I am not materialistic. I used to be. Possessions were the only thing I could truly connect to and they really felt like a way to connect to a place, a person, and even to my self. (god that makes me sound feral)
Over the course of my life I have acquired complete kitchen sets, bedroom furniture, living room furniture and so on. I lived alone and always bought exactly what I wanted to please myself. At the height of my success as a self employed massage therapist I was raking in the dough and since I didn't think I would live past 40 I bought whatever I wanted. It wasn't until I started having lots of pain and couldn't work as much as I used to, and sometimes not at all, I realized I needed some money for the downpours in life. It was then too, in my mid thirties that I started changing. I realized how superficial I was. I think I started to connect the dots differently and got it that I didn't need to fill up my house with stuff and could do quite well with little or nothing. I went through some strange periods of getting rid of as much as I could, a complete purge if you will of possessions and it was empowering and just as addictive as obtaining things. (a sort of materialistic bulimia) But somehow I would end up a few months later obtaining things again albeit aesthetically opposite from whatever I had last time. I found I got bored easily and hated feeling like 'this is me'. If my whole house had this kind of furniture I felt like it. I had to change it if I wanted to feel differently or else feel trapped.
Okay that was a strange phase and it stopped when I had to leave the rental house and move to an apartment. (photo above) See that red round chair? Its the only picture I have of it. It is the bane of my existence. I lived in that apartment for a little over a year and when I moved there I bought that chair. When I later had my crisis and decided to quit massage and just drive out into the world with no clue what was next I couldn't decide what to do with some things. Part of me didn't think I would make it out there and I would hate myself if I got rid of absolutely EVERYTHING. Especially that chair. It was brand new, five feet in diameter, red, comfortable, and the coolest thing I had ever sat in. I paid about $1500 for it and couldn't find anyone to buy it when I was getting rid of things to sell. I had just enough one of a kind nice pieces of furniture and many computers that I had been teaching myself to take apart and work on....how could I just get rid of it? It was my only anchor back to life should I need to come back. Everything fit nicely into a 5 x 10 storage unit. $40 a month.
Four years later, every month I still pay $40 a month. Which isn't much, but when you are living on a credit card it starts to feel like a mortgage payment. I can't afford to get back to Arizona. I have no idea if or when I will ever get back there, to that chair. I loved that stupid chair. I own nothing now. Being on the road...being a care taker at a house I don't need possessions. Just art supplies. Sometimes I lay in bed and start worrying about those possessions locked away. Or I actually meditate on it. Its a practice for letting go. I pretend I'm losing everything and experiencing the sensation of nothingness. I have little or no mementos of myself or anyone I knew. I shredded everything that was important, I had little to begin with from all of my purges, but I managed to have a few photos and things that felt sinful to get rid of. Let me tell you, it was empowering when I ripped up the rest of my stuff. So why does that red chair pose such a problem? Why don't I just call the storage place and say you take it, I'm done? Because a part of me feels like one day I will once again live somewhere (the Dwell home remember?).....that I will want just one room that is comfortable and filled with some things. I know I don't need much. I have used the same small glass plate and a drinking glass for four years. Its monastic and simple. We have plenty of dishware here supplied at the house but I prefer my little plate for nearly everything. And I used to have sets of dishes. Sets of sheets. Sets of towels. You name it. (I wasn't rich, but in my eyes I was if that makes sense)
The Red Chair. The Red Round Chair. The few things that make me feel like I exist, even if I don't have them near me. I know I will be uncomfortable with everything should I actually ever get it back into possession. I will touch those items and not want them because they will be more like sluffed off snake skin.
I think ultimately everything comes down to mortality. Holding on to looks, possessions, a person...all has to do, at least for me, with the fear of dying. What do I hold onto now? I hold onto fear. Hope. Possibility. More importantly I am concentrating more on what I do not hold onto. I let people go now. I try to let go of that red chair. Its always in the morning or after a nap, if I don't pop out of bed that my mind takes me to the dark places. More and more I try to let myself be alright with losing everything in storage. I think what if the place calls me some day to tell me they lost their lease and I have to move my shit? I can't do it. I'd have to let it go. What if I can't afford it anymore? I think its more than possessions....it's a part of me, the very last part of me. Why would I hold onto that part of me? There isn't anything about that part of me I want to remember or care for.
Its like life. I think when and if I am conscious of leaving life, I will hold onto life. Even though life has felt hard and I have hated most of it. It is the only thing I am aware of and I hold on to it. It, or 'I' am a possession of sorts am I not? Letting go is what it is all about.
Why is this on my blog? I don't know. I think about people I know that are facing the same things. I have a friend in MN right now that was my boss when I was on the road and I lived there a winter. She always envied me. She was married at the time and hated where she lived. She was trapped. Now she is divorced....and life has squished her to the point of having to do something drastic. House is gone. Work is over. She is embarking on a road trip with two teenagers nonetheless. Got rid of stuff and bought a tent and hits the road in a few weeks. I think of Misplaced and his wife. People that have to decide what to keep and what to rid themselves of. I have friends who hoard things and want so much to live life but until they can let go they wont. I think of my roomates mom who has a house to let go of and a life to go live. I think of my sister who got divorced last year and how many years were wasted because of fear....and when she finally let go of it all ~ all kinds of things came to her. Over and over the test hits us like a wave. Over and over it washes over us and bumps us off coarse and moves us elsewhere.
Maybe this too is a metaphor for making art. You have to let go. Let go of what you think it all means. What you mean. There is too much ground to cover, if you go back, even once, you will miss out.