Out went the years of credit card statements. The unused curtain rods. Cans of spray paint. The remnants of a previous career.
I’ve written about this before. The relief of discarding. Even my husband, the arbiter of cleanliness in our house, looks at me with exasperated eyes. “I just bought that.”
Still, I search closets, rifle through drawers, fill more bags with clothes for donation. The trash men must groan as they approach my house.
I know this is a stress reaction. The desire to control the uncontrollable. The ugliness in our country. The sense of violence that hovers just one provocation away.
My husband and I are not moving. There are no plans to downsize in the near future, and yet I feel like I must prepare for its possibility. Anticipate a catastrophe that my rational mind knows is remote.
Will fewer shoes make our getaway faster?
And the boxes of old files in rough proximity to those aging degreasers? Imagine the conflagration!
Our community has cooperated in my mission. Free drop-off days at the dump. Shredding events. Hazardous waste disposal. As if they knew that a purge is the only cure for this overarching desire to flee. The truth is stuff makes me feel vulnerable. It needs to be protected. It needs to be easily located, always staying top of mind while my brain is trying to process how our country got to this point.
This no longer feels like the silly season. It becomes harder to dismiss the gulf widening in our country. The seeming impossibility for either candidate to bridge it. This time, I am more than concerned. I am frightened. Will the results of this election be accepted? Will the stoking of hate cease? Will politicians choose the greater good of the country over individual ambition? Is there something even more unthinkable to come before rational minds prevail?
I hear the words movement. Revolution. I remember when they were used to bring peace. Now they hint at hate. And war.
Still, there is too much stuff. Another rack of unworn clothing. Unmarked paint cans that require more investigation. Two more weeks to go. How many empty shelves will mitigate the stress?
And so I shed like a skin. Perhaps losing the outer layer will reveal not a thinner, more delicate skin, but a nimbler one.
I am going nowhere.