Surprisingly, at least to me, I had a really had time dealing with the flood of memories that came up when I opened that box of letters Monday night. I had a huge reaction where all the things I used to feel about myself and other people whomped me but good. I really had boxed those events and emotions up in my mind as well as the actual box!
As I blurted that all out to my therapist yesterday (good timing, that was), she was able to identify what was happening. That always helps, when I know what the heck is going on in my brain. She said I was having an emotional flashback. That made a lot of sense. She then explained the stages of it, which include numbness, re-feeling all hte feelings and their accompanying negative ickiness, and moving toward forgiving yourself and others, which lets you remember that while we all do things we regret or that aren’t really the kinds of things we prefer, we’re all human and doing our best, at the time.
Also among the things I found were mementos of my time volunteering and working for La Leche League (breastfeeding support organization). I know I’m doing better about THAT time, because I no longer call it “a large, international nonprofit organization.” For a while there, I got sick when I said the name.
I thought my son who’s still speaking to me was coming over this evening, but when we realized he wasn’t coming, Anita and I had only one thought: let’s unpack more boxes! Sure, it was over 100 degrees again, but we hydrated and got to unpacking.
Unfortunately, the first box we went after contained a faux flower arrangement that had been sitting in the “art niche” at our Braesgate house for close to 20 years. I’m thinking it hadn’t been dusted very often ever. I think we lost a couple of years of lung health as we picked up fake flower after fake flower, trying to find what was at the bottom of the box.
I’m certainly glad what was at the bottom was my Charlie Brown pottery vase. (He was a relative on my mother’s side who used clay from near the St. John’s River to make raku ware, which it turns out was a little brittle, so the top of my vase broke.) By the way, somewhere around the house is a Christmas ornament he made – the article I linked to above said Vice President Mondale had one in his house, too.
This whole unpacking of boxes in the garage and general removing unnecessary stuff from my house thing is not becoming easier for me. However, I am still doing it! Yes! And that’s why I honestly think someone should give me a gold star or something. So, I made myself an award on Bitmoji. I’m very proud of this award.
What keeps me going?
Certainly the lifting of heavy boxes of books and empty CD cases (Lee’s) is not a motivating factor. The heat isn’t helping (though it isn’t bad in the garage). Yeah, having more space in the garage is nice, but the real thrill is…
Back in Austin, I knew doing some more sweaty unpacking would help me deal with the ridiculous amount of poorly handled work stress I dealt with today. So, I came home and immediately dragged out some really heavy boxes, so that I could create some empty shelf space to store tools and holiday decor.
Most of the boxes had the knitting and craft magazines I swore I’d get rid of when I got to them, so I did. That’s painful. But I’m keeping my knitting books, so there! Sewing books will get donated. I really don’t think I’ll be getting a lot of sewing done in the future, since I keep having to work on new startups and nonprofits. And yes, I’m the one who volunteered to do this stuff.
I’m really glad I looked in all the stuff before throwing it out, because I found numerous academic degrees, awards, and important documents. I even found the hospital bracelet my mom wore when I was born, in among the magazines. Whew. I’d hate to lose those diplomas and the all-important Phi Beta Kappa membership. I really should have put this stuff somewhere more secure.
While Anita and I were cleaning out boxes last night, I stumbled upon where I hid some treasures, including teen diaries, weird poems a friend wrote me, and the BEST were these photos from around 1983, which seem to have been singled out for some reason. We got quite a kick out of the fashion statements in the photos, so I thought I’d share a few.
By the way, I have cropped a few of them, because I didn’t want to put photos of my boyfriend at the time up in public without his permission. He’s a nice guy (and brilliant) and I like him, so he is not cropped from spite!
I had a lot of fun identifying where the photos were taken. I assume if I get it wrong, my brother or sister will let me know.
I’m not sure why this is the case, but when I was younger, I never looked back. When I left a place or an institution, I was really bad at maintaining ties. For example, I didn’t remain in touch with any friends from high school (other than my boyfriend, since he was with me in college and most of grad school) until the last few years. Facebook helped with that. And while I do have a couple of grad school friends, such as my favorite fellow student (that’s Steve H) and favorite professor (that’s Georgia M), I’ve lost touch with most people other than a random hello.
What about my four years of growth and learning at the University of Florida (where I never managed to see any of my high school friends who were there at the same time)? I have one, count ’em one, friend from my undergrad years. That’s Liz from Japanese class. Someone has to share those Swann-sensei memories with me.
That was true until this week, when I finally got back in touch with the only undergrad teacher I’d considered a friend. I’d thought about him often, through the years, and always had held him up as an example of how you really get educated in important things like social skills and political dialogue (that was drinking extremely cheap beer at the Rathskeller every week for three or four years). But, I hadn’t been in touch with him for a very long time, though I’d looked off and on.
We’ve decided to activate the website for The Hermit Haus, our meeting center at the former First Christian Church in Cameron. We are interested in knowing more of the history of the church, and would love it if any of you know about events or people of interest that happened during the long history of the church.
While you’re there, we appreciate suggestions for the website and blog, since it’s new. We are excited that we may get to host the El Camino Real Master Naturalist meetings and class there next year. Anyone else want to rent out the building for meetings? The upstairs is all set! The downstairs still needs air conditioning, though!