The Dead Collector

I am overwhelmed by the need for a makeover. Being laid up in bed and on the couch for a week just aggravated the cabin-fever still lingering in the air from winter. I began to notice any and everything wrong with this house, my wardrobe, myself, and I long for change. Not a slight change, but a complete overhaul. I’m bored. I’m restless. I feel stuck. For me, the most rational way to get unstuck is incorporating change in my life. But where exactly do I begin?

I look around and see the Same Ol’ Same Ol’. Other than the rearrangement of furniture, and the addition of more pieces and newer window coverings it’s not much different than when we first moved in six and a half years ago. My dairy cows and vintage pieces still clutter the kitchen. My dining room is cluttered with antiques. The living room still ((screams)) “EARTHTONES!”  I wonder where all the color went in my home…in my ‘life’. I had it once. Didn’t I?

I’m a collector. I collect people and things. I say that, because once I have someone or something in my life and get attached, it takes the ‘grip of death’ to pry them/it away from me. I can come up with a bazillion reasons why I shouldn’t have to or can’t. No, literally! I have a hard exterior to me, but a very soft heart. It’s really easy for me to buy into someone’s bullshit if I care about them, and will make excuses for them long after they’ve proven to be unworthy of my love. The same goes for my antiques. I get really sentimental over them because I’m aware of how old they are, and that someone once loved them. Not just any ‘someone’, but a person that is no longer alive to enjoy it. I almost feel it my duty to keep this item and cherish it in their memory. It’s okay to think there’s something a bit twisted about that. Don’t think I haven’t considered that myself more than once. Sadly, this is the way I am.

My husband thinks I’m nuts too. The day we got married at the courthouse (it was a casual affair in our Harley attire) we spent our first afternoon together as man and wife running around antique shops. There was this one particular shop in which I found an antique, framed portrait hanging on the wall in a far room, and couldn’t take my eyes off it. My husband was meandering around here and there, looking at this and that, and coming to fetch me each time he found something more interesting than the last. Each time he had to fetch me from this room. I couldn’t pry myself away from this turn-of-the-century photograph of a little boy and his younger sister. There was something about it that gripped me. I asked the owner if she remembered anything about it, and she told me she kept all information about her estate purchases. This particular portrait was of a gentleman and his little sister when they were both very young. Both had married, neither had children of their own, and both had buried their spouses. This gentleman was apparently the last in his family, and his attorney sold his estate in bulk. She showed me the papers.  

I just fell apart inside. I went back in and stood in front of that picture and thought how sad it was that this was a life and there was no one now to remember it. I thought about all the family I have, of my children, and how I know my memory will live on through them and their offspring. I found myself near sobbing with the thought that someday someone was going to buy this and use it to adorn their wall. This man’s life was going to be reduced to sprucing up someone’s vintage look. No, it really appalled me! I begged my husband to splurge and buy it, although I knew we couldn’t afford it. I tried to explain to him how it made me feel; how upon knowing this man’s story I now felt somewhat responsible to gather up his information and this picture, take it home with us, and give him the honor I felt he deserved. I could give him a family and a people that would remember him. Sadly, I couldn’t take it home with me. The owner of the shop had set the price to high. I had to leave it behind, but not the memory. It still haunts me to this day. Last we stopped in a year or so ago it was still there. She still hadn’t budged on the price, and it was still too high.

I definitely need a change. I’m not into a contemporary style with clean lines and crisp colors. I like a country feel, and have filled my home with warmth, and cozy clutter. I’m ready for a change though, and think it’s time to add some ‘light’ to my life. My surroundings have become a reflection of the emotional turmoil I carry around with me and is depressing. I know I can’t fix everything about myself at once, but I need to start somewhere. Blogging has helped, but that’s my cyber-life and not my real one. I need something substantial, right here, right now, that I can hold in my grasp.

