Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Letting Go

In preparation for my next big leap into the unknown, I've been slowly getting rid of the stuff I've accumulated during my stay here in Bangkok. I'm far from being a hoarder, but clearly my stuff just keeps on piling up nonetheless.

I still can't believe I've amassed so much shit over those years, considering I regularly threw away clothes, bags, and shoes I hardly used. I also gave some of my books away whenever I went home to Las Islas Filipinas.

Out of necessity this time, I had to be more thorough in paring everything down to the most necessary things. Or to be more precise, making sure all my possessions would fit in just one large suitcase.

Surprisingly, it's not hard to let go of my clothes and shoes. I just couldn't be bothered losing some of them. I realized I hardly wear sixty percent of my clothes anyway. Either they're way too small, too big, or have bad quality (which was mostly the case). I'm just happy to get rid of them.

There are pants for instance I haven't worn for years. I just hung them inside the closet hoping that (1) I'd wear them someday or (2) I'd lose weight. Both never happened, especially number 2, but that's another blog post.

I gave perhaps fifty percent of my unwanted clothes to some friends and colleagues, while the rest of the clothes had to be thrown away because they're not meant to be worn anyway, say, a polyester shirt (why did I buy that in the first place?).

The hardest to give away are my books. Obviously, they are of no practical use after I read them, but I collect them anyway. I like how they look. I take pride in my carefully arranged book shelf. And whenever I see one book for instance it stirs up thoughts about its contents and memories of where and when I read them.

Every time I give away a book I feel like I'm saying good bye to one of my babies (not that I actually know how it's like to be a mother, but who cares; I'm a drama queen after all). I try to match the person's interest with the book I give them so that they can be good "foster parents".

The things I'm not letting go are my travel mementos. They are by no means expensive keepsakes. Most of them are cheap cliches bought at the airport souvenir shop or some tourist market. But most likely I'd never go back to the places where I bought them, so they are irreplaceable. And of course it's the memories that count.

I have a clique of dolls from Yunnan, Hanoi, Yangon, and Seoul... they're snooty little bitches in ornate costumes and heavy make up. I have masks from Singapore and Sri Lanka watching over me while I sleep. I have cheap paintings from Kolkata, Chiang Mai, and Yangon huddled together above my bed. A quilt from Jakarta, scarves from Laos and Siem Reap, pottery from Ban Chiang, an umbrella from Yangon, etc. Gosh, there are just lots of them lying around my bedroom.

The challenge is to fit them in one suitcase, which I will banish into the darkness of the office's storeroom for the time being. I hope by the time I come back to pick them up they haven't turned to dust yet.

There's something cathartic about throwing some of my stuff away. It's a way to release things that I shouldn't own anyway. The questions I keep on asking my self are: do I really NEED any of them? do they have any practical use? can they be replaced? It turns out, I can get rid of probably eighty percent of what little possessions I have.


Teng said...

I feel for you. I moved in to my new house a month ago. To start a new life I told myself. Only to be surrounded by old worthless crap that I've accumulated all these years. Discard them I will. Off to the evacuation centers they will go.

Anonymous said...

Walk away with just your suitcase, & start life anew. It can be liberating.

Justin Meyers said...

As far as books go, in the last three years or so I have been using the Kindle, so I can keep all my books with me whenever I want.Once you get used to it it's really a great device and keep at hand all the time.

n said...

I can understand how you feel about your books. I'm going through the same thing. I fee like I have a responsibility to them and cannot just give them away randomly. Yes, finding good foster parents is a must!


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