Sunday, May 10, 2009

does simple have to mean empty?

in an effort to plan, in faith, on moving to seattle in the fall, we had a huge garage sale this weekend to ditch anything that simply occupies space in our big house, in order to take only what we really need, as we will be downsizing.

the garage sale went great - friday was a much better day than saturday - but we sold our guest bedroom set up, our basement couches, lamps, pictures, mirrors, toys, baby things, was cathartic to clear things out, but when i stepped back into an undecorated house i thought, "i'm trying to simplify, but now things feel empty."

i know i was mostly looking for the things that used to be in places that now there is nothing. the rooms seem barren without furniture, obviously, but even missing a ficus here and a candle there makes things feel very unfinished.

in my quest to simplify, i'm asking myself, "what does simplicity even look like?" was i holding on to things to merely occupy space in order to avoid the feeling of unfinishedness? there wasn't anything that i sold that i regret selling or wished i could have held onto. frankly, all my decorating style is a remnant of what i thought a house should look like, but was no reflection of who i am or my personality. did i fill my house up with tchotchkes and knickknacks to give the illusion that i'm full, complete, finished? because if so, it was just that, an illusion.

what you see in my home now is much more reflective of who i am - confused, unfinished, unpolished. there are holes where pictures used to be hung. there are vast exspanses of walls that have nothing on them. there is clutter that used to be on dressers or end tables, that now has no where to go.

i feel like i need to apologize to the property manager who is trying to get my house rented for the condition it is currently in. i need to tell her this isn't how we live, but that we're in transition. i'd like to explain how things used to look and promise her it will be in show-home condition soon. i'll have to figure out exactly how to do that with nothing left to fill in the nothingness.

i wish i didn't have to apologize and explain my home in the same way i wish i didn't have to explain my life to outsiders. no, i am not in show-home condition, either. my heart has holes where irreplaceable joyous moments of my youth once were. there is a vast canvas in my mind for ideas and concepts anew. and the clutter - oh, the clutter! there is so much of my identity, my name, my supposed tos that i've held onto for a lifetime that used to go here and there and now have no place to go.

i'll project myself to be in better condition to those who don't know me well. but to others, will you still come to my house, even if there isn't a couch to sit on? will you make yourself at home, even though i'm a blank canvas with no answers and no energy left to entertain you? will you stop by and visit me, daring, as you trip over the boxes of my confusion and the trash bags of my lost dreams? will you help me rummage through what's left of the ransacked debris and help me decide what to keep and what to throw away?

will you help me simplify without emptying me?


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