I’ve been away from the computer for the better part of Tuesday and Wednesday because I was downtown and spending most of the time at the old apartment packing up as much as I could.
Lesson 1: In dealing with stress and my own personal stuff, don’t forget the valium. (I almost went into a full panic attack breakdown yesterday)
Lesson 2: It may not seem to me like it’s a lot of stuff, at least in my mind, but to others, it is. The hoarding mindset is, in my opinion, a mix of genetics and learned behavior. My mother was this way and my brother and I are both like this to some degree. My dad kept mom in check (throwing things out behind her back) but neither my brother nor I do. I’m working on it slowly myself…. I’m aware of it and try to let things go. I know it isn’t wholly learned behavior because my other sibling is adopted and has the exact opposite attitude about holding onto belongings. Her attitude, even about my father’s cameras and photography, is that “it’s just stuff.” Family heirlooms mean nothing to her. Some may agree with her, but most people I know don’t. My mother’s pottery and my father’s slides and negatives are their legacy. They weren’t famous, but they were both damn good at the things they did. Yes, us “kids” are as well, but none of us have children…. to pass along their accomplishments so others may know of them is the least I can do.
Much like when my dad died, having to abandon some of my stuff (including a stool I made) feels difficult. One day I have these things, the next I don’t. When dad died two years ago, I had JUST talked to him the day before about different things and trying to go down to visit one last time for Christmas. The next evening, he passed away. Gone.
It’s difficult to let go. No matter what it is. Or who it is. Even if it’s a person you don’t really get along with. An abuser or ‘toxic’ person can even be difficult to remove from your life. There are many reasons why. I don’t know them all, but I know some of my own.
Yesterday, while starting to pull some of the things in the lower kitchen cabinets out to fill smaller nooks and crannies of a box, I found a small ceramic dish I’d painted some years back at one of those “paint your own pottery” places. I have two of them, one for Jack and one for JoJo. Jack’s is in his Memory Box along with his collar and tags. Yesterday, I found JoJo’s. Almost six weeks to the day of having to put her to sleep. I stopped cold. The other stuff was minor, normal store-bought stuff… but this was something I painted for her… a wet food dish with her name on it. It, of course, did not go into the box. I put it in the 2nd duffel bag that came back here with me last night.
Memories, keepsakes, things to remember others by. Those are important to me.
I’m working on the Letting Go part for other things.
* – There is some question with using the term toxic in describing someone. They may not necessarily be ‘toxic’ to some people, but to others they are.