Because I wrote about living simply and with fewer things, it’s only fitting that I look at the other side of the equation. Why and what defines what we keep? In Dante’s Inferno, the fourth circle of hell is reserved for “the hoarders and the wasters.” The hoarders spend their lives acquiring wealth and material possessions—represented as giant boulders—and are forever doomed to push the crushing weight of the rocks against the opposing force of wasters. So true. The material things we bring into our lives are a burden; they have to be cared for, cleaned, repaired, ect. Yet there are some things that despite maintenance, I keep and won’t give up. Why?
When I asked myself this question, my blog came to mind. Sometimes I think what I do is silly, maybe even a little narcissistic. “What do you do?” someone will ask. “I blog.” Cringe. Even though Madalynne is not a material possession, it is something I’ve held onto for 6 years and I won’t let go. There have been more times than I can count on my hand when I woke up at 3:30 a.m. to work on a project or a blog post. Yet I never have looked at it as a burden. Never. That’s because it’s part of me. By sharing and connecting with like-minded people, I have become better at my craft. Hell, I even got my current job because of it. Just like a child, I would never consider giving it up. Not after a long night, month, or year. You give life to a child life and I did the same to Madalynne.
When it comes to material possessions, the things I keep are also a part of me. In the middle of my apartment is a bookshelf. It’s actually more a display cabinet. In addition to books by Twyla Tharp, Claire Scaeffer, Richard Nichols, JD Salinger, and Malcolm Gladwell, I also have artwork by Janet Hill and Cailtin McCormick and pictures of my mom and my family. An old Martha Pullen Pleater and vintage Barbie (more on that new acquisition next week) are house together in this one piece of furniture. The pieces are all so different, but together, represent me. Girly, reflective, intuitive, and car and sewing obsessed, it’s a culmination of everything Maddie. I just can’t let go of any of it because that would throw off the whole equation.
When it comes to clothes, again, the same applies. If it’s my style, then I keep it. And for me, that’s easy to figure out. If I haven’t worn it in 6 months or for more than one season, I trash it. Also, if I never end up liking the way I look when wearing it, it goes in the discard pile.Point blank.
So, that’s the line I’m defining between trashing and keeping. We come into the world with nothing and we leave with nothing, but in order to depart fulfilled, you have to fill the in between with the meaningful and the worthwhile. Friends, family, experiences, and possessions all included.
Oh, and that project that involves that polka dot brocade… this masochistic sewer decided to bedazzle it with round, navette and pear rhinestones. Stay tuned!