Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mementos and Hoarding

Braided hair
A few months ago I wanted to donate to Locks of Love, an organization that provides human hair wigs to children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.  Both of my children have donated hair to this worthy cause and I also wanted to donate.  In the end, I wasn't able to donate my hair since hair that has been chemically high lighted is not accepted.  However, it got me thinking about my first haircut.

I was in the second grade.  My father was old fashioned and didn't think his girls should have short hair.  However, after much pleading and begging, I convinced him to let me cut my hair like Twiggy, a very popular fashion model who had extremely short hair.  The result was a very stylish hairstyle and a long, braided piece of thick, healthy hair that traveled with me from childhood to adulthood.  After my failed attempt to donate my hair, I learned that old hair was acceptable to Locks of Love, as long as it met all the requirements.

So I ventured to the attic, looking for a box of childhood memories which I knew held that braid from that long ago haircut.  But I couldn't locate that box.  I looked in box after box, thinking that I had finally found what I was looking for.  I never did find it and I woke many nights wracking my brain trying to think of what could have become of all my childhood possessions.  I felt ill over the loss.  Then one day it occurred to me:  if I hadn't even thought about that box for years, how important was it to me?  My conclusion was:  not at all.

I'm not a very sentimental person when it comes to things.  Memories are wonderful to have but I've always been one to discard all but the most special items.  Of course, I do have baby books for both my children.  I've saved all of their report cards and lots of artwork.  I have one baby outfit for each of them.  And lots and lots of photos.  I save these things because I think it should be their decision as to what to do with them when they have a few years of life experience under their belts.  Personally, I like to keep most of my memories in my head.

This past week I spent cleaning out our condo in Tampa.  My husband has retired and we no longer need the place so I am preparing it to lease.  Things I had moved from our house to the condo almost 10 years ago ended up going to charity.  Several items I had saved because I thought I (or another family member) had sentimental attachment got donated.  As my vehicle had limited space for bringing things back to Virginia, I considered the true value of each object.  Almost all had no value to us but potential value for someone else.  I made several trips to a local thrift store, unloading item after item.  It was freeing as I realized much of what I felt was sentiment was really guilt.  Guilt because someone had made or bought something for us.  

Returning home, I now know I need to do another purge of my house.  So many things I hold onto really have no value to us yet take up space and energy.  As soon as I have time, I'm going to begin a room-by-room purge, where I consider the significance of each item in each room of my house.  

1 comment:

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

I know that you didn't expect this post to get by me because it totally sings my tune!

Even after ALL mu going through stuff, I still find that I end up with a small-ish bag a month. NOW the trick is to drop off and NOT go in. That was the plan on Sunday, but I did buy a pair of rockin' bubblegum pink wooden clogs for $3.99. I cannot resist real wooden clogs. So sue me! But it was like 10 things out, one thing in.

As for the hair, about 7 years ago they must have been really desperate because I went to go get a trim + was talked into a cut to donate to Locks For Love. My hair had been chemically teated and when I pointed this out as an exclusion, they said it was acceptable.