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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NMSU chapter.

I don’t know about you but I’m a hoarder when it comes to collecting stuff that reminds me of my past romantic flings. My closet is the comfy home of a stash of letters and items that once had sentimental value from relationships I once was in, I call it my ex-box. The funny thing is it’s not even a box it’s an old plastic bag from a sports store I went to years ago when I tried to find a Christmas gift for one of my past flings. I’ve been meaning to find a box for it to be actually called an “ex-box” but I can be very picky when it comes to actually buying one. I guess you can say I’m still trying to find the perfect box to hold all of its precious contents.  


Usually, after a relationship ends I grab all the things that remind me of that person and I neatly place them on yellow envelopes and put them away in my old plastic bag. In a way, I believe this helps me cleanse from the relationship and grieve their loss as I collect everything that reminds me of them and then I put it away somewhere where it will be hard to see or even reach. Like they say, out of sight out of mind. I typically won’t revisit the items until I feel emotionally ready to go through them.


The ex-box started after my very first heartbreak. I had collected so many items from those two years that it became very overwhelming to see them out in the open of my room, yet I didn’t have the heart to throw them away. I had a huge stack of letters that the guy had sent me while he was in basic training, poems he had written, little prom knickknacks, gifted jewelry, and even a promise ring. I’m not going to lie I did try selling the jewelry as a way to get something back from the relationship but eventually, nothing was sold. 


All of these items sat in the corner of my room inside a basket constantly reminding me of their existence. Having the letters out in the open often made me sit down and reread every single letter and go through all of the cute little jewelry as I bawled my eyes out. This only made me miss him more instead of actually healing and moving on. One day I got tired of having it weigh me down, so I grabbed the bag and tossed everything inside. I placed it at the very back of my dad’s closet knowing it would be out of my sight and out of my reach. My dad had once suggested the idea of keeping all the items away as an attempt to help me deal with my heartbreak and I knew he would respect my privacy. Time passed and even though I knew it was in there I began to think about it less and less each time. 


Eventually, I no longer remembered what the poems had said, and I didn’t have the temptation of wearing the jewelry one last time. As more relationships came and went, my methods regarding the ex-box matured and I began to earn some respect and love for it. The bag eventually relocated into my own closet once I learned that they were only past memories and they no longer held any special value that would change my current situation. The ex-box even started collecting items from old friends or people who I no longer talked to but still meant a lot in my life. 


My most recent collection is from my past relationship that ended a couple of months ago. Inside this yellow envelope, I have movie tickets, our favorite candy wrappers, a McDonald’s receipt I once stole from his car when we had just begun dating thinking that would help me learn more about him (yikes), and drafts of letters I wrote to him. In a way, this one still hurts to open so the bag is hiding deep inside my closet waiting until I am emotionally ready to look back and be thankful for the memories. 


Now, it’s totally okay if you’re the kind of person who prefers to toss everything in the trash right away but if you’re like me and it’s a little harder for you to throw away things that once had sentimental value I strongly recommend to make your own ex-box. From my personal experience, it has helped me move on faster by making sure I don’t have things that constantly remind me of them laying around right in the open. Also, once you are healed and moved on you can always revisit the box and see your personal growth as you will see you no longer feel as strongly as you used to for those items and it no longer hurts as much as it did. This bag contains pieces of my life that once meant a whole lot to me. I hope to someday find a box that can replace that old bag as it begins to grow more in size, and it begins to hold more memories. As time passes I hoard more and more things but to me, that is just a confirmation that I am still growing as a person and better things are yet to come. 

Ayleen Escalante is a New Mexico State University Student studying journalism and mass communications with an emphasis on strategic communications.