When you’re gone…I wear your t-shirt

I find that I like to keep things of those I love. I knew that I did this, but I actually stumbled upon it while doing other research online. It’s linked to object and emotional constancy in borderlines.

Because of the inability for borderlines to hold onto loving feelings from a partner, for example, they may often keep things from that person in order to “remember” them when they are not physically present.

Long story, but I used to keep every chocolate milk bottle from times I’d see my boyfriend. I had them all lined up on my bathroom sink. He bought it. I knew he touched it because, well, he bought it. I drank it, but it was the only thing I had that was somehow related to him. It was like his love for me was in those bottles and if I threw them away, I’d throw away the love and I’d have nothing else. I also once kept a partially drank bottle of water of his that he left. We went through a rough time once and he was gone for a few days. I was so heartbroken, and that bottle went with me everywhere. It was like the remaining existing drops of love-water, and I was in the middle of a 110 degree dry desert of heartbreak.

I’ve since thrown away the chocolate milk bottles, though I may still have the lids. I remember when I finally threw the bottles away. It was really hard. I only did it because I had so many. I threw some away and kept some. Then I threw the rest of the bottles away but kept all of the lids. I think I may still have the lids. I’ve since accumulated other things, but things he’d actually given me as gifts and such…plus a couple of extras that I just can’t get rid of because they had something to do with him.

I’m not sure if everyone does this on some level or not, but I can almost guarantee that these objects I collect have much more value than a simple sentimental meaning. Like his existence is connected to them and heaven forbid I lose them, I’d feel like a piece of him went with them and somehow in my mind, a bit of his love for me would be gone. The more I can accumulate, the more I can “keep him alive” when he isn’t here.

I feel silly having shared this, but this is me.




2 thoughts on “When you’re gone…I wear your t-shirt

  1. No need or reason to feel silly.
    Long story very short:
    because of my fairly nomadic lifestyle after my father died, my sister kept all the family memorabilia. Objects, personal effects, jewelry… pictures.
    Our son is thirty-four, our daughter thirty-seven and they have NEVER seen a picture of my parents or my uncle Ben.
    My sister never parted with a single item, even a few “extra” pictures or the two specific things I requested.
    I did manage to smuggle a bible out of Jersey when I bailed. It was a bible in both Hebrew and English with a metallic cover with scrolling and a stone set in the middle of it.
    When I was having a really horrendous night a while back, up all night crying, I sat in my recliner all night under my Red Sox bankie clutching that bible as if it was sanity itself.
    It’s the only thing I have either of my parents or Ben had ever held, and even if it was just some variation of a neat DBT trick, I felt like my mother was embracing me back through that bible, after forty-six years.
    And the bankie?
    That was the one under which I used to cuddle with our grandson on Saturday mornings, when we would watch cartoons… ONLY if the Red Sox game wasn’t on.
    He’s too big for both of us to fit under it now, but when I’m reduced to a pile of ashes, I want him to have it. And my hat. This Tilley hat with an absolutely enormous brim so maybe, when he’s taking hikes with his grandson, he can feel me walking with them.

    I have never been diagnosed with BPD, and I refuse to be thought of as “silly”.

    This was one of the most touching of your posts I’ve read.


  2. Not silly at all. I’ve seen it with bee. Many, many things she kept could only have the reason of “remembering.”
    She never talked about it, but it was things that just didn’t make sense, especially the place she kept them.

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