real life

EM: 'It's a strange place I inhabit. Slightly lonely but far less anxious.'




Hello friends.

I have a question, it’s simple enough and one I’m sure most of you have had to find an answer to at some point in your adult lives.

What am I to do with the emotional and physical mementos of my recently failed relationship?

We’re talking 13 years worth. I have hundreds of overflowing, stuffed suitcases full of the gear. I’m pretty sure the salvos don’t want them and I can’t bring myself to throw them away…

So I carry it all around with me (okay, not the wedding album and the dress) trying desperately not to open the wounds, as I balance them precariously on my head.

I can’t even bring myself to make eye contact with them. I have put the physical items in my junk room; piled high are all the photos, cards and presents that my husband and I exchanged.

Sorry, Ex-Husband.

That sounds so strange and grown up.

EX-HUSBAND. I have an Ex-Husband. I will have to ask my EX-Husband. Yes, that is my EX-Husband.

Sorry, just practicing.

The emotional mementos are the hardest to hide.

When I see families frolicking together in parks I stare wistfully at them, remembering when my family once did that. Truth be told we were never really much for frolicking in parks but we did partake in the odd activity that involved being outside together.

Oh my, now I am down the rabbit hole, recalling glorious times of togetherness. Those memories are bittersweet, they sting and unpacking them is uncomfortable. It’s like picking at a scab you know will be a bleeder but you hack at it anyway, hoping it will speed up the healing process.


It doesn’t, it just leaves a nasty scar.

My question is this. Because it’s over now, does that cancel out when it happened? Does it cheapen the whole experience? Should I begin paying my parents back the astronomical amount they spent on my wedding because I broke it?

Because it’s over now, does it cancel out when it happened?

I’m not sure how to reconcile everything. The truth is that I am completely at ease with my separation; both my ex and I are far happier apart. In fact we are getting along better now than we ever did when we were together.

It’s a strange place I inhabit.

Slightly lonely but far less anxious.

I have taken steps, albeit baby ones. Over the weekend I purchased a kickarse new mattress, I felt like the old one was full of too many memories. I’m not going to write “vibes” but that is what I am thinking.

So I ditched it, not on the footpath or anything (honestly who does that? WHO?! I see rogue mattresses all the time, I would support DNA testing to find those mattress dumpers.) My new one involves words like “coils” and “chiropractic” and “zones”.

I also cleaned out all of his clothes from my room. I was snot crying to Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” to begin with but I managed to shake off that terrible cliche and popped on a bit of Tevin Campbell. (Only the 90’s kids will get that, if you don’t, look him up and you’re welcome):

So back to my original question, where did you put them? The emotional and physical mementos. Did you have an exorcism? Did you roll around inside of them attempting to extinguish the flames of disappointment? Did you just lean into them? Tell me everything, I’m listening.


Em Rusciano is the host of Mamamia Today on Austereo (which you should be tuning into at 3pm every weekday on the Today Network) and regularly appears on Network Ten’s ’The Project’. You can follow her on Twitter here and take a look at her website here. You can listen to podcasts of Mamamia today here.