Growing up I had a very difficult time letting go of material possessions. I definitely had Hoarder branded across my forehead. My room was always a mess (I never minded but my mother did, and often commanded my older brother and sister to clean my room for me while I stood by and watch or, likely, made more of a mess — no wonder we’re not as close as I’d like to be), and I believed all of my stuffed animals were real (full disclosure: still do). This is all coming to the forefront now since my brother told me I have four large boxes at our home, and they’re too big/bulky/expensive to ship. Of course now that my mother has no intention of leaving home, I don’t have to worry about it until something else changes, but eventually I’m going to have to fly home and figure out what I need to keep and what can be tossed. Well, I clearly don’t need any of it as I have lived without it all for twenty years, but I am still not ready to tell my brother to just toss it.

I honestly can’t really remember what might be in those boxes with some exceptions — my Smurf collection (over a hundred I think?), for one. Though I don’t know if the real treasure of that collection survived the clean-up, which was the hanging shelves that I watched my father build over the course of a weekend and which I was allowed to help paint white in the backyard. I don’t know if my brother and sister know that Dad made that, and if not I’m guessing they would have tossed it. I’ll have to figure out another way to house them if and when they ever make it across the country. I think I mean “when”, because I feel extremely sentimental about that collection, even though the two-decade separation from them hasn’t pained me in the slightest. When my sister suggested a couple of months ago that my brother would send me photos of things so I could weigh in on whether to keep or toss them,  I told them not to even send me a photo of any stuffed animals that might have survived my mother’s purges over the years — that if I saw them I’d have to save them, and I’d rather just believe they were all given away a long time ago. Sooner or later I’m going to have to deal with whatever psychological hiccup that particularly foible is…but not today.

I know there are books, but I can’t think what they might be. I’ve always kept books with me, no matter how much they weighed. I’m guessing there are school yearbooks and things like that, but I wonder if anything from my extensive Duran Duran collection has survived? Old notebooks full of fantasy stories and D&D maps? Can there really be treasures there if I have so completely forgotten about them? I don’t feel much connection with the Me’s of my past. I see a girl in a lot of denial, running away from good things in favor of the pain and drama of the bad things she thinks she deserves. I feel sad for her, but also a bit of jealousy and frustration for all the time she wasted when she had a great metabolism and smooth skin, energy to stay up late and the ability to learn new things quickly. I know those boxes don’t contain that, at least.

Mostly I have no desire to go back there. It’s not home anymore, though it’s where I grew up. Part of me believes that no good can possibly come from going back there, and that whatever is in those boxes can only bring pain and regret. Still, it looks like I’ve got a little more time to get there.

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