Cleaning Out My Closet

I swear, if I had not moved continent to continent before and were planning to do so again I’d be a hoarder. I have a hard time to part from things. This matchbook from the long ago trip to Florida, the bottles with the colored sand, my suit which I wore for the oral part of my law exam, an assortment of empty yogurt cans or the scrap of left-over wallpaper? They are full of memories or will surely be needed at some point of time. I still own every single Christmas/Hanukkah card friends sent me last year and many post cards mailed to me before, coasters a friend bought me in Israel, socks a patient knitted me, snippets of paper with poems and quotes – no wonder that my 5×5 feet pin board is overflowing.

But that’s not it. I’m not speaking about constipation though this problem plays into the same attitude. I’m not one of the people with a daily overflowing mailbox. Sometimes I wish I was, but it is not the case. Still, my mailbox holds hundreds of emails, most of them years old. A few I might never delete like the last one of a friend written only days before she succumbed to cancer related complications. But most are simply there because I convinced myself that the moment I go ahead and get rid of them, I might need the contact or some piece of information then gone.

And then there are the things ‘easiest’ to carry around, the thoughts and memories in my head. When you have a nearly perfect memory it is hard to forget anything. And I cling – for better and worse. Reminiscing about vacations and successes makes for a good time. But let’s list some of my most vivid memories: the kindergarten teacher telling me that it is my fault the group couldn’t continue to celebrate carnival because tall as I was the petals of the flower on my head, being part of my costume, had ripped through the low hanging garland; stepping into a class room in which the walls were covered with little signs reading ‘Aviva is stupid’ and everyone’s laughing; the boy, which I helped with his school work, telling me, we could only be friends in secret, because I wasn’t cool enough; the guy, who thought he was entitled to sex because he had rescued me from another one grobbing … And the occasions that string together like chains: being tolerated in a group or circle of friends as long as my skills were needed; being praised and promised help and support unsolicited, but the promise is never carried through; arriving in a new setting and no matter what ending to be the odd one out alone…

These memories bring me to tears, just like on the day they occurred. Keeping them alive is not just unhealthy. They turn into a self-fulfilling prophecies. I expect these things to happen because they did happen to me before. And you can bet that they will happen again when expected as they just did.

So, it is high time to clean out the closet and let go of things, events and people. I did the spring cleaning thing today, stooping into all the little corners and the back of the cupboards, which one usually misses. The left-over wallpaper is gone now and some of the t-shirts bought and worn at times and places that are now beyond repair. But my black suede knee-high boots got a reprieve despite their stepped down heel and light spots. Well, I am still practicing to be the improved me.

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