I’m getting better, and I know this because I’m letting go. I’m letting go of old ideals that don’t work. Letting go of people that are useless to me. I’m letting go and finding closure. I don’t want to be this person anymore who carries around corpses of old friends and lovers. Who collects things from the dead. I want and need something to add vibrancy to my life. I want to be surrounded by linen, cool colors, and the smell of fresh material. I want a new haircut and color to compliment my new attitude. I want to write again the way I used to, because I just know for certain now that I have at least one good book in me. I want to be completely happy at least for a short time before I die.

So where do I begin? I keep saying I want to, I need to, and find moments when I’m determined to, but honestly I don’t know where to start. Every little change seems a daunting task that leads to another, and I wonder if I’m ready for all of them. But then the thought I may never be ready scares me too, so I wonder if this is more about just doing what I know I need to do, and accept the fact that feeling alone is not enough to get me there.

Weigh in ladies. I know you’ve got SOMETHING to say! I need ideas.

7 thoughts on “The Dead Collector

  1. One step at a time, I find if I do just one small thing it opens everything up for change, JUST GO FOR IT!!! Love your blog so far, found you through Spectra, who found me through Hook 🙂

    …I will be back to read more 🙂

  2. I’m not sure what it should be called. I’ll have to think on that.
    I know I blame a lot of it on menopause, because things really didn’t start to bother me until after I turned 40 (I’m referring to feeling this need to ‘do’ something with my life before I die). I think it’s more than that though. I think it’s easy to blame it on that, because at about the same time women start experiencing the symptoms is when their kids are leaving the nest.Though I have no doubt it contributes to it.
    I truly think most of it is because women ‘give-up’ so much of themselves for motherhood and marriage. We barely have a chance to catch our breath before going from someone’s daughter to someone’s wife and mother. OUR wants, needs, and desires are always put last. We’re so distracted by everyone else’s needs being met, we don’t notice how much we’ve sacrificed. When the kids start leaving is when we begin taking serious inventory of what is left now that they’re gone, and what we find is we’ve had no life of our own. I think that’s the problem. We realize how fragile time is, that we’ve already squandered enough of it on others, and we want to use what’s left on ourselves. Men don’t get it because they’ve ALWAYS had their own life! Men have a problem with it, because we’ve never been like this before. I guess that’s why there’s so many divorces around this age. Men just don’t know how to adapt to the change. I say, “Fuck the lot of them! Who cares?” I put up with a lot of crap because I love my husband, but he also knows how I am and that when I’m done, I’m done. This ain’t my first marriage or rodeo. I found him, I can find another just like him. And my men get younger and prettier everytime. No sweat off my she-balls!
    Oooh…can you smell the sarcasm in the air? I need to be nice. My anniversary is tomorrow. It’s the one day of the year you almost have to kiss-ass.

  3. No. I would never disregard your suggestions. In fact, the two of us could probably use each other as a sounding-board for suggestions. It kinda sounds like we’re both in the same boat. Well, except for I fell in love with this old, piece of shit the moment I seen her (her, being this grand-old-dame of a house), which is probably why it’s so disappointing now that all the plans I had for her have never made it to fruition. Truth is my life, marriage, and sanity has been on a roller-coaster ride practically from the moment I moved in and remodeling hasn’t been at the top of my list. Still, I think if I were happier with my surroundings I might find a bit more peace inside.
    And about plaster walls…we have them all through this hundred year old house. Aren’t they just lovely?
    I’ll bet if you made small repairs and filled the rooms with things you absolutely loved you could find happiness there. I know anytime I feel the need to change something I start with my bedroom. It’s my favorite room of the house. I’m a frugal person, love thrift stores and antiques, and am always looking for a bargain, except for when it comes to my room. I like quality bedding and don’t mind the expense. I believe the room where you dream should be fit for a queen 🙂
    I’ve never had the nerve to just start getting rid of a bunch of stuff and starting fresh. I’ve always envied people that are courageous enough to do that. I know it’d probably be in my best interest if I could. I don’t know what’s going on with me but I have this gnawing to reinvent myself. Mid-life crisis, maybe? Why not, huh? I’m already going through menopause.

