Sadie just left for her new life on a country farm. We’ve had ample time to prepare for her departure, and because she’s visited the farm several times already, we know she’s happy there. All of this preparation makes her absence much less sad than it could have been. Letting something I’ve loved for a long time go to a better home is OK. Besides, in my mind, Sadie will live happily ever after. I will never have to suffer those days of watching her in pain or the agony of deciding to put her down.
While I’m able to let go on this point, I still hold on to ridiculous pieces of someone’s past, not sure where to file them. These two photographs were tucked inside of a rare book by Marie Cardinal that I picked up at a flea market in Lausanne, Switzerland. I have held on to them for the past ten years, not knowing who the woman is, but imagining she looks something like Cardinal. I’ve studied the pictures over the years and tucked them back in the book again, forgetting they exist. It’s almost as though I’m the guardian of someone else’s memory, a memory now vacant of meaning and waiting for my story to transpose itself there. Will my new photo replace the paper copies making the meaning now mine? Am I the new home for this adopted memory, a better place for the image to live on? Or is it now up to me to decide if the photos should be discarded, laid to rest, put down and out of their misery?
Posted in beauty in hoarding, from my hoard to yours, hoarding identity
Tagged adopted memory, agony, book, discard, dog, farm, home, image, laid to rest, Marie Cardinal, memory, past, photo, Sadie, suffer
This morning while still in a fog, I read the following from a colleague:
“NO NO NO NO NO… Don’t fall in the temptation to trash everything. It’s the little tired A. inside who wants to do that, not the brave one, ready to finish the task and conquer yet another continent. We just don’t do that in this family. When the temptation is too strong we get out with friends and get some fresh air, sleep well, then look at it with different eyes.”
I was taken aback. Did I tell him I wanted to throw everything out? How can that be easy?
Then I slowly recollected my email to him expressing my desire to trash the draft of my book and to start over again. That this is easy still strikes me as blasphemy, but perhaps he has a point.
I’ve been reading the OCDReflections blog which recently features posts on sacrifice and hard work. The author explains that she has to put herself through the rituals, to do things the hard way, to demonstrate her willingness and ability to sacrifice. That’s something that resonates all while I think, “that’s just plain crazy,” because I’m too lazy to suffer that much. Still, confronting these items one by one and posting them on craigslist has been far more work than I expected. It’s also a distraction from the “real” work I should be doing.
It’s said that a hoarder must confront the items or the cycle will only begin again. Is trashing the stuff the easy way out?