Off the grid

A few weeks ago, I got “the itch”. I looked around my domicile and every square inch was covered. The tops of cabinets held dusty artifacts that had long ago become cozy homes for spiders. Cabinets were as packed as my pants. There was no room at the inn.

The thing about stuff is that it permeates every pore of our idea of what home is and all of our empty spaces beg and plead to be filled. We happily concede away from minimalism. We are all collectors. We are connoisseurs of life’s flattened pennies. Things = time and time passes quickly.

I started with the goddamn kitchen because that’s what I call it. The goddamn kitchen was full of the mother I want to be. The stand mixer that I’d never used. I took it out and I let it go and with it, I let go of my dream that one day I would be the woman making 15 dozen cookies for my son’s soccer team. He hates sports. I burn cookies. The english stoneware tea set I found at a hospice store in Burbank before my daughters were born. I was so sure we would have a tea party with real tea cups. It turns out, I am not the mother who plays tea party with real cups. “Let me go!”, they said and I did because some dreams have to die, or, be shipped to Chicago to another mother who will find the cups and saucers’ true calling.

And for days and now weeks, this practice has continued. Letting go of the small toys that their big hands no longer touch. Letting go of the idea of who we are and who they are. We were frozen in time, tied to dusty wooden train tracks and clinging to the dolls with dirty faces and unbrushed hair.

And my closet…dear Zeus…my closet. A time capsule of forget-me-nots and 4 inch heels and sizes my hips would burst through like the Kool-Aid pitcher through a brick wall. I need to make room in my closet for the body I have because I love it and it deserves its time to shine. It’s hard to find space for the new you when your hangers are pressed against a size 4 teal number that looks like I stole it off of an extra on the set of Showgirls. I am not that girl anymore. Wait, I’m that girl’s much older sister and, while she is still there, she is not living fully right here and right now and my closet was a fucking living memorial to my 20s. I flung things on to my bed and when I was done, I kept the glitter zebra print Pat Benatar shoes because you’ll have to rip my beating heart out of my chest first.

This process is intense and really quite beautiful. Every day, we learn to let go and the fear that kept us clinging to these things is gone. The fear that says, “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. This is who I am and I can’t let that go.”

“They’re JUST things.”, I’ve been known to say. But, I know it’s not true. They are pieces of a life built and they mean something. They mean a great deal. But, there is a difference between reverence for the past and being held captive by it.

We’re not done. Not even close. A little bit, every day, we watch our rooms and home transform into our present selves. It’s inspiring and it’s exciting. Seeing how much space we have to grow into the next chapter. What is going to fill that spot of the stand mixer? Probably a recessed wine fridge. Yes, change is good.

I may even wear those zebra heels next week. To the market. On a Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m. – just to pay reverence. If for no other reason than the fact that after the great purge and a great reconciliation, you should really embrace and honor the things you keep. A reminder of how far you’ve come and how damn good your ass looks when you wear heels.

"There's no place like home. There's no place like home."

“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”





Comments

  1. Please tell me you’ll be wearing the Pat Benatar shoes to the Blog U party!

  2. Thanks for the inspiration once again, you beautiful woman! I am, as always, in awe of your strength. It’s always been hard for me to remember, when throwing things out that were gifts, “You’re not throwing away the person who gave it to you; it’s just a thing.”
    And the stand mixer loves it new home. :-) More karma cookies will come to your door soon!

  3. I. Fucking. Love. You.

  4. And here I was feeling so darned proud of myself for tossing my grandkids baby forks and spoons in the trash today. I mean, after all they’re only six and seven years old. I guess maybe I could throw out the clay candle holder my son made in kindergarten. He’ll only be 30 this November. Yes, definitely time to rid my house of the things my kids made when they were young. After all I’ll need the space to display my grandkids works of art.

  5. I was going to just throw a match in my closet and see what survives, but this makes more sense. Congrats for doing it. And for keeping those shoes.

    • Throw a match in and see what survives – Amy – I know we could be friends!

      Bethany – Love the shoes – hate the clutter – throwing stuff away starting tonight. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. The part of my closet filed under “this could work as a halloween costume!” Is getting far too big.

