Moving sucks, y’all. Even when it’s happy. Even when it’s welcome. Even when you’re probably doing it again in six months (because we are). Even when it’s because a person you love wants home and where you are to be the same place. Even when you’re an organizational demi-goddess (I am) with a planning fetish (which I have).
But for all the reasons moving sucks (gas, borrowing jeeps, calling in favors from friends, a gadzillion trips up and down three flights of rickety stairs with heavy boxes in the middle of a heat wave and possible hurricane), there are ways in which it can be really cathartic. Over the last week and a half, I’ve asked myself, “Do I have room for this in my life?” or “Do I really want this?” probably two thousand times. I’ve weaned down my perfume collection, and will be gifting some of it away to dear friends who don’t have the means or inclination to spoil themselves. I packed up my papers and research from school, put it in a fire and water proof container, and shipped it off to my mom’s basement. I’m dismantling a couch with my
bear bare hands. I’ve learnt about special pick-up scheduling from the municipal trash company. Air Conditioner? That can go live at mom’s, though we do need another window fan in this heat. Do we need 2 sets of silverware? No, maybe my brother can use one set. How many crock pots do we have (so many)? Other things, too. Love letters from a lifetime ago. Pictures and drawings I know I will never hang. Gifts, trinkets, jewelry. I’ve never been the recipient of particularly extravagant gifts or tokens, but I have, in the past, had quite the tendency to keep them all at the bottom of a drawer for years. And then there’s the digital stuff — emails, text messages, blog posts, photo messages, IM’s…
Having moved as often as I have, I’ve come to view these footprints of relationships the way I look at the tide on a beach. The footprints and detritus, the shells and stones and traces and castles.. they will all be washed away when the tide comes in. There’s a freedom in that, because it washes the beach clean for a new day. There can be new castles and shells, and the sun will rise on a pristine stretch of softly rippled sand. Some of what gets washed away might have been beautiful labors of love like sand castles and sculptures; meanwhile, some of it is plastic bags and coke cans and cigarette butts that choke the beach and remind us of how other human beings can be real *ssholes.
As I purge these remnants from my home and my space, I make room for love letters I have not yet gotten. Gifts and tokens I’ve not yet received. My own drawings and photographs. Plans for bed frames made from pipe on graph paper in two different hands. My sketchpad and pens have a place to live now. The beautiful kintsugi Tom gave me for Yule is now proudly displayed in a place where it is clearly home. The gorgeous book a friend made for Tom as he made his choice to leave his job, return to school, and pursue his passion on clear display on a floating shelf where something else once hung. Plants now thrive all over the apartment — oregano, mint, thai basil, rosemary. I’d like a lavender plant; perhaps a fig or orange tree. I wonder if we can grow jasmine indoors. As each wave rolls in to the shore, this space I’ve called home becomes less mine and more ours. It becomes less a vessel for holding the dead and dying past, and more a doorway through which a future is gathering and trickling into life.
And every time I take another load of crap out to the trash, or up from the car, I’m reminded: Ours is a pretty great thing to be.
Maybe moving isn’t so bad after all.