Friday, October 5, 2018

What Became of it

I was thinking the other day about some vintage gloves I'd given away to an acquaintance, one I'd hoped would become a friend but never did. I wondered if they had ever been worn, if perhaps they had been thrown away or sold. I was sad, and wished that I had kept them, but of course I couldn't as I was frantically downsizing in a crisis and couldn't take them with me. It's hard to come to terms with a fizzled friendship, but it's easy to focus on the material objects we held in common for a while. Why did our friendship not flourish? So many subtle reasons, so many factors I can never wholly know and have probably embellished or forgotten in time. But I can clearly see the gloves: they were mine, and then they were a gift that made me feel generous and joyful in a time of grief, and then they were gone and so was the recipient. Her features have faded in my memory; the pattern of the gloves has not. Why?

It happens, that sometimes we give away objects and they don't make the recipients as glad as we'd hoped, or they don't seem as tied to them (or, if we extrapolate as object-oriented people often do, to us) as we'd imagined they would be.  Maybe we'd given away something we were still emotinally attached to, because we cared for a person or because we had too many objects and hoped to find new, caring homes for some of them. Maybe we thought the person needed that thing, but they didn't see it that way.  Maybe wastefulness upsets us, and we watch things being heaved in a dumpster with horror. Maybe it's upsetting that we kept some stupid thing (rubber band ball, anyone?) for years and it's just plain worthless to everyone we ask, and no home can be found for it. We cannot make someone cherish

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Make two inner voices, instead of one.

Several talks about stuff and messages I give myself about how my stuff reflects who I am have reminded me the way I deal with self-hate has evolved quite a lot this last year. The most helpful thing for me is to remind myself that loving myself well is (for me) more about respect. I say and do things to myself I would never want anyone else to say or do to themselves, because "I need the hard truth," or

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

(Un)fashionable Me

Over the last 30 or so years I've dipped in and out of fashion (I have a love/hate relationship with sewing and mending/modifying). Sometimes I like to be cutting edge, sometimes I like being purposefully out of fashion, for the last five years I mostly just wore jeans and nondescript t-shirts. But continuity has been a linchpin of my looks - wearing a dress for ten, even twenty years in different ways, cutting it in two to make a top or skirt when another part is damaged, that sort of thing. I still held on to vintage or unusual clothes I'd had back when I lived in Hamtramck, and wore them sometimes to class at Boise State University; but I mostly stopped wearing them when I left Idaho. I didn't want to stand out. I wanted to not draw attention to myself. I wanted to seem more normal, more responsible, more hire-able, more like my old boyfriend's friends,

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Our possessions define, portray, and heal our mental illnesses

I've been giving some thought to this subject lately, for personal reasons as well as thinking back over all the people I've worked with through the years. I've written before about how PTSD from an earlier trauma resurfaced when I experienced other loss. It turned ownership of family things into a kind of obsession for me: I could not let go of objects that reminded me of love I once had (or wished I had) and they became "holy objects" even though not one of them was "valuable."

I cringe when I remember screaming at my then-husband for breaking a teacup

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Story of Stuff

Here's a short movie that gave me much to think about today as I am organizing closets. Thinking about waste helps me keep focus on how to help people understand what to save, what to buy, and what to recycle - and how to find the right folks to trade with. We do a lot of re-purposing in my house (broken jewelery gets pooled and remade, books are passed all around the family, clothes get taken apart and re-imagined for someone else or sent along to the thrift). How do you feel after you watch it?