For ten years I have stared at the same white door. Every morning when I wake up and every night before I sleep, the white door to my closet mocking and tormenting me.
Ten years ago we moved into this house. Bringing with us, boxes and storage containers packed to the brim with our lives of yesterday. While over the years all the boxes and their treasures have been opened and placed, there always remained one box completely untouched.
The clear, rectangular box, with the blue handles on its lid was the first box I put away. Climbing onto a step ladder, I placed it high up in the furthest corner of my walk in closet. For ten years the box sat there, in the dark collecting dust and cobwebs.
It would be easy to think that in these ten years I had forgotten about the box. But it has been quite the opposite. For ten years that box has held tight onto my fear and vulnerability. Tugging at the strings of my heart each time I walked past the closet door. Each time I stepped into the closet to pick out my clothes or shoes, haunting me from above.
I remember packing that box, all those years ago, in my old bedroom at my parent’s house. Sometimes it only feels like it happened yesterday. One by one, I placed the journals and diaries I had been writing my whole life into this box. Pages and pages of words etched into them. Some journals were more worn than others. Some more tear stained than others. Along with a piggy bank I had when I was little and my high school dress, signed by all the students from my graduating year, the diaries and journals were packed for the next chapter of my life, in our house as husband and wife.
Except when that new chapter started, I never opened the box. If anything I lay in fear of what those diaries and journals held. I created nightmares of what memories and keepsakes they threatened to reveal. Slowly, the monster in the closet grew stronger and more vicious. Sometimes I could hear the taunts coming from the closet door. I would switch off my light, slip deep under my covers and will myself to sleep; all to avoid the monster.
I was growing wearisome. The game we had been playing for ten years was growing tired. One night something changed. With the dim light of my lamp, listening to Missy Higgins, laptop across my bed and writing into the night, I stopped. Somewhere in the darkness a voice ‘this has to stop now.’ With that, almost as if I was in a trance. I walked off my bed, opened the white door into the closet, flicked on the fluorescent light and climbed the ladder to bring the box down again.
Almost trembling, I carried the box to my bed. Laptop pushed aside, Missy Higgins still playing, I opened the gritty lid. Lifting out the journals, notes and letters started to fall out. With each cover I opened and each page I turned a sense of calm started to ease over me. I stopped to read some entries, flicked through others and lingered for a long time over the letters.
As it turns out there was never a monster in my closet. It was always a dear old friend. Begging me to switch on the light and share a coffee. One of the changes I am working on in my life is to make more decisions through my vulnerability. I am trying to not live in fear, but to live through my fear. I have new journals now. I keep them by my bedside and write in them every night. I even have a small tiny one, for my sentence a day.
In its simplicity, opening the box of old journals and diaries was weighing me down and haunting me. Now it has become a box of possibility.
What monster lies in your closet?