The day I wrote this essay saw a historic event for Seattle, Washington with the closure of one of its major traffic routes. Did I go? No. I spent the better part of the day shuffling my antiquated media husks. I alphabetized DVDs, prepping them to pack while listening to CDs, and decided what to keep and what to donate/sell. It was even a nice day out! Would I trade all these for digital equivalents?
As excited as I am to be making bold strides toward living a life closer to the one I want to live, where I can go fully experience new things without being weighed down with past experiences via the clutter that hoards my memories and mindset, concerns over my property, or even just having to deal with packing or moving, there’s still so much left to do, even after I arrive at my next residence.
“Next week, I’ll be packing. Today was a “talk ta’ people” day.” “That makes sense.[1,2]” Other than being in a writing slump because I was hungry and arriving home tired, the day I wrote this essay was a good day. If there’s anything I’ve learned throughout these past 2+ years of writing and working toward something bigger, it’s the value of social interaction. Especially for writers – we seem especially reclusive – there’s value in talkin’ ta’ people.
“This CD smells like cleaner…” If it plays all the way through without skipping, does it matter if the packaging isn’t in great condition? I own too many “fragile” CDs that might have a scuff or two of either my own doing or someone else’s. How do we balance a CD’s inherent fragility with wanting to play them? What if we’re still attached to the idea of listening to an album outside of digital means?
I hate how much garbage I collected. It’s stuff like junk mail that I didn’t immediately toss out that really upsets me. I’m mad at how bad I had gotten at organizing. I’m seeing progress after filling recycling bins with papers and plastics that weren’t even valuable and filling my garbage bin with junk. That progress is like taking off VR goggles and reacquainting myself with reality, eyes bloodshot, but able to see everything clearer.
Writing is easier for me than breathing, sometimes. Not just when dealing with stress, but in general, I can write for hours at a time without thinking, only stopping when I’m distracted by biological functions. Editing, however, is where the writing can really shine. Sometimes, it’s not needed, but most people enjoy “polished stone” writing. Collecting stuff is, similarly, as easy as writing, but organizing, decluttering, and curation? That’s the same as a well-polished essay.
“I know not to donate… gar-bage!” I understand the mentality. I’ve been there. Thrift stores lose money when they take in trash, but come on, buddy, quit giving me shit for donating stuff I don’t have the time to sell. Most of my time now is spent sifting through the possessions I haven’t boxed up to figure out what I must keep and what I can burn off. Decluttering is like practicing new dietary restrictions.
I awake daily, almost violently, with racing thoughts of every remaining task. My mind will calm down as I capture these errant thoughts in my task lists over morning coffee because this forces me to remember how much work I’ve done in just about 6 whirlwind weeks. This photo summarizes that point: while it’s a seemingly chaotic mess, this is it for my CDs left to move. I’ll impulsively clutter the empty shelves, but increasingly less.
Critiques on your work shouldn’t manifest in your mind as bruises. The redlines may feel like cuts against your writing. The comments may seem like scars. These are just your insecurities. Those same insecurities will coax you into skipping social events or embarrass you with memories of mistakes. Rather than silencing that internal critic of yours, calm yourself down, then get in that document, familiarize yourself with the edits, make the changes, and then proceed.
Between the overactive heartbeat, anxiety, looming sense of fear over the unknown, fatigue, and all, as I write this I have been more susceptible than ever toward wanting to get numb. There’d be nothing more fantastic than just returning to some degree of normalcy, but that won’t happen for a while, so instead, I’ll ride these waves of insecurity through to safer shores. All I need to do is write something. Tomorrow will be better.