I decided to take a break from social media after the holidays, just to recharge a bit after an insane few weeks with work and life in general. But I’m officially back on the proverbial horse after a month away.
This week was my neighbourhood’s turn for “curbside pickup” aka “dump all your shit in the street week”. I had a few large items that needed to go, and being a stubborn chick with no concept of my diminutive size (I am not unlike an angry corgi) it didn’t occur to me to just ring a friend for help.
Let me tell you – wrangling a queen bed frame and mattress through a tiny flat with at least four more doors than it had earlier that day, and then down a rickety, narrow flight of stairs is exactly as much of a joy as you would expect. I may have nearly died (twice) but when I finally collapsed on top of that mattress next to the neighbour’s bins I had a deep sense of victory and personal independence. (Also a deep sense of how I probably looked to the neighbours; a small, blue haired girl lying on a dirty mattress on a curb at 7:00 am on a Saturday.)
Every once in a while I go on cleaning binges. I am a purger, in the material sense. So, not wanting to waste the momentum, I figured it was a good time to clean out the house and dispose of what I didn’t need.
I was three rubbish bags in when I hit the memory mine-field.
When I split with my partner last year, I didn’t know what to do with the evidence of “us” so to speak. It felt cold to throw it away, but I didn’t want to see it either. So into boxes it went, little layers of photos and love letters and the cute stuffed animals that I don’t like but he insisted on buying, slowly fossilizing at the back of a closet.
When I pulled the first photo out, I knew it was time. I’m finally back in a place of self-assurance and badassedness (now a word), and I just thought, what the fuck am I waiting for?
It. All. Went. Out.
Three hours, a few tears, a strong drink or two later (no judging the early hour, it’s a weekend) and my new flat is only filled with me now. No ghosts. No guilt. Pure unadulterated liberation, my friends.
And as I often do when I am in the midst of a tsunami of emotion, when I was finished I grabbed my camera and went walking. Sometimes I walk for a whole day while I think, and stumble home long after dark with sore feet and a clear head. Since everyone else was busy chucking their stuff just like me, it got me thinking about how similar cathartic moments were probably playing out in other lives around me, and I snapped a few of the curbside dumps. Little still-lifes of all the shit people don’t want anymore. Maybe I was seeking some deeper understanding of materialism and disposability, maybe I was just half-cut on a Saturday morning. We’ll never know. (It was 100% the second thing.)
Welcome to the new year folks, even if it’s a bit late.