10 October 2008

on Cleaning Out my Closet

Upon my long-ago return from John Knox, I began a seemingly never-ending expedition through the depths of my “closet”—that is, the loads of clothes and shoes (oh, the shoes!) that had amassed themselves in 5 drawers, on 3 2-foot long closet racks, and in one very large, plastic storage container. Considering that my apartment has only one closet and therefore not nearly enough space to house this horrid collection of mine, I decided to get rid of it. ALL of it.
Half inspired by guynameddave.com (I based my chaplain lessons on this guy all summer) and half inspired by my own disgust with myself, I embarked upon a wild journey that began with a plastic drawer full of shoes. 32 pairs, yes sir, 15 that I determined I’d never wear again, 3 that I never wore, ever, in the first place, and one “pair” who was missing his second half. So I’m down to 13 pairs, which, of course, is an unlucky number, but will be remedied when my Chacos return from the Chaco hospital. (Jeanna, you’re not supposed to be adding pairs…)
Then it was on to the clothes. The fabric stuff. Without even looking at it, I put that very large, plastic storage container in the back of the ‘vette—I figured if I hadn’t opened it since I’d moved 7 months ago, I probably wasn’t going to need to open it again. So that was gone with no questions and no regrets.
I spent the next few days doing an Extreme Closet Makeover, donating all of my Youth Medium T-shirts and old guy pants. I vowed that for three straight days, every time I left my apartment, I’d take with me 6 more articles of clothing and bag them in the numerous paper bags I had stashed under the hatch. By the end of a week I’d made two packed-to-the-ceiling trips to Salvation Army; a week later, I’d made another one.
Getting rid of the too-small winter crap, “the style” that was such bad example of “the style” that it had to go and the other random garments I’d acquired over the years was easy. The hard part? Emotional attachment.
I look back now and think to myself that it sounds pretty lame to have emotional attachment on items of clothing, of all things, but it at least makes some sense. The homemade “Team E” t-shirt I got for being part of the Editorial Board my junior year; the ripped-up North Texas football shirt I'd been keeping as a reminder that I once went there; the first skirt I ever made that is now way ugly and way too small for me: they were just clothes, but at some point, they’d been a lot more than that.
As artist and actor Eminem once put it in his pleasing pop ballad, “I never meant to make you cry, but tonight, I’m cleaning out my closet.” I didn’t really cry, but I did second-guess myself as I reluctantly placed things in the To-Go pile. It took driving away and dropping that pile off for donation for me to realize that things don’t inspire memories, memories do.
After that, the rest of the cleaning was remarkably easy: Will I wear this or not? IF the answer was “not,” I gave it away, memories attached or not. It’s not about having tangible things to rattle memories, it's having the friends and family that constantly inspire me to remember what an aamzing few years I've had to make them.

09 October 2008

on Moving

About 4 years ago, I think I exasperatedly relayed to my mother the following sentiment: "I'll be living in a different country by the time a Democrat becomes President."
Shit. I'd better get moving.

06 October 2008

on Growing Up

Yesterday was my first day of work.
Considering I've been working for about 10 years now, it didn't much feel like my first day of work. In fact, I've had a handful of other days in my life that felt more like work days than this one did: the day my thesis was due last semester; hopefully finishing the Trinitonian by 2 a.m.; hell week at Knox. No, today didn't feel anything at all like work, because I sat and watched an orientation power point, I sat and watched my new co-worker Molly do layout, and I sat and looked at the clock wondering if every day would be this long. I didn't work, I sat. (Aside: who still uses power point? And for that matter, who still uses flying in text and bullets on power point? Ugh...)
But all that not considered, today was the day I suppose I entered the "real world" by simultaneously entering the income-taxed, health-insured work force.
And it made me instantly miss freelancing. (Freelancing, v: sitting on the couch with a laptop watching HBO re-runs and eating popcorn whenever I feel like it)
It also made me instantly miss college, and the drive to produce my best work at all times. It made me miss the community, the family I acquired, and the bonds we had.
But most of all, it made me miss the times I was able to make fun of myself for one day Growing Up. I'm not a Grown Up, and I don't plan on being any time soon. I'm a kid who wants to make newspapers and still sleeps with a stuffed pig.