I am amused by the things I save and the things I throw away. Let me say others habits of retention and disposal are also amusing, usually, and both are anthropologically meaningful.
I have a friend whose house is the most wonderful treasure trove of stuff, dragons, Harry Potter, Happy Bunny, just to name some main themes but all really collectible cool stuff. Your eyes and your mind are never still in her living room if any curiosity drives you. There is a gentle, sometimes droll, may I say geek humor to the decor of this home. Do not mistake, she is not messy or a hoarder, her house does not jangle the nerves or make you afraid to sit on the toilet, her home instead is just bursting with stuff, cool stuff. The owner of this home is like her house, with many hobbies and many friends. People are not thrown away easily. Even if a friend’s behavior doesn’t go with her inner decor, or the patterns of her other friends, they can still be all beautifully kept in her life. This friend is one of the most gentle and loyal people I know, and fun. I can always count on some true deep down laughs when I hang out with this woman and delicious, unconventional foods.
I have another friend in our circle whose home is pristine, always. She inspires us all to new heights of order. The woods of her furniture and the books on her shelves and the few complimentary frames of family photos all correspond and unify the rooms perspective. I walk through her door into a Good Housekeeping centerfold. Do not mistake this home for cold or unwelcoming. Its’s heart is warm and if one sits a bit on the cozy couch or takes the time to read the titles of the books perhaps look closely at the pictures a Zen like joy infects one. My friend is like her home, disciplined, structured and yet tenderhearted. I love visiting this home, I know that there I will always safe and amused and have a luscious, well–balanced lunch.
This makes me wonder what my home says about me. My first thought as I turned my mind that way was "temporary". I have always been a nomad. Each home had a different flavor significant to the place I was at in my life and the person I was space sharing with at the time and nothing lasted for any length of time. Every time I thought I was home, I wasn’t. I thought this part of my life I would be living alone if alive at all and had moved in that direction. I had just begun to attempt "staying" at the apartment and then this house and a roommate happened. I want to believe this home is permanent. I want to make this my home.
Interestingly to what our homes say about "us", I discovered this week in a digital world we all play in, our virtual homes were strikingly like our real time homes. My virtual home is a gathering of grouped things I like, its decor doesn’t flow and there is a lot of stuff stashed in my virtual closets because once I start a theme I am loathe to change it even when a new theme entrances me. So I am in process of cleaning my virtual house and redecorating.
I am doing that in my real world home as well, just slower. Today I pulled one handful of saved magazines from my shelf to excavate what articles I would keep, what I would cut for collages, and what would go in recycling. I kept the Backwoods Magazine from May/June 2010, but the First and the Bark are collage fodder. I moved on further down the shelf. Then I got distracted.
I reread the entire New York Times Magazine from April 4, 2010 again this morning and I am still keeping it, all of it. I was hoping to find a few pictures or one article that had relegated it to my save shelf, but all the articles spoke to me from the one about albatross behavior as a source of controversy to the one about Vishniacs body of work being redefined by all the art he never published. So, I will keep it. I have however compiled a small stack of hardback and tradepaper back books that were keepers when I moved here 3 months ago that now are less necessary to my sense of well being. They have lost my respect and their sense of meaning to my new direction.
Which leads to where my last journal entry went. I wrote that entry early in the morning and then had to post hurriedly and go to work. I didn’t get to edit it first. I went back to reread it last night and it did not convey what I wanted. I tried unsuccessfully to edit it, then in a fit of frustration I deleted it. I kind of regret that this morning and may try again to rewrite the thought later but probably not.
The main point of the whole thing was that at a time when I thought I was garbage and I heard everyone else telling me I was garbage, someone (my foster parents Ed and Connie) treated me with love and respect. They did not say unacceptable behavior was acceptable and my choices had dire consequences. Because they loved and respected me I began to respect myself. It is a slow process turning garbage beliefs and garbage behavior into productive soil. Like composting.
I currently work for a woman, she says I should call her Queen Victoria in my blogs, who reminds me a lot of Connie. I am grateful and happy to go two days a week to care for her children that need a nurse and feel all the love in this noisy yet very well ordered composite family. I respect her.
And thanks to someone like her, today I respect me. That was the point. That, and how an episode of Angel made the whole thing coalesce. I can never pay back the little things and miracles that have kept me not only alive but with a living heart and soul but I can pay them forward.
I hope someday that is what my home says about me; that I respect myself and I respect others. I want my home to be interesting and yet disciplined. I want it to show I know how to laugh and I value life in all its forms, that I love good food and drink, that I have more truck with Dharma than Dogma, but mostly I want it to say that I respect you and I respect me.