Where—where—did I get all this stuff? How, on the green earth that is God’s, did I manage to accumulate what must be at least three people’s allotment of random crap?
I’m sitting here in my mom’s basement in Michigan, staring out over a sea of boxes, Rubbermaid totes and piles of … really, who am I kidding? Trash. In all seriousness, I could make a small mountain in the front yard and light it on fire—I’d never notice a single damn thing missing. Some of these items haven’t been unearthed since my first or second year of college, or earlier. And while it makes me laugh and cry to sift through the really memorable stuff (photos, journals, old notes and letters) the rest is just insane.
I have half-empty bottles of mouthwash and shampoo. Stolen Putt-Putt balls and signs. Spools of thread, doorknobs without keys, my honors cords from graduation. I have at least a dozen bibles, my Girl Scout mess kit, decorations from my freshman dorm room, brand-new granny panties.
I’m at this difficult crossroad. I’m taking a step down the road that is “the rest of my life,” but there are things here I don’t want to take right now. Maybe not ever. So, what do I do? I don’t have time in the next two days to organize a garage sale or sell things on Craigslist. I don’t even have space enough to sort through the remaining boxes full of randomness that I know haven’t been touched since 2002.
Almost everything that’s packed to go back south with me is practical. I don’t know how (or why) I have at least five Rubbermaid totes of kitchen-, cook- and tableware, but I do. And that, to me, seems necessary. There are a few knickknacks in the mix, but I’m keeping it to a minimum. The piles just keep growing though.
I was raised a packrat, but my internal desire is to be a minimalist. As I looked through all my life’s memorabilia tonight (still packed in the same crate from my high school graduation party) I smiled at the photos of familiar faces, reading my dark poetry, looking through old newspaper clippings. But I don’t want that stuff anymore. I do, but I don’t. I want it to exist, and to have an excuse to look through it every now and again, but I don’t want it stacked in my closet or wedged under my bed. I want my living space to be almost empty. I hate the look and feel of living in a cluttered space. And, honestly, I’m ready to let go of this stuff if someone forces me to do so. If my mom says, “Get this JUNK out of my basement now!” then I’ll be forced to light the match. But, until then, I cling. My memories aren’t really even happy ones. But it’s nice having any memories at all, recalling what life was like in the late ’80s, ’90s and early new millennium. That was my youth, as dull a period as it might’ve been.
I have a feeling that my next trip home will involve some burning. So, if come December, anyone wants to hang out in Chelsea for a night and burn my history in the front yard, you’re welcome to join me. I’m not going to have sufficient time this visit, but I look forward to that release sometime this year.
Back to another hour or so of this craziness, then I’m crashing for the night.