Moving again proved to be cathartic. You never realize how much you have until you’re forced to pack and unpack it. And seldom do you realize how much of it you don’t need, don’t want, when it’s tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the place you call home.
So much of what I’ve kept over the years has stayed with me because of emotional attachment. Never a very transient person, this pack rat persona I’ve picked up never bothered me much…Until I started moving from place to place. Four times in the past two years I’ve boxed my belongings and headed to a new home. Always only a bed- and bathroom worth of stuff, it’s taken countless boxes and a multitude of packed cars to cart me from one place to the next. The last three times, I shoved things in boxes with little or no regard to whether or not these things would be needed. I’d put my things away in each new house, each one bigger than the last, and forget, for the most part, the bulk of what I had.
But this time it was different: This time required downsizing. And this time felt like a fresh chapter in my life: I’d shed Tom, claimed my single status, worked on the me that emerged, and met a wonderful man. And so unpacking my overstuffed life into limited space required some sorting out.
So I did.
I sat on my new bedroom’s floor and weeded my belongings. Wedding invitations, favors, receipts, concert and movie tickets: Gone. Old candles, already burnt and mutated into shapeless gobs of hardened wax, pantyhose with long runs in the thigh, bras lacking shape, underpants that had seen better days about five years ago – All saved just in case of an emergency: Gone.
Gone too were clothes that I never wore, saved merely because so-and-so bought then for me. Ill-fitting and logo-ridden t-shirts purchased on one vacation or another, distinct memories threaded through the cotton, burned right into the silk screening of each one. I shucked them all, discarded the pieces like husks, shells; unnecessary. I tossed item after item into a goodwill or garbage bag, memory successfully severed. The memories I want will remain. There’s no need for reminders of the good times; their cadences are etched into my brain. I can recall the sense of accomplishment I felt at Dominique’s wedding without looking at the bent invitation to it. And the worst reminders can take the jaundiced memories with them. I can’t simply choose to forget the worst times, but time bombs ticking away in my closet, my dresser? I can choose to dismantle them. I don’t need to chance their spontaneous explosion.
It’s time to move on.
And move I did.