Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Attachment Disorder

I've spent the last several days rampaging through the house, throwing out everything that wasn't nailed down. Okay, that's not quite true, it only feels that way. The dumpster is half-full, I've already made 2 trips to Goodwill and I have a sneaking suspicion I will have to rent a minivan or SUV to cart stuff to Cleveland for my family. Yipes.

Despite this tremendous progress on the purging front, it has been incredibly difficult to select what stays and what goes. For some things, I had to employ a viscious coldness. If I hadn't looked at it or missed it for the last three years, it had to go. Years of birthday cards? Gone. Happy Meal Toys from years past? Gone. Notebooks with scribbled musings to self? Gone, gone, gone.

At one point, we were cleaning out Peter's closet and he started to open a notebook. I told him to just throw it out. Don't even open it! Opening stuff risks nostalgia, guilt, curiosity and a host of other emotions that threaten to defeat the cleaning process. I understand the impulse, but it doesn't change how I feel about this stuff. It has to go - as painful and as difficult as it might be.

Packing up my stuffed animals and donating them to Goodwill was ridiculously painful. Now, these stuffed animals have lived in the basement for the last 3 years. I'm a 32 year old grown woman. There's no way that I should have this attachment to a bunch of stuffed animals. But each one has a story.

There's the small hippo that we called "The Pup" and pretended was a substitute dog when we lived in a no-dogs apartment. Here's the giant floppy bunny Olaf, whom Peter animated with a big-dumb-lug personality. There's the small lion with a rattle inside that was my first Christmas present to Peter. Here's Sebastion the crab from The Little Mermaid who was a high school graduation present.

I did what I had to do and shoved them into black garbage bags as quickly as possible, trying to ignore the history behind each little furry face. It was hard, but it was good because it reaffirmed my commitment to simplifying our lives, to making this enormous move, to making a real change.

Even so, I did save Roejehowitz, a guinea pig puppet that Patrick used to amuse us on the car ride to Nana Dog's funeral. I'm not going to keep him, but maybe Patrick or Max might like him.


At 2 March 2005 at 19:48, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to be a bug, but the word "Attachment" is misspelled in the headline of your post.

I related to the pain of throwing away things that were once loved. I've gone through lots of moves and have thrown away more than I own now. I can't think of anything I've thrown out that has haunted me... in that "I'm so upset I threw this or that away." As much as purging might hurt. I don't think it lasts very long.

At 2 March 2005 at 23:41, Blogger -Ann said...

Thanks for the tip - everyone needs an editor. I am a miserable speller and spell checkers have made me lazy and complacent. I'm going to fix it now.

At 6 March 2005 at 01:38, Blogger Career Guy said...

Father Editor here: might as well fix "vicious", too.
About your purging: oh no--not the Happy Meal toys!

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