i forgot what i was made of for a second.
i was looking in my closet at wrapped up pictures and boxes with my name all over them with labels like “Kay’s / Kitchen Stuff”, “Closet Things” and about 5 boxes scrawled with bright blue marker, “Books”. I’d run up to the garage attic to look for something and found myself staring at old ghosts and old friends. The past broken down to a zillion million memories that added up to Me Here Now, in my converse and ratty t-shirt, searching for whatever it was in this old attic that smelled like The Past.
And now I was staring at The Past: The table that had, at 319 Tappan Street, once held pretty much all of Trader Joe’s almonds, a variety of hummus and every glass we owned on display alongside the 15 bottles of wine and various beers bought for our tri-yearly Game Nights, the chair with a crack down the middle from an uninvited, inebriated guest’s athletic attempt and immediate failure to land on it from the roof (no one was hurt), the broken lamp Vanessa killed as she, in her excitement, launched onto my brand new Ikea vine chair. My Brita, the DVD player, office supplies, the spine of the most expensive futon I’ve ever paid for with my own money.
Old ghosts that I remember packing with newspapers I stole from the various Starbucks, Jewish Deli’s and grocery stores around Washington Square. My hands, blackened with the stains of The Phoenix and all its Page 22 personals that were so raunchy and hilarious I couldn’t help but count the number of times the guy with the unbuttoned black jeans kneeling on the beach with a “come hither” stare would be wrapped around a stack of plates or crumpled between my perfume bottles as I pulled down the top of one box and sealed up another, not knowing when I’d ever get to unpacking them or where that might even be. Gosh, the memories of the objects and the memory of packing them. I felt so tethered to them all. But they were sealed. Sealed up like so many emotions refusing to surface for fear I would have to own them and then be really, really doubtful of the commitment I made to the person I was to the life I wanted. But inanimate objects haven’t anything to tether them here except memories.
And in that moment where I stood facing the piles of my life stacked up like real world tetris, I thought, this can’t define me.
It’s all so calm. The accumulation of such great success, like placing pins in a map of Kay, a time in my life that I owned but not defining the Me that I am. The Me that I hold onto regardless of what I use up or throw out or pack away. The thin line of current that I doubt so often, so often is the only thing I can hold onto. The only thing that is the strongest when everything else feels stacked up and put away.
I forgot for a moment who I was.
My great tether is not to this. I cannot be accumulated.
I am flippn fantastic and I deserve so much more of that fantastic-ness
I have the best friends and family in the whole world.
They’re also the loudest cheering section in the game.
The things that are most important to me will never be in boxes.
After that pep talk, I found what I’d actually come up for: a deck with results I wanted to include on my resume. I was moving on. It was easy to leave the attic, all I had to do was turn around and...flip the switch.