Thursday, April 30, 2009

Diving into the Wreck

As many of you may or may not know, SSG has a degree in English.  You can imagine how handy that is at her job as a FINANCIAL ANALYST.  

(Though she does frequently get compliments on how easy her reports are to read.)

A poem I studied in one of my classes years ago has been bubbling to the surface over the last couple of months.  Adrienne Rich's poem Diving into the Wreck, is what I've affectionately deemed this spring cleaning 2009 extravaganza.

You can read the text version here or if you dig on the spoken word, check it here.

I started cleaning my garage this past weekend.  Perhaps you've heard SSG has been spring cleaning?  I haven't mentioned it much.  Kind of like when I went to France last year (SSG tends to throw her whole self into things).

My garage looks incredible.  And after a few more rounds with the recycling and trash, all that will be left in there will be my car, trash cans and some holiday decorations in those stackable plastic bins.  I smile every time I walk in there or open the garage door when I get home.

I think it's part of a process of letting my old stuff go.

The last couple of years I've spent diving into the wreck that was my mind--a tangled mess of tragedy, denial, self protection and utter drive to create a life of my choosing--to go to college, move cities, excel at jobs, buy a house, forge and maintain friendships, go on dates and ultimately experience all that this life has to offer.  

But I was doing it all from a dingy.  While hanging out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  

I was floating on the surface.  But I just wasn't going anywhere.  Life was all around me.  But I was stuck.  Solo.  And my boat was starting to feel way too small.

As I was sifting through the contents of my garage, I realized everything was from 2006.  

Three years ago.  

The year I broke my elbow, lost both of my grandparents, had my book turned down by a publisher after their initial interest, put my cat to sleep when he got cancer, worked 60 hour work weeks with a boss so bad we deemed him the Seagull because of his penchant to shit all over everything.   And at the end of the year, my mother.  Oh ... my mother ... threw out a very generous life raft that looked like it was the solution to all of my problems, only to yank it away just as I was about to grab it.

Mah boat had sprung a leak.  And I was drowning.  

At the time, I couldn't see any of it.  Instead, I was beating myself up in my journal about why I couldn't pull myself out of bed and how come I hadn't gone to the grocery store and GAH are you EVER going to get your shit together, woman?  And WHY DO YOU CRY when you lay down at yoga class?  What's the matter with you?

I couldn't even carry things into the house that year.  Everything was left in the garage.

Last weekend, I sat on my garage floor shaking my head as I looked over my life that year.   

Bit by bit, and with a TON of compassion, I dealt with everything I came across.

Most of it was finally thrown away.
Many items were donated to those who I know will happen upon them at the exact moment the need arises.
Others were recycled ... ready to become something new.

As Adrienne Rich wrote ...

I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail ...

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck

I am almost ready to come back to the surface ...

Just right after I clean my damn office.


T said...

It never fails to amaze me how we hang onto "stuff". I've been looking at my basement and thinking the same thing.

Congrats on cleaning out 2006 - you should be proud of yourself!

Molly said...

Oh, I love to see a good person prevail!

But could you come to Atlanta and direct me in the cleaning out of my basement?

The Incredible Woody said...

Wow, that was powerful! Motivates me to face my 'boxes'.

Living on the Spit said...

Now I want to leave work and go clean.

Anonymous said...

LOVED today's entry! I'm inspired....not the first time your blog has had that effect on me. thank you: )

ab said...

I think that cleaning, especially cleaning out old possessions, is so therapeutic.

belladella said...

This is so well written, so beautifully expressed- and of course funny like always. It's so hard to let go sometimes. You inspire me- and many more I am sure! said...

WOW! That was so inspiring! Not to sound patronizing but, I am so proud of you!
That was very well said! said...

Er, it's me again. Back to tell you that you have been tagged for a meme! How do I know this? Glad you asked. Go by my site and check it out! ;-)

Lys said...

Ahhh -the curse of "stuff". I've got a ton of that crap to go through before the move. Ugh - hello Ebay.

Anyhooo - i digress. I'm glad you were able to work through some past items and are in a much better place *hugz*