Loving Things

LAST YEAR, SOME OF THE LADIES IN MY FAMILY CAME TO my house for an intervention of sorts. My craft room had become the receptacle for all the stuff I hadn’t had the heart to sort through over the years. It was a 12-foot by 12-foot landfill of memories and chaos. I was on the cusp of turning fifty years old and my mother (Jeanie), my sister (Pixel), and my sister-in-law (Asa) came for several sessions of sorting, shoveling, and destruction.

Pixel told me it was an intervention. “But I don’t need an actual intervention,” I argued; “I am ready to clean out that room—so it’s just help, not an intervention.” Still, she guarded me as she and the others poked things in my face just long enough for me to decide which pile to put the things. They forced a quick decision because they feared that otherwise, the job would take forever or get derailed. Pixel moved quickly because, as she said, “You make attachments to things.”

The room was such a mess because it had never not been a mess. I got divorced in 2008 for the second time and I moved to this house. Anything that was too painful to go through, I put in the craft room. This included old photographs (which I still haven’t sorted through); craft materials I used to use when I had my design business; and computers and back-up drives with clients’ Web sites and graphics on them. When I got divorced, I didn’t have the heart to continue the business. Of course this was made easier by the downturn in the rubber stamping and scrapbooking industry at the end of 2007 (boutique craft stores that had been my wholesale customers were going out of business left and right). Afterwards, just sitting at the computer I had used during that marriage was painful.

After seven years I really was ready to go through that old stuff and get the room organized; I just needed a spark to get me started, then the aid of other people’s energy, some vicarious get-up-and-go. In the past five years or so, I have had issues with low psychological energy. I blamed perimenopause (this was a year ago, before I had Asperger’s Syndrome).

It’s been a year since the intervention that saved me from becoming a hoarder and—being a person who analyzes and reanalyzed old thoughts—I’ve thought a lot about whether I make attachments with things or not. Yesterday I found a small plastic box that used to house a pair of mini mag lights. It is the size of a small pencil box and that’s how I used it for the seven years it took me to get my four-year degree. When it turned up out of the blue, my first thought was, “My old friend!” I feel the same about the pair of ear plugs that went into that black case for when I needed to block out noise during classes or during exams. Somehow they got separated from the little black box and I feel a bit of separation anxiety.

So I would have to say Pixel was right.


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