My recent clean up unearthed a lot of paper based material that had been in the “too hard basket” for a long time. Old photos, creative writing, diaries, momentos, school exercises books and university notes. Things I had been keeping for ages, and felt intimidated by. This time I was able to assign most of these categories a status change from “too hard” to “tricky” which meant that I could manage to sort and organise them up to a point, in short bursts.
The difficulty with momentos and other items of emotional significance is that the slow and thoughtful mindset we need to appreciate them and the memories they bring back is very different from the more gungho task-centred mindset needed to do a major clean-out of the garage. The solution seems to be to make use of the energy I have for sorting and organising up to the point where I get bogged down in detail. At the very least, I aimed to put like with like, and store it all together in a place where it could be found later. All the memorabilia in a memorabilia box, all the diaries together, all the school notes together. This created a series of separate projects that can be on the radar and tackled later.
I found this quite successful. Every so often I would grab a box and filter it down to the next level, by putting like with like and throwing away things that were obviously not worth keeping. I separated old letters from old school reports then separated the letters into who they were from. I threw away some old correspondence, but couldn’t face looking at each letter in detail, so now they are organised in envelopes that I can go through when I am ready to get absorbed in the past. I did a massive cull of old school books, school notes, and university notes, keeping very little. The fact is, I am allergic to my paper based momentos, particularly notes on poor quality paper.
There are somethings I just don’t want to be reminded of, and its been great to let those things go, knowing I won’t have to run into them all over again when I have another clean up. Its also good to rediscover old gems that I had forgotten about. When I went through my old creative writing I found some pieces that could have been written yesterday, they are so consistent with how I still feel.
Just for fun, I thought I would share with you a poem I unearthed which I wrote in 1983 at the age of 22. You can already see the budding feminist minimalist tendencies emerging.
Can you tell me what to do?
Or are you all mixed up too?
Although I try to do what’s right,
To understand’s beyond my might.
Wash your hair in the right shampoo,
And don’t forget conditioner too,
Scrub and tint and then blow dry,
Hair gel, not spray will get you by.
Now shave your legs but don’t forget
to cut against the grain, and yet,
If you pluck your eyebrows too
its the opposite you must do.
If nicks and cuts are your sad story
you might try a depilatory,
But don’t make that near fatal slip
And wax hair off your upper lip.
Now wash your face and cleanse your pores,
You can use soap, you know
Of course, some will tell you its not good,
So just do what you think you should.
Cleanse and tone and don’t forget
To moisturise or better yet,
A weekly face mask made of mud
and cucumber makes tired skill glad.
Polish your nails, and while that dries,
limber up with some exercise.
And if you’re in the mood, just try it,
This month’s new fantastic diet.
There’s just so much that I don’t know,
about how to be a beauty, so
I tell myself that its no sin
To know your beauty lies within.