I was afraid to look! Perhaps that’s why I put it off for so many years. Yeah, embarrassing right? I wasn’t even sure what I’d find. I grabbed the garbage can and started pulling things out one at a time. Each item came with a memory…. or a hundred and fifty six memories.

Some items in the drawer made me laugh, like the socks I purchased in Arizona that say “Ringmaster of the Shit Show”, which I didn’t pull out to actually wear until my motorcycle trip to Canada…. with the Bishop and Stake President in tow… at which time I thought it would be funny to add a little shock value to our trip.

Or the tall blue and white striped socks with the green trim. Did I actually wear those? Oh heaven help me.

I laughed out loud when I found the itty bitty little black “thing” buried in the very back, bottom corner of the drawer. I think it was intended to be panties…. Buuuuuuuut… it looks more like a sling shot, or… dental floss for your butt??? I must’ve worn those at least once? Ouch. (I hope it was at least ten years ago before my butt lost its elasticity right along with the panties)

Some items were super easy to toss… like the fluffy white socks that go to your knee and have little rubber grips on the bottom. It feels like you’re walking on rocks when you wear them, but as long as you’re sitting down it’s fine. Definitely you never want to wear them with shoes… they already act as a fire beneath your feet and can only be worn approximately seven minutes.

I had several pair of those disgusting “ankle socks” I would NEVER be seen in public wearing, you know, the ones that are “baggy” and come up just past the ankle. UGH!…. I have to say, it felt SUPER freeing to toss those.

I even found some socks that didn’t belong to me… why on earth have I let them take up space in my drawer for so long?

There were several pairs of panties “okay, fine, thongs, butt floss, whatever you want to call them”, that appeared to be a size negative two… I’m not sure what purpose they ever served or why I spent between 10$- 15$ on each of them??? No, but seriously, other than to create some really weird “panty” lines, what good did they do? I do actually recall constantly having to “pick my wedgy”. Why did I torture myself like that? Perhaps the reason I kept those for so long was because they cost so much and therefore created some type of obligation to keep them. Who knows? But what about the cute pair… the ones with pink hearts? I had to keep reminding myself that if I hadn’t worn them in over a year I never would.

I found a few pair of socks that still had tags on them and had never been worn. See what happens when we keep so much clutter? Our clean white socks get lost and never used.

At the very bottom of my drawer I even found several plastic display hooks and tags that had been torn from my new socks. I had garbage in my drawer that had been there for years…. literal garbage that was taking up space for absolutely no reason. Nice Jackie!

I actually did this exercise with much intention. I’ve been pondering deeply the amount of baggage I carry around with me. I’ve been schooled in an extreme and rapid way this past year. It has been brought to my attention and realization that I am so full, like up to my neck, full, of A WHOLE BUNCH OF CRAP I have never taken the time to sort through, acknowledge, feel, and let go. I realized this when I started to be unable to handle ANYTHING. I’m typically really good at “handling stuff”…. What I’ve discovered, however, is that I don’t really “handle” anything…. I shove it down deep inside of me, as far as it will go, so that I don’t have to feel it. The problem now is that I am so FULL of hurt, shame, regret, sadness, pain, anger, and fear, that any new “stuff” that comes my way has no where to go. I’ve been finding myself freaking out and reacting, rather than acting. My inability to cope has led me to understand that my “coping chamber” is FULL.

I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, therefore, things need to be visual for me. I’m a hands-on learner. As I laid on my bed pondering this idea, I found myself staring, coincidentally, at my sock/underwear drawer when the idea came to me that there was a parallel to be discovered.

My drawer was so full and messy I could never find anything in there. Each time I bring home new socks I can barely fit them in the drawer. Rather than throwing out the old to make room for the new, I’ve been shoving them in and forcing the drawer to close.

As I began my experiment, what I wanted to do was pull the drawer out, dump it, and decide, one item at a time, what I wanted to put back in the drawer. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the drawer out. Which is true in life…. How would it ever be possible to dump our entire “coping chamber” all at once?

I began taking the items out one by one and pondering what each item represented in my life.

