Thursday, May 19, 2005

To keep or not to keep, that is the question.

I'm in the process of a major sort out of my room back at my mum's house. I was going to do this anyway whilst I was round here in an attempt to declutter at least a small portion of this house but I have been further galvanised into action by the panic seizure I had the other day at the thought of all the clutter that my friends and family would have to deal with if I suddenly died!!!
So this is now part of a larger project: - to clearout as many unneccessary things as possible (how I long for the simple life) and to put everything in order in the event of my death. Some people have described this approach as pessimistic but I'd like to think of it as taking responsibility of my possesions and my life. I want to sort my life so that if I died unexpectedly people would a) not be daunted by a huge pile of my clutter b) have less painful decisions about what to keep or what not to keep and c) not stumble upon anything that might upset them.

Clearing things out is a therapeutic process, but also one that can prompt strange emotions when you find things that trigger strong memories. I've found photos, cards, letters and notes that have made me laugh, cry, wonder and frown. I'm less sentimental than I used to be and this makes parting with things a lot easier, - such as the hair I saved from my pet rabbit, Fiver who sadly got eaten by a fox! It felt wrong however just to throw the hair in the rubbish bin so it has been ritualistically scattered in the place in our garden where our other pets were buried.

Sorting stuff out has also been a mildly traumatic experience as I've stumbled upon reminders of the bits of my past I'd like to forget and pretend didn't happen. What to do with these things - should they be kept or thrown? It's good to let go of the past I think but you shouldn't blot it out either. I thought I'd tackle my diaries whilst I'm over here - pluck up the courage to read some of that 15 year old angst and decide what was best to do with it. Any advice anyone?

In the meantime I have a slightly different problem - finding them!!! My diaries are not where I thought I'd left them which is more than a wee bit alarming! Hmmmm.


At 10:45 am, Blogger I'm Over The Moon said...

You can bind them shut when you're done and burn or bury them, that's nice and theraputic. get rid of the angst for good!

At 12:18 pm, Blogger meg said...

My old diaries are sitting in my parents' loft. I'm not sure what to do with them either. I'm not sure I can bear to re-read the predictable list of "he doesn't know I exist", "I hate my parents", "I've had a minor argument with my best friend and now I HATE her and will never talk to her again", etc etc. Infact, I don't want anybody to ever read them. But it seems kind of mean to throw them away - almost like you're denying that part of your life ever happened. At the time the emotions were all very real and I don't want to deny that. Also, our teenage years aren't exactly a long time ago. Maybe in a few decades it'll be far less painful to read them and I'll be gutted if I've thrown them away.

At 3:24 pm, Blogger Katrina said...

yes, that's the problem - I don't want to deny my past and also I don't want to forget what it was like to be a teenager when I have kids and they have to go through it all. I remember being very young at primary school and being quite annoyed at the patronising way an adult spoke to me, so I resolved that I would try to write down stuff to remind me what it was like to be a child and know how to relate to children properly when I got older. Of course it doesn't quite work though because your individual experience of the world is not synonymous with everyone else's. So there's also a risk that my diaries become a lens through which to interpret my children's lives when they might not be anything like me!!! And sincerely I hope in lots of ways they are not!!!

At 12:47 pm, Anonymous Linzee said...

Personally, I have all that kinda stuff (diaries, letters, ticket stubs for the Island...) all stuffed away in a box. Sometimes I get that box out and look at its contents, but mostly I ignore it. Sometimes I weed some stuff out - it's funny how the stuff that was of monumental importance when you were 16 just doesn't matter so much anymore.

So my advice is to box it up, and forget about it, and if necessary write 'In the event of my death: not to be opened till 2050' or similar on it.

At 10:47 pm, Blogger Shizue said...

You all kept diaries? Where did you get the time? I don't really have any memorabilia, so my memories can continue to become evermore cozily inaccurate the older I become.

btw: Katrina, if a fox ate Fiver, then where did you get the fur from? presumably you didn't turn the fox upside down and shake it until it regurgitated rabbit bits?
And just how many pets are buried in your garden?! Sounds like pet cemetary.

At 10:49 pm, Blogger Shizue said...

Oh Meg, do you still have those toe-curling video diaries of us two when we were about 12?

A masochistic part of me sort of wants to see them again. Maybe.

At 7:22 pm, Blogger Katrina said...

Perhaps I better explain - the fur was no doubt collected prior to Fiver's death, I can't remember actually doing it, but I certaintly didn't turn any foxes upside down!! I didn't see the actual fox that killed, and presumably ate my rabbit, but within a week of the incident two foxes decided to squat in the burrow Fiver had dug and make it their home!! Was this just a case of opportunism or did this cunning pair of foxes plan it all in advance, with the ultimate motive being finding a mortgage free house rather than some food? Depsite their audacity I forgave them when I woke up one morning to find cute little cubs playing in our garden, sliding down the damp sun loungers that had been left out over night and clearly enjoying every minute of it!! I was fascinated by them, my mother was less so, but then she was the one that paid for the sun loungers after all!

As for the 'pet cemetary' it's nothing sinister - you've got me thinking along the lines of the creepy Stephen King film now - thanks!!! There are a couple of cats I think , one or two rabbits, possibly some gerbils and maybe even a fish (don't laugh)- I can't remember exactly!!!

P.S. I still can't find my diaries. Maybe I took them away already, I'll have to look for them in Leytonstone now.

At 12:01 pm, Blogger meg said...

Shizue - I think I do still have that video somewhere at my parents' house. It's mainly us talking about teachers and parents, and how patronising they all are because they don't realise we're very grown up twelve year olds. I have a feeling we did an update to the video when we were about fourteen. It was pretty much the same stuff but with spots and braces.


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