The pink dress I wore, the night I met him.
The red two-piece outfit I wore, on the third date, when we sat and talked under the statue of Lincoln in the park.
I kept the dress from the second date, because I love that dress, and I hang on to the vain hope that someday I not only be able to wear it again but that I’ll be able to get the massive coffee stain out of it, the stain that can’t be passed off as just part of the pattern of the dress, which is kind of like an abstract expressionist painting done in dark reds and light browns on a cream surface.
The dress he bought for me as a present – modest, navy blue and soft pink floral, feminine, kind of prim, the sort of dress I didn’t think I’d look like anything in. But I think he wanted me to realize that it was about me, not the dress.
Skirt suits. I’ll never wear suits again, I swear. Out.
A box full of old guidebooks and pamphlets from places in the UK and Europe I had visited in high school, or after law school. I kept them thinking I’d read them later. Not.
My law school notebooks, for God’s sake – why on earth did I save those?
I saved a few cute stories I wrote, illustrated with photographs of me as a very little girl, and handmade chapbooks of poems I had written when I was in elementary school. I was charmed by who I was as a child – boldly creative, funny and unafraid.
Even with this, I’ve barely made a dent, in the bedroom closet that doubles as the attic in this house.
Then there’s the wedding dress.
Why do I still have that? There is no possibility of anyone I’m related to ever needing it, wanting it or fitting in it – it was fitted to me, short and fat. I suppose I’ll have to see if I can sell it.
Wedding shoes. My daughter and I wear the same size shoes, but nah. I’ll give those away.
Boxes of books from college and papers I wrote while “up at Oxford,” on a program of study abroad. I’ve visited them once or twice and I’m always impressed with my younger self – the intellectual passion that comes through in these long-ago essays. But those are next.
The Mom box. It’s a box of stuff my eldest brother saved when he was shoveling out her house. Turns out Mom saved her school papers, too, and in just the snippet of them I’ve read, I discovered an ardent early feminist who wrote about the roles women should be allowed to take up and the unfair limitations imposed upon them. That was in the ’40s. I’ll give my brothers and niece a chance to take the box, but I don’t think they will.
Shoveling out Mom’s house took six months of arduous work, research, sorting, categorizing, selecting, selling, distributing, etc. I hope I thanked my brother for that.
But I’m going to be the one doing that for this house, while I still can.
Because other than photographs, which she needs and loves to look at, there really is nothing here that will be of any service or meaning to my daughter after I’m gone. And I feel oppressed by all this crap. I want to feel the “joy of tidying up” Marie Kondo wrote about. I want to get out from under it all, clean up, get minimal. Breathe.
I want to stick with what matters, now, and tone down the sentimental hoarding of old stuff that will be of no future use or meaning to my daughter or anyone else.
I had a little medical scare two weeks ago – went to the doctor and got the all clear from the ultrasound tech.
And then they called me back.
Radiologist thinks he saw a little sumpin’ sumpin.
In my previous post, “Trading Fear for Flow,” I wrote about how law school somehow seemed to have switched on a kind of generalized anxiety disorder, that expressed itself primarily in OCD type behavior – checking, checking and re-checking. I described how a perfectly mundane, everyday experience blew up into a near-full on panic attack, about an inevitable lawsuit that never was filed.
You get to a certain age and the medicos seem to have an urgent need to explore, poke, prod, test, image, scan, scrape and centrifuge bits of your bits, and yes, check and check again. (See, “fear of inevitable lawsuit,” above).
So I can’t blame them, really, for wanting me back. I’m pretty sure it a mere shadow of things long past and gone, and that it is nothing.
But it could be something.
All the more reason to go for the “flow.”
And to divest this house of all the crap, so others (far in the future, I hope, but still) won’t have to.
The appointment is just under two weeks from now, and I’ll be writing about other stuff before then. But I’ll keep you posted.
Now, about all those boxes of old newspaper clippings (remember print? Ha!) and programs from concerts and shows, and scraps of fabric I’ll never make into anything….I’ll get my shovel and have at it.
Until then, I remain, your loyal, humble, devoted,