I had a really great blog post planned for today, but due to circumstances beyond my control I will be posting it next week instead (I hope). It will make less sense then, but it will it won’t get anyone in trouble.
Today, I’m going to be talking about stuff. Things. The accumulation of tangible objects. What we always say we have too much of. I waffle on things. Sometimes I think that I could live a really minimalist lifestyle. I could get all my books from the library. I could just wear the same week’s worth of outfits all the time. I don’t actually wear half the shoes I own. I don’t have a lot of makeup anyway. What does any one person really need in the world, anyway?
But this weekend I was at home clearing out a bunch of my stuff. I’ve almost entirely moved out of my parents house, but there was still a little left to do. As part of this project, I was trying to get rid of a lot. I don’t have a ton of space in Boston and I have all kinds of that stuff I hadn’t thought of in years, let alone seen or missed. And yet still, the whole project left me feeling a little like an exposed nerve. You can see from the picture just the sheer amount of books alone I got rid of this weekend.
Books, as we’ve discussed previously, are super important to me. Being the girl with all the books has been how I recognize myself since I was in grade school. Buying books, and all the potential unread books represent, is how I always made myself feel better on bad days. There’s a lot of potential sitting on that bed, and a lot of old favorites. A lot of potential for other people, as my mom kept reminding me. But it used to be mine.
It wasn’t just books though. It was class photos, old projects, Legos. It was the bookshelf I painted myself, now meeting its end in a dumpster; a leather jacket I bought abroad that no longer fit; things my parents had bought for themselves and never used. Things I had bought for them that they had never used.
I was taught the value of money in my youth. I didn’t just buy any of these things haphazardly, and neither did my parents. And yet, years later, we had accumulated so many things that we never used, never touched. Things that just took up space, that we surrounded ourselves with, that mattered a lot in each individual moment, but mattered hardly at all this weekend.
The cause of my anxiety about all this will become clearer in the coming weeks. Many of you may be able to put together the clues based on what I’ve told you. Times, they are a’ changin, and the things I’ve surrounded myself with my whole life aren’t going to be around anymore.
The question then becomes… If I’m my stuff, then who am I now? And if I’m not my stuff, then who the hell have I been all these years?