adulthood · healing · holidays · home · letting go · self-care

Hearth and Home

Winter cleaning has begun. The clean laundry that was
occupying the “other person’s” part of the bed is now put away. And the
cleaning will continue. I’ve decided and recognized that this “free” time off
work will be an excellent time to dig out those boxes from NJ and begin to
empty them.
First, sure, there’s all the surface cleaning I need to do,
and I have a girl coming over at 1 for coffee and chat, so the surface will
need to look decent before then. But after that? Today feels like a good day to
begin, gently, with the NJ boxes.
When I began CITO, it
asked us to make space, literally, for a partner to come into our lives, and so
I emptied a drawer in my closet and a shelf in my bathroom, and I bought
silvery grey sheets, which felt gender neutral, but also pretty sexy.
My place began to feel lighter, like I was creating space,
and allowing for “Nature abhors a vacuum” to occur. Then, I sent back 6 or so
boxes from NJ. They have pictures, and old school notebooks, and old poetry,
and old journals. A girl friend of mine called me up earlier this month to say
that she was taking a page from my book when she goes home for Christmas and
wanted to know what I did with my old journals.
I said, nothing. That’s not entirely accurate. I packed them
up in NJ and shipped them here to SF, uh, Oakland, I mean. I knew that there
was enough emotional upheaval to not want to or be able to process what to do
with them when I was in NJ, and so I just packed them up and shipped them here,
and they’ve been in my closet since October.
Which is fine. And I don’t yet know what I’ll do with them.
There’s the part that wants to honor what they hold, there’s the part that
knows that the childish records of who was in a fight with who and who was
wearing what in 9th grade are not things I feel tempted to keep, but
they are funny too, now, and so, what to do with them?
There is a lot of sadness in them too. When I was home, I
was doing some sifting and sorting and discarding, and there’s poetry from
grade 2 and 3 that is already about loneliness and isolation. So, I think there’ll be
some spiritual work or process or ritual I want to do around them. Maybe my
friend and I can do something around them together.
When I got into grad school last year, another friend of mine encouraged me
to do a ritual of thanks for the gift of this opportunity. We wrote down old ideas that no longer
served us, and burned them. Then we wrote down one idea that would carry us
forward. I still have it, in my closet. It says, “We can.” Sure, a little
reminiscent of the whole Obama campaign, but it still speaks to
the same sentiment I’m continuing to address: I don’t have to do
things on my own. I don’t have to deplete my own limited resources; there is a
world of abundance around me of people, resources, help, and love, if I avail
myself of them.
So, I’m not sure what I’ll yet do with the old journals. I
know there’s a reading series in Oakland where people submit from their jr high
era journals, and then if chosen, get to read them – pretty hilarious stuff, I
hear. One that comes to mind reported to me – I haven’t been yet – is a girl
who wrote, “Maybe if I got a pig they’d like me.” 😉 She apparently grew up in
an agricultural setting…!
It also feels like an appropriate “end of year” activity, to
clean the closets, to put my apartment back into “other person” readiness.
Nature isn’t the only thing that fills in a vacuum, and I’ve begun to encroach
on the newly emptied space I cleared, filling it back up with my crap.
There’s plenty of other stuff in the boxes to go through and
set aside, organize, or discard, and it takes me a long time to decide whether
some things are worth keeping, as you sift through old high school photos,
which do you need? What is “for posterity” in my drawings, poems, items? What
is now simply junk?
But, I will recall the belief I want to carry with me – I don’t
have to do this alone – and I can call on some guidance, clarity, and a heavy
dose of lightness(!) while I sift through the remnants of my childhood.

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