Saturday, August 27, 2011

the packrat's daughter.


"An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit."
-Pliney the Elder


My parents are very sentimental people. They love the memories that they have created. They love the things that they have collected over the years. And they love the hope and solace that comes that each of these things is theres and has been collected over time for a reason.

I love my parents, but I have to admit that they are kind of packrats.

I, on the other hand, laugh at sentimentality. I live in a small space, with little room for possessions. I have an aversion to over stuffed closets and drawers. I don't like when my drawers are too full. I throw everything out when I lose use for it. It's just kind of the way I am.

In the preparation for hurricane Irene (which I confess, I am watching even as I write this), I had to think about what was important of what I owned. What would I save if there was a need? I am not usually the kind of person who suspects and anticipates catastrophe just for fun, but with all the talk on the news, and with all the worry surrounding my area, I couldn't help but think about it, even just a little bit.

And I glanced over some of my favorite possessions with an air of confusion. Of course, my teddy bear, Ducky, was non-negotiable, but everything else seemed of little merit. I mean, my computer seemed important, as did a number of other small electronics, so those seemed like a good bet. But the rest of the memories that I have scattered around my room seemed, well, replaceable. I'm not saying that these things aren't actually important to me in one way or another, and that I wouldn't want them. But in the face of crisis, none of them seemed like risking life for.

On one hand, I'm proud that I've been able to separate emotion from objects... it's not that I don't have memories, it's just that I haven't attached them to the things that came from those times. Everything lives on in my mind instead of in that which came from it.

But the mind is a fickle and strange thing, and sometimes it blocks out certain memories and thoughts that don't fit into the pretty pictures that we paint of ourselves. Sometimes a sound, a scent, even the right words, can bring us back to something that we've gotten rid of,  for all intense and purposes.

And at the risk of confession here, even I have to admit that there are sometimes that I would give anything to have back those tangible things, just to hold something once more, just to recreate the memories that I have let go of, just to have one more smell of what used to be.

Maybe being a pack rat isn't the worst thing in the world. Maybe it's a sign that you've learned to accept and remember that which was important. Maybe memories don't stay sad forever, even if they were painful. I can't help but wondering how much I've tossed aside that one day I might want back.

Because while there is a lot of room in my life for new memories now, there are a lot of gaping holes that may never fill.

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