Last Saturday was the first day that I felt fully well, I had my energy back and, frankly, I kicked some major butt over the weekend. I’m in the process of moving. Not from my home. From one storage stall to a bigger storage stall. My daughter’s moving back home for an undetermined length of time, and so I’m now having to figure out what to do with everything. It’s all chaos!
Here’s what’s important to know ~
- Three years ago, my daughter moved into the 1,200 square foot house that I’d been using as my artist’s studio and that I had packed to the brim with art supplies, crafting material, collections, furniture and knick knacks. So I had to get rid of stuff or find places inside my home to utilize or store said stuff and then I had to find a storage stall large enough to hold what was left. I completely filled that 1,200 square foot house. It’s been difficult to let go of so much.
- It’s taken me over three years (so far) to grieve giving up my art studio/house, which is actually a rent house on my parent’s property. My parents (well, now just my Dad) lives next door to this space. This house is no longer available for rent because Dad believes he can rent it out for a lot more money than what he was renting it out to me before my daughter took over. I can’t afford what he’s wanting in rent now.
- One of the rooms I moved some of that stuff into was my daughter’s former bedroom when she left, which became our “guest room,” except the only guest that’s slept in it in the last three years is my daughter. Sooo, was it really a guest room? Now I have to take everything I put in that room back out and figure out what to do with it or where to store it so she can move back.
My stuff is all good stuff. It’s not shit. It’s not clutter. It’s my stuff. GOOD STUFF THAT I WANT TO KEEP.
- She’s moving in February 1; that means that she’s started to move some stuff to our house already.
- She’s also bringing her dog with her.
- Marie Kondo and her KonMari Method can stuff her sparked joy.
Everything I own sparks joy…bitch.
- I’m coming to terms with the fact that I must be part dragon because I have a tremendous treasure hoard that I appreciate very much and I’m passionate about it and I’m willing to protect it with much drama and intimidation.
- Creative people with active imaginations and delusions of all the projects they’re going to create, who also have a hoarding gene and serious collections of stuff, should not be allowed to shop, especially alone with a credit card and 1,200 square feet of space.
So last Saturday, as we were hauling boxes of stuff from one stall to the bigger stall (which isn’t all that much bigger if you ask me), it occurred to me that I need to get rid of a lot more stuff in order to make room in the new stall so it can hold even more stuff that I’m going to have to fit into it. Big stuff like furniture. So I made a call to someone I vaguely know who used to have her own art studio, but who closed her rented space down (she now holds classes inside her garage) and she also teaches a once-a-month painting class to a group my son is involved with. She lives about 45 minutes away, but I called her anyway to see if maybe she might be interested in some free material and when she might be able to meet up with me if she was interested.
Who knew that she was in my town right when I called her and could come right then? Who knew that she had such a big SUV? Who knew that she was also bringing along a friend?
It was chaotic when we started going through boxes. I would quickly check a box to make sure that whatever was in it was something that I didn’t need before it was packed into her SUV. There was damned little that I offered that she didn’t take. Her friend asked whether I had a bed frame or a dresser. I told her that, unfortunately, I didn’t have either.
It was all going fairly quickly and smoothly, but whenever Ry’s instructor balked about taking something, her friend would say, “No. Take it. If you can’t use it, I can.” At one point, I unearthed several jars of fake, plastic gemstones that my dad had given me (because I’m creative) that I never used. Her friend gasped, “Oh, Wow! Now we can bedazzle the shit out of everything!” Ryan’s instructor reprimanded, “Hey, shhh, watch your language!” I said, “No worries. There’s not one word you can say that Ryan, David and I haven’t said multiple times.” I don’t even remember her friend’s name now. Was it Jennifer, maybe?
I would like to say that I just let go of a few hundred dollars’ worth of stuff. Deep down, I know it went well into the thousands, though. David seconded me on thinking it was in the thousands. Less than an hour later, when Ry’s instructor couldn’t cram anything else into her vehicle and she was crying uncle, she said, “My husband’s going to kill me. I have no idea where we’re going to store everything!” She asked if she could pay us…something. She looked like she was in shock. David and I said, “No. Thank you for taking it.” I told her that she was doing us the favor. I told her that if she needed more in the future, she had my phone number.
After she left, David, Ryan and I headed down to our local diner for a bite to eat. I felt good that we’d gotten so much done and that I was able to let so much go.
By the time we got to the restaurant, though, the adrenaline was wearing off and I started coming down from the high of sparking so much joy in someone else’s life. I drank two cokes. I barely ate anything on my plate.
On one hand, I was glad to see the materials go to someone who appreciated them and will be able to use them in a creative way instead of David and me having to continue to pay month-to-month to endlessly store them or having to unload them at a donation center. I’m grateful that everything fell into place at just the right time and she was able to take so much; even if it feels like we only made a dent.
On the other hand, I’m grieving this loss of what all of that stuff represented in my life. Fuck Marie Kondo and her minimalism. My hoarding, dragon gene that used to paint and craft and create and while away hours in a creative flow that made it feel like time stood still, that creative me who felt closer to God more then than at any other time, that me is in mourning.
Then before we even left the diner, I got a text from a different friend of Ryan’s instructor. She said she’d gotten my number from her and was hoping that she might be able to come by and take a look at all of my stuff. In particular, she was looking for free glitter but was open to whatever else I might have. Was I available to meet with her on Monday? And sure enough, right after that, Ry’s instructor also texted me confirming that “Susie” might get in touch with me.
