Today I went through cleaning my house. Throwing out, donating, sorting, scrubbing, dusting and putting away the mess that has become our home. The accumulation of our life. Kids toys, clothes, books, papers, artwork, work badges, files, CD's, movies and God knows what else. And lots and lots of dust. I really need to dust more. Going through all of this crap, deciding what to keep and what to throw out and where to put it all, I started thinking about my childhood, growing up with my father. My Dad is the pack rat to end all packrats. He doesnt necessarily hoard, although I dont know the technical definition of a hoarder. He just saves. EVERYTHING. He still has report cards from when my sisters and brother and I were in Elementary School. He has papers we scribbled on, short stories we wrote, pictures of people he doesnt remember, broken things, dirty crappy things that he will never use, stuff he hasnt used in 20 years, clothes he doesnt/cant wear. He has TWO APARTMENTS full of shit. And most of it is exactly that: shit. He does have an extensive movie collection, and alot of good artwork, but still. He has so much stuff.
I have always been terrified of being like him. Whenever I move out of a place, I throw away so much stuff. I leave alot behind. Every time I clean, I throw something out. I wonder what sentimentallity is really worth. Do we hold onto these things because we love them? Even though we never look at them? Or do we hold on out of fear? Fear that we will never have good moments again. Never have a happy memory. Something that sweet and tender and wonderful will never come our way again, so we have to hold onto to every little scrap of evidence of every good day in our lives.
Do I throw things away because I dont want to remember? Or because the clutter drives me crazy?
What memories do I want to hold onto, and what memories am I running away from?
Is sentimentality just the working off on ourselves of feelings we haven't really got anymore?
Pictures, notes, letters, T-Shirts from old boyfriends, pictures my children drew. These are things I can never bring myself to throw out.
"How happy is the blameless vessel's lot.
The world forgetting by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.
Each prayer accepted, each wish resigned." -Alexander Pope