    Also, today I found not only lollipop making sticks but also fondant, each at least 3 yrs old. Who am I/was I kidding?

  7. This is beautiful and brave and funny and true and all the things. I’ve been searching for the inspiration – no, the permission – to purge like this and let go. This is exactly what I needed. xoxo p.s. Those shoes are amazing. WERK!

  8. I love this … and I truly, truly need to do this. Your post is exactly the kick in the pants that I needed.
    And the shoes are simply divine!

  9. This was such an incredible piece. I loved how you interwove everything funny, sassy and wise into one kickass story. This one needs to be tucked away and shared with your kids when they get older. It really shows their true mom and what you hold to be important. LOVE THIS!! I’m going to go read it again, Dammit!

  10. Maybe it’s the coming of spring, but I’ve been getting itchy too. I think about all the thing that need to be out of here. Stuff I haven’t touched since we moved here almost 2 yrs ago. Gotta do some purging.

    But those shoes. Holy Mary, mother of god!! Those are badass!

  11. OK, I read “flattened penises” the first time. That threw me off entirely, and kind of scares me about my subconscious.

    Thank you for the laugh and the incentive to do the same thing. I have a glass and ornate silver coffee carafe on top of my fridge that I have pictured playing a major role in the dessert service of one of our fabulous dinner parties. Except we have a Keurig. Oh, and we don’t have dinner parties. Except the ones that involve pizza boxes and chicken wings.

  12. There’s some kind of magic in the way that a bunch of wood and drywall and glass arranged at right angles on a slab of concrete can become something more than a mere assemblage of construction materials. I’ve lived places that had no soul. Places that seemed little more than shells, uninspiring storage containers for living bodies, uninspiring storage containers for the detritus of a lifetime. Lots of times, you’ve got to clear things away to uncover the soul of a place. To find enough quiet space for your own soul to rest comfortably.

    My wife would argue about it being “detritus”; she’d probably be more on your side about meaning and nostalgia and talismans that invoke beautiful memories. Thing is, so much “stuff” exists as both detritus and magical, and that’s why it’s so hard to get rid of. This was a cool read; I identify.

  13. Purge and clear in your badass heels! Then come kick my ass because I need to majorly clear some space. Ellen

  14. Katie Gerarge says:

    Just love this. I’m in the process of de-stashing baby stuff and I’ve found it to be a combination of heartache and catharsis. But, I wanted to mention that we put in a recessed wine cooler in our kitchen last year, and by God, it’s one of the most solid parenting decisions we’ve ever made. You won’t regret it.

  15. I was ruthless when I packed to move. It was so freeing. The giant trash bags full of stuff that would find a new home via Goodwill or the women’s shelter. That stuff was weighing me down when someone else could treasure it. Good for you. And good choice keeping those shoes. Here’s a goal: let’s go somewhere that demands that kind of footwear.

  16. I love to get rid of crap. It’s so cathartic! Things change. Yah, I might get around to the hobby I used to do when I was single and kidless, but by the time I get around to it, there will be all new gadgets to buy. I’ve been pared down for awhile now, but mainly because I keep moving every fucking year. I love the way you write..keep talking to me.

  17. I love this post. It’s a philosophical and funny perspective on such a mundane chore. A chore I am still not inspired to do. But you got me as close as I’ve been in years. BTW, I’ve got a purse that will match those shoes perfectly. I’ll bring it to BlogU.

  18. You have spoken my life and done it better than I ever could. I admire your attitude about this whole process. You are officially hired to come move my family and me. xoxo

  19. I know you hear it often, but I’ll say it anyway. I fucking love your way of seeing the crazy world of parenting. I read a lot of your Facebook posts out loud to my husband, well because he is as twisted as I am. I am always saying things like, “my kids are totally screwed for polite society.” Not because they are screaming heathen monsters, but because they have two of the most outspoken, sarcastic, and laugh at what most people find completely inappropriate parents paving their path to adulthood. Yet somehow they have, so far, turned out pretty fucking spectacular. Thank you for always cracking me up, and helping me remember what it was like when mine were small.

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