Hello there, shy slow lorises! Lori! Loris, plural! Loriseseses! What are you eating there? Is it a rice ball? Welcome to Friday Open Thread, where no one will ever take your rice balls away and you can sleep the day away with all your loris friends.
Speaking of holding onto rice balls like the life-giving sustenance they are, I’ve been thinking lately about stuff I’m holding on to. Literally, stuff. More specifically, the stuff I don’t really need anymore that lives in boxes and clutters my home. Recently, I went through several boxes of stuff from my childhood that I inherited from my parents’ box pile. They’d been living in an unused bedroom for over two years. It was a lot of unpacking, literally and figuratively.
Do I need this hotel shower gel that I saved from a high school trip to Germany, the trip where I made new friends and considered what it might feel like to be completely myself? (No.)
How about my mint condition New Kids on the Block comics from 1990 that went with my NKOTB sleeping bag and posters and trading cards and tapes and crush on Jordan Knight? (Yes. Uh, probably. Probably not. I don’t know. Put them back in the box.)
What about all these newspaper clippings my mom saved from when I was in a local Junior Miss pageant? (Yes, but not all 25 copies. Also, don’t judge. It was a scholarship pageant.)
How about these old button hooks from my Grandpa Sadler’s (close family friend, not relative) collection that his family let me have after he died? (Yes. Definitely, yes.)
What stays? What goes? What does stuff mean? Why do I hold onto this little prism that holds some of my Grandma’s ashes, stashed behind a framed picture of her as a young woman? Is it her, really, my Ama? Is she in there, in that sealed white container that looks inconspicuously like a paperweight? Does she live on in some way? Or is dust just dust? Or is it just an idea of her, sealed up neatly to fit on a shelf? My idea of who she was? My memories of her: bringing me steaming hot beef bouillon in a mug when I was sick, letting the dogs lick up mac-and-cheese leftovers out of the pan, playing Go Fish and watching The Golden Girls on her red corduroy couch? Is all that she was encapsulated, literally, in her remains? And are her remains all that remain of her? Is my grief in there, too, the loose remnants of everything I never got to share with her after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease? The helplessness of watching my mom say goodbye a little bit more every day for almost a decade? The sad relief of her passing, and the way she squeezed my hand the last time I saw her, like she knew I was there even though she hadn’t known I was there for years? Is Ama this thing, this little white prism? I don’t think so.
But at the end of the day, I won’t ever pack Ama’s ashes away. And I would be sad if I lost my little prism in a move. I would feel guilty if I packed it into a box. Stuff is just stuff. But sometimes some stuff is more.
So I’ll hold onto some stuff: my button hooks, my white prism, my comic books, a necklace from my first boyfriend, the pictures I took in college on real actual film, the corsage from my first high school dance, the scrapbook Waffle made me for our one-year anniversary that opens with an L Word quote, the dot matrix printed poems I wrote in middle school, a few beloved toys. Some of it I already threw away. The sentimental feelings that made me put those things in the box when I was 17 or made my mom put them in a box when I was 10 had passed and they were just things again. Just stuff. Stuff that could be recycled or thrown away or given new homes. Maybe when I open these boxes again, in another thirty years, I’ll be ready to purge more stuff. Maybe I’ll seal new things in.
What about you? What sentimental objects do you hold onto, either on display or packed away? Why do you keep them? Do you ever struggle with getting rid of your things? Do you keep things for too long sometimes? Or are you a minimalist? Is it easy for you to pare down? Tell me about your things.
Or tell me about the other stuff going on in your life. What are you doing this weekend? How are you feeling? How are your kids and furkids? Give me your life updates. I want to know all about it!
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