, tax documents, weird shit; maybe even some relationships. As hard as it may be be, I have to let go of the person I was and the life I had 5 and 10 years ago because, in reality, it doesn’t exist anymore.

Cut to scene: it’s last Wednesday and I’m in the hair chair, round three of fix this broken mop is on the horizon. My new colorist is a genius; she really encourages you to do what will look best on you, and right now she wants me back on the brunette train. For a lot of the reasons above I left being brunette, but on a whim decided to go with it. She’s the expert, who the f-ck am I, let’s do this. Guess what? It turned out so great we had a moment of silence. I feel (and look) so much better, like I’m back to being myself. Or at least who I am right now, in this moment.

I left the salon, Wayne Muller’s words rattling around in my brain. Change is constant. Embrace it and live or get stuck and suffer.

I’m getting a new couch.

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  • Reply Kristin W February 15, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    A-f’ing-men. Even though it’s a little bit bigger than a couch…that’s sort of how I feel about selling this little house of ours. I mean I “grew up” in this house (for the last 5 years at least). Only 5 years but there is so much significance and memories here. I don’t want to let it go. Live and let live?

    • Reply This Free Bird February 19, 2015 at 2:42 am

      It’s the worst. Especially when you’re forced into the change (at least for me) and it wasn’t necessarily a welcome one. I have no doubt that I’d be able to lose this couch with a few ‘oh the memories’ type comments and a tug at the heart strings if my life had greater stability. If I felt like I had some direction or clarity on my new path. If I felt like I was better able to care for myself. But, because I’m on shaky ground, I look at the things I have (accomplished/earned) from when I was healthy and find myself hanging onto them because they symbolize a stronger Carrie. I hope this makes sense….Either way, I FEEL YOU and it is nice to know I’m not alone. It would be tough to move on from your house. I get that! Get out there and see what there is? Maybe you’ll find something you love and it will make letting go a little easier? That is my wish for you. That and, of course, timing.

  • Reply little luxury list February 12, 2015 at 2:53 am

    Of course we love memories and objects that brought us great comfort. Change totally sucks sometimes, but the first step is accepting the change. The harder part is taking that long, sometimes frustrating path to the new destination in the road. But I think there are different, but beautiful stops in all of our journeys. i have faith you’ll get a new, wonderful couch!

    • Reply This Free Bird February 19, 2015 at 2:37 am

      And more importantly what it stands for: independence and some self-discovery with a new career path! Thank you. xo

  • Reply Lindsay glacy February 11, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    This may sound crazy, but I read this book called “the Japanese Art of Tidying”. One of the very helpful suggestions the author gives about letting things go when it’s time, is thanking the item for the memories, love, warmth and comfort it has brought over the year and then let go with gratitude. Weird as it sounds I tried it with a number of things (not necessary thanking the item itself, but as a gift from the Lord) and in a way it sets me free from keeping things just because of the nostalgia or guilt.

    • Reply This Free Bird February 12, 2015 at 1:32 am

      I don’t think what you’re saying sounds crazy at all. There’s a lot of nostalgia wrapped up in this couch and who I’ve been/what I’ve accomplished since I’ve owned it. Super grateful for these years and kind of nervous about what’s next, so hopefully releasing it in gratitude will help me. Thanks!

  • Reply Jen February 10, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    I send you a ginormous, squash-you-tight hug.

    • Reply This Free Bird February 11, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      I’ll take it, I’ll take it!! First you’ll have to pry me off the couch…

  • Reply Kristie February 10, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Oh…I so get this. I’ve been on that couch. Good Lord, I have been IN that couch. Holding on to who I was because of people and circumstances in my life, that life I created. Then it was gone. And I was left clinging to the couch trying to stick my toes out every now and then to see who I was without it. It takes great courage to let go and realize you’ve been moving forward this whole time. That you are where you are because that’s exactly where you’ve been destined to be. You’re stronger and better because of what has happened to you.
    Onto bigger and better couches my friend!

    • Reply This Free Bird February 11, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      You have no idea how happy and relieved I am to know you’ve been in my shoes (couch) and made it out alive. This is honestly the worst! The letting go without a safety net, the total leap into jet black space. And of course, the arrivederci to my awesome couch (old life) with approx zero direction. Where’s my bungee cord? What happened to old Carrie who looked before leaping? Seriously Kristie, you boosted my sanity with this comment. Tell me you’re on a new couch…

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