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.