I have been disposing of my possession slowly for about the last two years–since I began to consider the idea of relocating to a Country X or Y or Z some time in the not-so-distant future. I began with the things that have hung around in cupboards and drawers that I don’t like or use anymore.
With D-Day (Departure Day) less than a week away, the pace of this kind of possession-shedding has accelerated. I’ve shifted to disposing of objects I neither need in Country X, or Country Y (actually, India, the first stop–that doesn’t need to be a secret), nor within the next few weeks.
(And that I also don’t find so wonderful and charming just to own that I must simply keep them. Like the fossil I found in my classroom two years ago. I kept that. It’s in a box. You don’t just find fossils every day.)
And then it became things I would not need this week. So, the toaster is gone. I’ve given away the iron today along with the ironing board. I threw the spices out–most of them.
I still look around and think, “I have way too much stuff.”
My baggage allowance to Country X is 20 kilos, plus a carry-on. Everything after that is about five dollars a pound. And needs to be pre-arranged.
I’d better really need it.
But as the time to leave has drawn closer, I find myself increasingly unable to cope with what needs to be done. I don’t feel anxious. I just feel like watching TV.
Star Trek Voyager has become my crack cocaine. It’s a problem.
Clearly, someone in my head has fallen back on denial. “I’m not really going anywhere,” it says. “It’s perfectly fine to watch TV all day. There are no bills to pay, no papers to sort and file, no decisions to make over what to take and what to continue to shed.”
It will be a hell of a shock to that voice when it finds itself at the airport a week from now, nearly all of my possessions in two pieces of luggage.
I’m not particularly scared of Country Y. I’m not even very afraid of Country X. Yes, it will be a change. Yes, it’s remote. Yes, the challenges will be daily, unpredictable, and no doubt frustrating.
I’ve taught in a poor school district. I know all about that.
That is not the problem. The problem is the shedding process.
If you’ve just come on-board, (I’m thinking of moving metaphors these days–I’m sure you can understand why…) then you might have missed out on an important episode in my life. The LaLa and Lucey days, when I was taken into care.
Leaving them is far and away the worst disaster that has ever befallen me. It has left me with a lingering sense of exile, of being orphaned–as if I was taken not back to my home, but to a strange country.
And the thing is it left me with a sense that nothing is ever really mine. Parents can be taken from me. Toys can be discarded. Blankies can be stolen. Pets can disappear entirely. And my teddy bear can be yanked right out of my hands.
So as I’m shedding the objects I don’t need and in many cases don’t even want, I’m left with that same sense of everything being stripped away from me.
Nevermind that my girlfriend has already arranged to meet me at the airport. I don’t believe she’ll be there–even though she always is or if she isn’t she finds someone else who can. Nevermind that I will be held and cuddled and cooked for and loved by the person who means the most to me in the world. None of that is happening. Is it?