    1. Totally agree – my bedroom my sanctuary! Has had more spent on it than any other room. Of course it’s a midlife crisis – we just need to find a new name for it. Hmmn, mid term break? gap year? (I know a friend who said she was having a gap year at 50 – didn’t cook a meal in her house for a year. Kids and spouse all survived. Amazing eh? Or what about yours even – brand new life? Oh hello I’m just having a ‘brand new life’ sounds better than crisis any day. Right I’ve bored myself now, bye!

  4. Yes that old small step thing – hate being told it but yes it does work! Kettle and pot will come to mind as I write this though. I bought this house just before Christmas and hate it. Well at least I did hate it but I know it was more hate my life than the house. Now I am still overwhelmed by how much i need/want to change it to make it more my own. Today I bought polyfiller to fill in two holes in the plaster of the wall in the bathroom, big tick. Course I haven’t filled them in yet. Every time before buying this house when I thought about what I wanted I would describe modern, stone floors, open plan, private garden. Instead I have old fashioned, horrible wooden floors, small rooms blah blah blah! If I seriously thought I could muster the energy I would try to sell it on. I realise in light of this you will probably disregard any of my suggestions as they are unlikely to suceed! 😦 Oh and btw I went through a period of getting rid of a lot of things I used to think I would keep forever. Found it strangely liberating!

  5. “My dairy cows and vintage pieces still clutter the kitchen.”

    Okay. My first suggestion, is: GET THOSE DAIRY COWS_ OUT_OF_YOUR_KITCHEN!

    It’s got to be near impossible to manuever around a bunch of mooing cows all morning while trying to fetch a simple cup of coffee. And I am thinking this is not the best recepticle (kitchen floor) for collecting fertilizer. Just sayin’

    AFter a long winter mostly trapped indoors, and all of those same “trapped in” feelings and dust and clutter, I too know I need to clear out, simplify, etc. It is hot and sunny outside and I should be finishing yard work, but its INITIATING the prjects that’s so difficult. I once had a counselor who taught me to start with just one tiny step. Like when he wanted to leave the navy, he started by just buying an envelope for his resignation letter. 2 weeks later, he addressed it. Another week, it got a stamp. Baby steps.

    So focusing on one little area, breathing fresh life into it, may indeed get you started.

    For me, wanting an organic garden this summer of my own (I had done a share for 2 years with a crazy-ass neighbor bioch) I began with using a christmas check and paying to have a few trees removed. Then I had to buy a chainsaw to cut up the limbs for removal…I still have one small pile to go, and it’s been 2 months. I wish I was more vigorous. But I’m not.

    I look forward to seeing your little steps at change mount into bigger phases of ‘newness’ for you, for invigoration.

    BTW, I’m a “lock-on” too. My attatchments are strong, hard, and I detatch way too late! But I know it’s what we must do to clear out our lives, emotionally. And it’s standing up for yourself, too.

    Why can’t I just stick with a brief, curt, helpful response, instead of an entire manifesto???

    1. I like the fact you can’t stick with a brief, curt, helpful response. BORING!!!! I can’t either! I consider you damn, good company girl! You break the monotony of my day 🙂 We are people-persons. Better that than aloof, I say.
      It’s hot and sunny there? Are you serious? Can I come over?! I am plum sick and tired of gloomy Iowa right now. I need some freaking sunshine already!!!
      One room at a time is a good idea. I’ll start with this room (namely me). I am thinking about changing to a Cath Kidston decor. You familiar? It’s all floral, feminine, and country. I have similar things in my possession already, but I need to get rid of some of this dark wood, and this ugly, gold, brady-bunch-era carpeting has got to go. My husband doesn’t want a cold floor and can’t afford to re-carpet the living and dining area which is the size of a small stadium (slight exaggeration), so he hasn’t allowed me to yank it. I’m determined to though. As far as my cows…I am loaded with them. Parting with them will be the hardest. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do though.

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