Guys, I have stuff. I have a lot of stuff. In fact, I have an un-natural and abnormal amount of stuff. In my 25 by 12 living room, I had SEVEN bookshelves full of books and dolls. Seven. So, I spent the last ten days or so weeding through my books. I have now seven boxes ready to ship to a friend, and I have thrown a bunch out that were just trashed. I have re-filled 2 sets of shelves, and I have space for one more set AFTER I get the doll shelves out of the way. Which is my next project, the packing up of dolls. My current plan is to just keep one out at a time, so I can actually see and enjoy her. One day when I have a huge house I can unpack them all and spread them out again, I guess, unless I can talk myself in to just letting them go. And that’s what this post is really about, I suppose, letting stuff go.
Back in May, I had a chance to visit with Aunt Lady for a few hours after she locked herself out of the house. The conversation ranged from banana hammocks to the wearing or not wearing of panties (love my Aunt Lady–did I mention That One was also there?) to the more serious things of life: past and present and future. She asked me then, “What do you remember?” and I looked at her and said “Trauma. I only remember trauma.” That’s a darn sad state of affairs, isn’t it? And sadder still is that I don’t much talk about that which I do remember because I don’t want to upset anyone. And yet, I think the key to unlocking my memory may be in talking through those things I do remember. Maybe not, but maybe so, and anyway, stories need airing now and again, don’t they? Now, I don’t plan to unload my entire (small) memory bank in one post, but I do plan to explore some things in the blog that I haven’t touched before, and tonight we will start with the story that I think contributes to my need to have STUFF. Because, frankly, my STUFF is strangling me and sucking the life out of this house. Only a handful of people know this story: it’s been fairly well guarded, like most of my secrets. And maybe in the telling, I can quit hauling the weight around, like an extra set of Rimowa luggage. Even on wheels, that mess gets heavy.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was nine years old. She lived in a little 2 bedroom house with her mama. It was nice and cozy, but in a series of bad neighborhoods and the girl was lonely because she had no one to play with. But then, her mama started dating this tall handsome fella, and he had a little girl, too, and that was cool. They’d go on dates and take the girls along. They’d go to Merritt’s BBQ where they still had carhops (and still do, for the record). And the drive-in movies, where they saw Walking Tall. And then, that couple decided to get married. And that was pretty special, too, because the mama was very happy, and behold, instant sister! Only they were still in that little two bedroom house and space had to be made to accommodate two more people.
Soooo, after a little discussion, it was decided that the little girl would have to part with about half of her stuff in order to make place for her new sister and her new sister’s stuff. (Notice, it’s all about the stuff, right?) Now the little girl did not have an over abundant amount of stuff. There wasn’t money to buy a whole lot, you see. It was tough just to keep food on the table and clothes and such. In fact, I remember my grandparents buying shoes for me, and my grandmother making my clothes. By the way, I loved dressing up like my mother, because Grandmother always made us matching clothes. Yes, I realize that I just switched to the first person. Deal with it. So anyway, I had to go through my stuff. And at the time I really didn’t mind.
I had two teddy bears, Paul and Paula. One had been a gift from my grandparents when I was a year old. He had a white face and chest and plaid arms and legs. He now resides in a chest in my living room, along with Ms. Beasley. The other bear, it was pink and blue, and newer. I’d received him as a gift from the other side of my family. I’m thinking from my uncle, based on the names I gave the bears. At the time, I wasn’t seeing anyone from that side of my family, and so the natural choice, when presented with two bears and allowed to keep one, was to keep the bear that I had loved longest, given to me by people whom I knew loved me. And again, I say, I was ok with it at the time.
Back in the day, there was no trash service, and so our garbage was burned. After I had made my choices, my excess stuff was put out on the trash pile. And once more, I say that I was okay with it at the time, but I got to watch that stuff, MY STUFF, being burned. And maybe I wasn’t quite okay with that part, because I can still see the flames licking up my blue and pink teddy bear. That bear is the only thing I remember from the stuff I got rid of, by the way.
So, here we are, all this time later, and I have STUFF. And I am very protective of my stuff and I am basically pretty selfish with it. I say, “No, that’s mine” about as often as your average three year old. And I just wonder, how much of that goes directly back to that day of the big burning? It’s time to let it go. Both the physical stuff, and the mental pain that goes with the memory I’ve just shared. And now that I have talked about it out loud in public, maybe I can do that.
And there ya go, the blog becomes a therapist.