(via Audrey Hepburn Complex)
I moved in with Kathy a long time ago. I'm not sure when, exactly, because it has been gradual. I brought more and more clothes, and we spent less and less time at my apartment in the city (I say "my" because it was mine, before, although really, the lines are blurred there too). Over the summer, I started chirping about how we should just let go of the apartment. We spent our summer weekends in Cherry Grove, not Manhattan. Manhattan is unbearable in the summer -- the whole place smells like garbage and urine. Then, fall came, and we still didn't spend any time at the apartment. I forwarded my mail. I changed my address on work and tax forms. Finally, we decided. No more apartment. It was a financial drain, and an energy drain as well. When we were there, the to-do list we were neglecting nagged. When we weren't, we felt guilty for not "taking advantage" of the fact that we had this apartment in Manhattan sitting empty. So, I wrote to the landlord and asked that they put the apartment on the market, so that we could break the lease.
This was several weeks ago. When it happened, I felt a rush of exhilaration. My STUFF was coming. Now, I know, stuff is just stuff. It has become very trendy to "simplify." In fact, you can spend a lot of money trying to "simplify." But I don't know if this urge to purge ourselves of possessions is necessarily such a good one -- for me anyway. I know there are others out there feeling a bit of this too.
I recently read a book where an alchemist can put human souls into metal birds (okay, a fantasy novel, not just any kind of book). At the end of the book, he is travelling with all these metal birds in his pack, and they speak to him. That is how I feel about my stuff. All of this stuff -- the pre-Kathy stuff -- is my life. My memories, my history. It's what anchors me in this world. It speaks to me. I like that I have had my frying pan since college. I like that the rag rug in the bathroom was purchased in the Camden Market in 2001 for £5. I like remembering the time and energy that went into finding the wrought-iron bed for less than $300. These are the things that make me. I want to see them in my house.
Yesterday I got a call that the apartment had rented. We are packing up all my metal birds this weekend, and moving them next weekend. So maybe it is just stuff. Maybe there is something to be said for not clinging to our material possessions. But these tangible memories have so much value to me. It's important to have them all around me. I think, despite the amount of living that has gone on in the house in the burbs over the last year, this is what it will take for me to actually feel like I have moved in, like it is my house, like I live there. So here's to moving in.