I am currently in the process of doing something I never thought I’d do. At least not in a real way.
I’m actually getting rid of stuff. Removing from my life everything that has no true meaning and can be therefore called stuff. Everything that does not resonate with who I am. Everything that confronts me like an accusatory finger the moment I step through the door.
In the past I’ve always been very good about getting rid of junk. Getting rid of things that have no monetary value and that no one in their right mind would want. Purging is different. It requires a real separation of myself from the memories that my things awaken.
I know the obsession with Marie Kondo and the church of declutterology (yeah, I made that word up) is a real thing right now. I’ve never actually seen her show but the crazed look in the eyes of an acquaintance who I believe to be past hope was enough for me.
This is someone I intentionally avoid because Marie Kondo is all she seems to talk about yet she hasn’t actually thrown anything away. I know I live in a consumerist society that has driven many people to a level of insanity that they’ll never escape.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I am not someone with a need to own things. I value my things and I take care of them. However, the truth is this is harder than it seems. At the same time, I realize I’ve reached a point where I don’t want anything that can be considered extra. I don’t need five when two will do.
I’ve reduced my wardrobe to a manageable size and it’s about to get even smaller. I have a stack of shoes that any fashionista would die for. Everything from Manolo Blahnik to Giuseppe Zanotti and much of it will have to go (eventually…Rome wasn’t built in a day). I’ve taken loads of cookware, dishes and serving platters to Goodwill because the Martha Stewart that lives in my head has never actually made it to the outside world. Of course, I haven’t served time in federal prison so that’s a good thing.
But a question remains.
What record of me will there be? When my time here is done, how will anyone know to wonder about me? What if I leave no old books behind to be discovered, read and loved?
I recall going through boxes of postcards, photographs and letters at a Paris flea market. It was exhilarating to read words written decades ago. The writer and recipient long gone from this earth and yet in my hand I held a record of their connection. The cursive handwritten scrawl telling me more than I’ll ever learn from the endless array of font types of Microsoft Office.
How I loved pouring over those sepia-tinged sheets of nearly transparent paper. Those letters were magical and transported me to another time. I don’t imagine any of the things I am discarding hold that power and if they do, it will be for someone else to discover.
As for me, the purge continues.