I've been engaged in a quiet project of getting rid of stuff. And then I realized it's more than stuff that's getting the big heave-ho. Sit down and get comfortable ;)
It started like this. I have not tended the gardens as they deserve -because they are not the gardens I want. So, I started with the most jungle-y of them and invited friends to come get its perennials. I'm clearing that garden out and putting something new there. A patio, a new back fence and some other stuff, thanks for asking. And then I realized that for about a month I have been taking 2-3 bags of stuff weekly to The Salvation Army, and there is plenty more where that came from. This isn't stuff that was Dave's; he took all of that. This is stuff that was ours.
And let's back up. I've blogged before about the house with no furniture. He took pretty much everything. I kept only the few things that I had brought into the marriage or purchased after the separation. I have some furnishings now, that's not a problem. But interestingly, the absence of furniture led to the backyard bonfire parties, which turned out to be really wonderful. I couldn't entertain any other way; I didn't have a couch for people to sit on. But I could cook hamburgers on the grill, buy a bunch of beer, and hang out with my friends in the yard. And now people are asking me when I'm going to start having those parties again, so I guess that worked out well. But the point is that the lack of stuff opened space for a new thing to emerge.
So, leaving aside the obvious and disturbing question of how a house that was allegedly empty still has so much stuff that's available to be donated, what IS going on?
I used my marriage -and its attendant stuff- to give me weight. I thought Dave's substance made me more interesting. I thought having matching crystal wine glasses connected me to other women who entertained in a certain way. I thought that having family antiques rooted me to families and their narratives. And I think that collectively, societally, we believe that, as well. Isn't that what registering for wedding gifts is about, on some level? Of course, none of those beliefs turned out to be true. It was all gone in the blink of an eye (ok... 2 years) and then I had this big blank space -literal and metaphorical- where our life together used to be.
I have rushed to fill that space -not so much with stuff, because that takes times and lots of money- but with activities. I must, I frantically thought, hurry and create my own substance, hurry and find my own ways of interacting with people, and rejoice in the new and more authentic connections I have with family. Consequently, my life has become a study in zero-sum time management.
I think my Discardia project is about off-loading thought patterns as well as stuff. You probably don't remember, but my word of the year was "architecture." I was going to spend this year creating the framework for the new life I want. I had not realized that an old framework had to be dismantled first. But I'm starting to see (with a certain lack of clarity, just yet) that this emptiness, too, creates space for something new to emerge.
Could this be calm that's ensuing? How would I recognize THAT???
And if you want perennials, come get them. I'll show you where to dig.