The Shit Show socks… humor, shock value… this has always been part of my coping mechanism, a way to deflect and avoid. But hey… laughter is good, and as long as I recognize why I do it sometimes, I can keep it.

The tall blue and white striped socks with green trim…at one point in time I liked them, they fit, they were perfect to wear with my tall boots and they kept my feet warm. They had served their purpose and were very appropriate for a time in my life. However, life is about constant change, it always will be. It’s okay to let go of old things that used to work well. We have to let go of the old to make room for the new, right? I now wear thin black socks that aren’t quite so bold with my boots. The person I used to be was good, she did the best she could and she was awesome…. But I’ve grown and changed and learned and now I know a better way. It feels safe to move forward. The striped socks went in the trash.

The itty-bitty black thong… there’s nothing wrong with little black thongs …. as long as I’m not using them to convince myself or others that I am good enough, as long as I realize that I’m just as beautiful in a pair of thermals, with all parts of my body covered. There are appropriate times to be sexy and dress as such, but for me, I didn’t know of my worth or my purity when I wore those. Therefore, they had to go,…I’ve traded them in and decided to clothe myself in sacred clothing that reminds me of my worth, besides… I recall wearing them and thinking, “these are the stupidest underwear, they do absolutely nothing… but “the world…i.e. Victoria’s Secret” says they are cool, ….. so… they must be cool and I better wear them. NOT ANY MORE. I know who I am. I don’t need to wear anything to impress anyone because I like myself. It’s time to let go of doing and saying things to please others. The only person I need to please is myself, Jackie, and the Big Guy upstairs… when I’m true to myself and aligned with Him I feel peace.

The fluffy white socks with little plastic grippers on the bottom… There is crap in my life that wasn’t comfortable from the get go! Experiences I knew, the second the idea crossed my mind, that weren’t comfortable, but I found myself doing them anyway. Things those around me were doing that I did to fit in, or coping mechanisms that were so unhealthy and felt so wrong, but I didn’t have the courage to stay with myself. These socks were a Christmas gift and were given to me…. I had to wear them… didn’t I? How many labels did others give me, either for real, or in my mind, that I have held onto for so long, even though they are not comfortable and don’t feel like truth to me at all? Why do I give my power to others? Those fluffy socks are SO going in the trash. I have zero time or need for perceived labels that make me uncomfortable. Those are just stories in my head that take up soooo much space in my “coping chamber”…… ew! No! I’m not doing that!

Last, but not least, the beloved thongs… butt floss, wedgy makers, whatever… don’t we all have things in our lives that came at such an expense, with so much hurt and pain attached that we hold onto them for dear life? I have found myself allowing my past to identify who I am and that is just not true. Who cares how much those memories cost? Perhaps these painful events in our lives, either caused by our selves or others, are the items taking up the most space in our “coping chamber”. Perhaps it’s time to let them go, to free myself of these restrictive and debilitating labels I have super-glued, bolted and chained to my identity. They do not serve me. They do not help me in reaching my full potential. They do not bring me joy. They are merely dead weight, and not just dead weight, they are infected and oozing with unhealthy toxic waste that is contaminating all the new parts of myself I’m discovering. They definitely have to go…. No matter the cost.

As I sifted through my drawer, eventually emptying it of all un-used and unnecessary items, I picked up the brand new white socks that had been hidden in all the mess and put them right on top of everything else I would keep. These are my spiritual gifts that have been discovered through embracing adversity. These are the fruits of my labor and the blessings that come from learning to have the courage to stay, to feel and to endure to the end.

Each day since I’ve cleaned out this drawer, even on the days I don’t need anything from the drawer, I open it to observe the cleanliness and feeling of renewed peace and purity I feel from the cleaning-out process. It’s kind of like the way I feel when I observe myself enjoying my own company because I’ve moved out of my head and into my body, I’ve forgiven myself and others. I’ve discarded old labels and re-claimed my brand new, clean white socks. I enjoyed this thought provoking activity so much, I think I’ll do it again and again as I move throughout my home, inviting spring with a renewed sense of new life, clean drawers, and a new me.