stories about memories

messes and memories.

at several points in time, i’ve meant to write a rambling post about how much i love my apartment, but haven’t done it yet.
this isn’t that post; i just thought i’d mention that so that, for the purpose of background info for the rest of what i’m actually writing about, you’d know that i do in fact absolutely love this place.

i just cleaned my entire room in 24 minutes flat.
as i guiltlessly put on an episode of Friends and sat down to play candy crush for a while, i started wondering why it’s so easy to clean here. true, my room is still usually a mess just like my room at home, but when i do get fed up with it and want it to be clean, i can set my mind to attacking the mess and get rid of it in usually less than half an hour. whereas if i start cleaning my room at home, i work for five minutes, get stressed out, and decide i don’t need to spend any time there unless i’m sleeping.

then last night, i found the answer.
as my getting ready to sleep routine goes, i wrote my to-do list for today(which read “CLEAN ROOM” in all caps at the top), and crawled in bed with the third book of the sisterhood of the traveling pants. i’ve read all four books more times than i can count(at least ten), but i still find something new every time i reread them. i came across this line and realized why.
“had she ever thrown anything out in her whole life? there were layers and layers of Tibby detritus both on the walls and on the floor…it was dusty and stuffy and it bothered her.”
that’s literally me. i always refer to cleaning my room as an excavation, because the more i clean, the further back i can trace my whole life.

my apartment is only me and my life now; the only memories in here are the ones i chose to bring. but my room at home is full of ghosts.
it’s easy to clean when it’s just putting away clothes and throwing papers from weeks ago into folders. it takes hours to clean when everything i find has a story attached to it. so it doesn’t stress me out to clean this room, but it also doesn’t have as much personality as my old room.
i’m learning that i have a major love-hate relationship with memories. i’ve saved everything my whole life, in hopes that i could look back at them one day.
past linda didn’t know that looking at them would be so hard for future linda.
people have said i live in the future too much. i’m always counting down to what’s next, talking about how excited i am for things happening later. they’ve told me i need to appreciate the present more. and i’ve always agreed.
i’m realizing that i like the future is because i’m afraid of the past. the present always reminds me of the past; the future, i can imagine that it’ll be brand new and different.
and yet, i don’t want the things in the past to go away. i want them to stay where they are, and think about them when i feel like it, and not have the present bring them up anytime it wants.
i want to remember how happy i was at certain times, without getting sad when i realize the present will never have that specific kind of happy again.
i want the past to stay contained in the past, and the present to stay unaffected by it.
so i hide it all away in boxes. but the fact of the matter is, you can’t put memories in a box; just things that represent them.

try as i may to leave half my life behind and move on, i can’t. my life today is made of all the bits of what it used to be.
the more i look at it, the more i can see that God broke each of my “selves” at the perfect time, and built the pieces into something new. when i think about all of them now, and i see what came out of it, i can’t stop thanking him for it. even the ones that are hard to look at.
i look at all of these random artifacts from different stages of my life, and i remember who i was at those times. i look at who i am now, and imagine what each old self would think of that person. which parts of me i wish had stayed the same, which ones i’m relieved have changed. and it tells a good story.
it’s easier to clean though, when there aren’t so many physical memories sitting around…so i’m happy to have both rooms. =)


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