by Claire Adams Williams
In May of 2005, Claire, a travel writer, was sleeping in a hotel room in Beijing. She was wearing the t-shirt of a recently departed ex—a white and red Minnesota Math Masters t-shirt. It was soft, and was somewhat special to Him, and Claire liked sleeping in it.
Or so she thought.
In the middle of the night, Claire woke up sweating, and was confused as to why. Although Beijing is hot in May, it's not hot when the air conditioner in your room is set at 61 degrees. After ruling out early menopause as being the culprit, Claire began thinking more deeply about the ex and suddenly realized what was making her hot: it was His t-shirt. But it wasn't its thin cotton fabric that was stifling her. Indeed, it was the concept of wearing something of her ex-boyfriend's.
Claire got out of bed, removed the t-shirt and threw it on the floor. After putting on a cooler tank top—one with no negative associations attached to it whatsoever—Claire went back to bed and quickly fell asleep. The next morning, when she awoke well-rested, she evaluated what had happened the night before and quicly realized what she needed to do: she needed to get rid of the t-shirt. With that, Claire grabbed it from where it was still lying on the floor, walked outside, and gave it to a man with a messed-up leg who was begging outside a museum. It was then and there that the "HateToHelp Global Karma Project" began.
Since this one fateful day in May, Claire has given away every last thing that this particular boyfriend has ever given her to random needy and non-needy people around the world...
- She has packed bags of His old toiletry products and scouted the streets of Buenos Aires, searching for an appropriately unclean-looking beggar to pass them along to.
- She has healthily burned the loving inscriptions He wrote inside old books and left the rest of the usable reading material along the South African coast.
- She has thrown His old rings into the Indian Sea.
- She has graciously put His old stereo equipment in the "free" box of a garage sale in Mexico.
"Get rid of it to get over it," is what Claire believed.
Over time, as Claire's friends began finding out about her campaign, they began to talk... "She must be kind of crazy," they'd say behind her back. However, when they realized what was happening, that giving away an old ex's crap certainly wasn't hurting anyone, they began to laugh. "Heck," they started saying, "if doing this can make people feel better about exes and at the same time give needy people usable stuff, then it's not that bad of an idea."
Just as more people started finding out about Claire's HateToHelp Global Karma Project, Claire ran out of stuff from Him and began expanding. She went further back in time to other ex-boyfriends who had dumped her, and she got rid of their sh*t, too. She then started thinking of guys even she had dumped, and also got rid of their stuff. As this feng-shui-ing continued, Claire started giving away stuff that wasn't even from ex-boyfriends...
- She got rid of everything she didn't need.
- She got rid of other people's stuff they didn't need.
- She got rid of cupcakes she had made on a particularly boring day of writing.
In short, Claire took her own and other people's old negative-energy-ridden crap, crap from ex-boyfriends and ex-bosses, and found interesting people to give it to, people who could use it. By doing this, Claire turned pain and tears into blog-worthy anecdotes, and, at the same time, produced slightly better-dressed homeless people around the world.
Claire and her friend Lara are now traveling the world for a year in efforts to give the crap of bad exes (and yes, even some good exes) to people everywhere who need it more. They like to think of themselves as "karmic cleaners"... or at least two girls who are really just bored out of their minds as they travel the globe. Give Claire and Lara your stuff. Or just write them and say hi. They can help you get over that ex.
You can read more about the HateToHelp Global Karma Project at www.HateToHelp.blogspot.com.
You can visit them and learn about their travels at www.trippingonwords.blogspot.com.
You can also email them at HateToHelp@gmail.com. They'll be sure to respond—they really don't have anything better to do.
FROM KARYN: I stumbled upon Claire and Lara's website a few months ago and got sucked into it. If you've ever traveled the world or have gone to a foreign land with a friend, you'll be sure to love it as reading about their journies will bring back loads of memories.
The reason I chose Claire's story this week is because we all hang on to stuff from exes. Sometimes doing so is healthy and sometimes it's not. When you're done reading this, I challenge you to get rid of something that you've been holding on to, something that you know is an unhealthy attachment to an ex. Since I'm traveling right now and can't get rid of anything tangible, I'm going to delete a certain ex from my MySpace page, as well as take him off my IM list. It's hard to move on when you keep reminders around.
Tell me about what you've done in the comments section. Let's all move on together!