for D and N
I've been feeling this burst of spring cleaning after weeks of being in knots (Mercury is coming out of retrograde!!), and have spent the past few days tying up loose ends and purging, purging, purging. I am suddenly finding much greater ease to toss away things that I felt were important to keep around but have now created a feeling of baggage in my life. I'm a terrible pack rat, someone who falls in love with a pretty bottle or an idea written on a napkin, and these objects accumulate in my life until I suffocate. I'm getting better about it, and while outsiders might look at my living space and think that at some point I'll wind up on "Hoarders: Buried Alive," I am beginning to see change and progress, slowly but surely. Crossing things off the old To Do list.
One of my biggest accomplishments- and those who know me will understand the brevity of this step forward- has been weeding out my book case and bagging up stacks of books to donate.
I have a lot of books.
And I keep buying them. Which means maximum input, zero output in terms of volume. This cannot continue. I have to get over my emotional attachments to literature.
(A sidenote of crowning achievement: I am finally allowing myself to give away Dave Egger's "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius." I've carried that piece of crap around for years now, made multiple attempts at reading it, and never gotten through it. I am finally in acceptance of the fact that I do not like what I read so far, and that I am not going to force myself to read it just because contemporary critics hailed it as the best thing since Surrano's (*Thanks, Snap, for correcting me*) Piss Christ. Pulitzer nomination be damned, I DON'T LIKE IT, AND I DON'T WANT TO READ IT. SO THERE.)
In my madcap efforts to sweep a pile of books into a bag to be sent away, I accidentally knocked over a little figurine of a designer shoe my mom gave me several birthdays ago. (Sorry, Mom.) The crystals remained on the heel, the pointed toe survived, but the sling-back snapped off. Frustrated, I blobbed some glue on it and set it properly, then went back to my manic cleaning.
It fell off again.
I held the piece in place, blowing on the glue, willing it to dry. I gingerly let go, and it stayed in place. Perfect. I set the shoe down, and anxiously turned to continue my chores.
The back fell again.
Repeat process until it dawns on my genius self that I'm going to have to sit and hold the piece in place until the glue dries.
I was endlessly frustrated, feeling pulled away from my momentum of productivity to have to sit and hold little pieces of a broken figurine together. Every time I thought the glue might have dried a bit (and it was not any quick-drying glue, I'll say that), I would let go and the piece would fall again. Apply more glue, start over.
Being artsy and weird, a metaphor began to form.
Eventually, the only way I could fix the shoe was to sit, patiently and quietly, holding the piece in place. Movement weakened the glue. So I just had to sit, amongst the piles of books and trash to be thrown out, and take a moment out of my frenzy of work. I sat, and I held on quietly, and I waited for the glue to dry. Eventually, one of the cats came and curled up next to me, grateful for this strange stillness in the middle of the day.
I wish I could say that I fixed the shoe.
But only after long amounts of quiet sitting did I realize that the glue I was using wasn't strong enough to hold the pieces of the figurine together. I'm going to have to go buy some Krazy Glue, or something stronger, to fix it. It took awhile for me to figure this out. I thought I could quick-fix the situation, and I couldn't. I don't even have the proper materials to fix the situation; I will have to procure them.
The metaphor keeps growing.
When something is broken in your life, you can't be in a hurry to fix it. It takes time, it takes trial-and-error, and it sometimes takes a little stillness and quiet. And if you sit still long enough, and you're lucky, somebody might even come join you.