And that kind of annoyed me. But young people, what are they if not annoying? Anyway, I texted back that I’d have to look around for glitter, but I’d get back with her on Friday and then we could go from there. She replied, “Yes ma’am, and thank you!”
And that annoyed me even more. The being called “ma’am” part. Yes, I’m getting older-ish…but I’m not her grandma. Or her aunt. Or her teacher. I’m just a stranger she’s never met with too much stuff. “Ma’am” conjures thoughts of aging; and if you’re going to ask for freebies from me, it’s best that you not make me feel any older than I want to feel. And never mind what age that is. It’s not “ma’am” age, though.
Also, I don’t recall saying that I wanted to get rid of any glitter. Of course, I don’t recall telling Ry’s instructor to send any of her friends my way for free supplies either. Know why? Because I didn’t. That’s at the very least presumptuous and overstepping. However, you never know; maybe I have some extra glitter hanging around. Honestly, I feel like I probably do. And yet, I’m not sure I want to give it up.
It’s my fucking glitter that I spent my hard-earned money for and glitter isn’t what’s taking up too much space in my stall.
Okay, I know, that was uncalled for. It felt good though…and she’s never going to read this.
What I really don’t want is people I don’t know coming with an outstretched hand for free supplies simply because they’re friends with Ry’s instructor, who I barely even know. So, hopefully, my being not so available sent the right message to Susie. And Jennifer if she’s paying attention. Don’t worry. If that isn’t enough of a deterrent, I know how to be blunt.
The thing is, I’ll never again sell painted crosses and picture frames and canvases that one needs a booth in order to display in and sell out of because I’ll never rent another booth. Most of the Café Brazils (restaurants) I used to also sell out of have closed down and so there’s no place to sell artwork without getting into a commitment of renting space from someone somewhere. So, no thanks. And yes, these things needed to go.
I’m so glad and sad at the same time.
Anyway, I’m sure that in the confusion and chaos of last Saturday, I gave stuff away that I didn’t mean to as I rushed to just let stuff go. I’m sure I’ll be searching for things I won’t be able to find in the future and then I’ll worry why I can’t find them. I won’t know what those things are until it happens, but no doubt they’ll be sentimental and irreplaceable.
So I know I put on a really good front — all smiles and laughter with a generous heart urging to take, take, take. I meant it at the time as well. I still do. Maybe I have the ability to compartmentalize really well because now is when I feel what I’ve done. It’s weird. I knew what I was doing when I was doing it. I know that what I’m doing/what I did is also the right thing for me to do at this time in my life. But even with good intentions and freely giving stuff up, I’m grieving. Even so, I’m having to suck it up, buttercup, because that’s the price.
I’d cry if I could; but I think part of me is still in shock. Besides, what I’m going through right now seems too first-world problem-ish if you know what I mean. I know I should simply appreciate and be joyful of my life here and now and stop being such a whiny baby. Who bitches about having too much when there are so many that have too few?
Anyway, in my world — the one where I have to get rid of times three of whatever I bring into my house because I have too much (for instance, if I buy a new shirt, I have to find three shirts in my closet and give them away or if I buy some new decorative item, I have to give up three similar items), I feel like I’ve evened up the score whenever I might have fudged here or there by not letting enough things go when new things have come in. The thing is, at the moment, I’m fighting for every inch of useable or storable space in this house. It’s tough finding nooks and crannies that can hold one more thing without bursting.
I’m sure that this year will involve even more purging.
Over the past several years, I’ve felt so burdened because I’ve had too much to keep up with, to take care of, to deal with. So you’d think I’d feel lighter in spirit, giving away that which has only held me down. They say that you can’t take it with you when you die, but, trust me, it won’t be for a lack of trying on my part. Maybe I’m too materialistic, but, then again, I appreciate what I have and have had, and I realize that I may not ever be able to own more of the same in the future, so getting rid of stuff feels permanent. As irrational as it sounds, part of me worries that I may need some of it in the future, but it won’t be there and I won’t be able to replace it.
If I were smart, I’d at least have a garage sale or sell it online. However, and this is a sign of my aging I think, I value my time more than dollars at this point. (Those words will probably come back to haunt me!) Having to go through all the steps of taking pictures of stuff, putting it online, and then packaging and sending it off for a mere few dollars isn’t worth it to me — even if those dollars add up. Neither is it worth the stress of haggling with people at a garage sale or dealing with the thieves that inevitably show up and steal from you while you’re talking to someone else. No thanks.
This, in part, is the 2020 me saying goodbye to the creative me who existed between the years 2007 and 2016.
I started doing art as a way to get through an extraordinarily difficult period of time in our lives and it snowballed from there. And so this is also the 2020 me saying goodbye to the me who has been in flux in the years since I let go of my 1,200 square foot art studio, that part of me that’s been on the fence about continuing to play with canvas and paint and wood and embellishments. Those creative years were glorious, when I was an artist that actually made art and sold it for a profit. Those days felt like they would never end. Those were the days when I couldn’t keep my art in stock and I had project after project lined up. I was always scared I was going to run out of supplies. I was always buying stuff that was on sale in order to get a great price.
But then work stopped. And all of a sudden there wasn’t a market for what I was selling and I had too much of everything. Eventually, maybe people will be interested in that sort of art again, but I won’t be the one making it and selling it. By then, I really will be too older-ish. Instead, hopefully, I’ll remember good memories, along with some not so good memories, I suppose. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to let go of three bad memories for every good memory I think about. That would be a good trade-off. That might really lighten my load.
Also, there’s writing.
And there’s also George Carlin, may he rest in peace ~