Monday, January 28, 2013

Stuff

by booleansplit via Flickr
After almost two weeks of living in my new, albeit empty apartment, the movers arrived with my stuff this past Thursday. I don't think I've ever been happier to have possessions in my whole life.

As I was ripping open boxes at break neck pace, I started to feel more and more like myself again. I hadn't seen or interacted with my possessions in about 9 months because almost everything I had stayed in boxes while I lived with my dad temporarily. Reuniting with my trinkets and books had me feeling more like myself than I had felt in ages. Almost as quickly as I started to feel normal though, I also started to feel uncomfortable by being so happy to have so much stuff again.

Growing up with my hoarder mother, I was always surrounded by stuff. Broken or ugly or useless piles of stuff. Since having my own place, I've tried to limit the amount of stuff I have to things that I either use or really enjoy (a la William Morris's quote, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful"). I don't like to be tied to things or to have my identity associated closely to things. I strive to be minimal, to not be materialistic, and to take the most joy out of experiences and my interactions with people.

Yet, there I was, feeling like a kid in a candy store as I unpacked thing after thing and felt my normalcy restoring. Can stuff really make you feel normal? Can objects that are external to you really shape you that fundamentally? That flies in the face of some of my core beliefs and the way that I live my life.

I'm inclined to chalk my reaction up to the fact that what I needed most in that moment (and will continue to need until I become comfortable in my new life) was familiarity. All of the newness in my life is making me crave anything familiar in whatever form it may be. So on the surface, it is my stuff, but what I'm really overjoyed by is the fact that this stuff has a history. I know it all and I know it well because it has helped me live my life, not because it is my life.


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