Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Walk Away

If I were honest with myself, I would admit that I am hopelessly addicted to media. From radio to random WB shows to online newspapers (ok, it might just be for the crossword puzzles), to a small collection of DVDs lining the inside of my walnut kitchen wall cabinet converted to living room floor cabinet, I enjoy sound-bytes of blistering conflict swollen, broken and healed within four paragraphs, an hour and a half or three minutes. I enjoy resolution. "To Be Continued" remains my least favorite ending to a show. Unwritten sequels (or "6th-7th years") stoke my curiosity and gnaw at my finite imagination.

To me, media entertains because it satiates my need for closure, a need ever unfulfilled in the *real* world. My mother calls me a pack rat; I call myself "sentimental," nostalgic, if you will. I don't replace pictures in frames; I just update them and keep the old ones behind the new. In my nightstand drawer sits highlighters, an old battery, a picture of my friend Barley when he was six, a picture of my parents dancing at my mom's surprise 40th birthday party and a clipped newspaper comic my mom sent to cheer me up-- in 1999.

Its not the objects themselves (well, ok, sometimes it is) but what they stand for and the memories they stir that make walking away, or throwing them away, so difficult. My mom didn't understand how I could move so far away after college. She said, "but you're such a home-body." Sure, I got homesick as soon as my mom dropped me off at Girl Scout camp. Yes, when I moved into the basement bedroom I came back upstairs to cherish the room that I had called mine for 13 years. I cried when I closed the garage door behind me on my first trip to college and when I spent 17 days in the Dominican Republic, I got physically sick with pointed moments of extreme anxiety in my longing for "home."

However, I don't necessarily attribute these occurrences as much to being a "home-body" as I do to the fact that I tend to cherish and savor my surroundings so much that I miss them when I am away. Case in point: leaving Girl Scout camp actually saddened me; I now miss the basement bedroom, which has since been reclaimed by my sister; moving from my college town hurt more than leaving my home town and I hope to return to the Dominican Republic someday. It's not that I need one specific home, but more that I find a piece of home everywhere I go. I don't "pack rat" possessions for the sake of ownership. They clutter my shelves and line my cabinets in order to make my current abode a sort of melting pot of worlds, of "homes." Like deliberately placing bits of my life together in chromatic order, trying to make jagged edges look seamless and intentional. This is why I have my pewter baby cup and silverware on that wooden shelf mom let me have from the living room. This is why I have that card that my best friend sent me two years ago because it reminded her of Jack Handy, and therefore me, stuck in the corner of my mirror next to last year's valentine--although I've moved twice since. This is why, rather than buying new ones, I've duct taped my Adidas sandals back together-- twice. And this is why I still sleep in the long sleeved shirt that I won the first night we ever hung out--the night my life forever changed--with my flannel cheer shorts from 9th grade. I guess I'm just not good at personal resolution, perhaps because try as I may to walk away, there's always going to be bits of earth from a path hard-trodden stuck in the treads of my shoes, the aroma of changing winds will always linger on the collar of my coat and the shrapnel the past will be forever embedded in my fingerprints.