I’m sitting in the bedroom at my parent’s house, surrounded by fragments of my past.
I have a selection of medals for various athletic events, a plethora of birthday cards, plus assorted dog toys.
I have moved four times during the last two years.
Each time, I’ve tried to cast aside items I no longer need, or anything that isn’t remotely important or useful.
I would never describe myself as a hoarder, but I find it really difficult to part with the most mundane things.
For instance, when I was about 10, I bought a bird whistle for 10 pence.
It’s a tiny little plastic bird – and if you fill it up with water and blow through it a delightfully realistic warbling sound is made.
What possible use would I have for that you might ask.
I asked the same question – but it’s just something unusual and is one of the very few things I’ve still got from my school days.
The only other really important thing I kept from that period of my life were the hand written letters my first boyfriend wrote to me in the school holidays.
I will never be able to read them, but it was so lovely getting them through the post, my Mum had to read them to me as my boyfriend didn’t know how to write Braille, but they were really sweet.
He even wrote me a joke:
“What do you get if you cross my girlfriend with a dessert?
Answer: a Nicki Bocker Glory!”
I try to categorise everything into three piles.
Do I need them?
Can I live without them?
Would I miss them?
The next pile is a heap of dog’s toys and assorted items related to Vale and Chelsea.
I’ve kept Vale’s bell collar and lots of pictures I had of her.
I have an old jewellery box with some of her fur in it.
To an outsider it would just be a scruffy bit of fluff, but it’s from Vale. It still smells like she did.
It’s not matted or disgusting at all.
I keep Chelsea’s puppy walker record. I also keep a toy she loved when she was younger. It’s ragged and old – but I know when I don’t have her with me it’ll be a comfort. As I write this I realise how silly it sounds, but I can’t see photographs so aesthetic memories are what I rely on.
I’m reading a really interesting book which I highly recommend. It’s called a hundred pieces of me, by Lucy Dillon.
It’s about a woman of a similar age to me who’s just found out her husband has been cheating on her.
She finds herself in a small flat and has to get rid of a heap of belongings.
It made me think – if I had to keep a hundred items that remind me of my life so far – what I would keep.
I throw away the birthday cards I’ve kept for the last thirty years. I keep two my friends made me. One has a map of Australia on it – and the other is a good luck card my friend brailed for me.
She’s one of my friends from North Wales. She took the time and energy to learn Braille, just so she could write cards and little notes for me.
I’ve always been fascinated by birds of prey. As I’m trawling through endless drawers, cupboards, boxes and bags I have a thought. I’ve always been like a bird of prey. I’m continuously flitting back and forth trying to find somewhere to settle.
I realise that I need to get rid of things in order to feel like I belong somewhere. I’ve written several posts about home, and belonging to somewhere – but I feel I’ve tamed the falcon that continuously tries to fly away from the place it will always come back too. It doesn’t matter how many clothes I have. It doesn’t even matter if I keep the first pair of shoes I had as a baby. My family and friends are the only things that matter to me. Belongings are just molecules of plastic, wood, paper etc. They’re good to keep for sentimental value but the real memories of who you are, were, or hope to be are things nobody can take away.
Three charity bags later I’m finished – for now.
I pick up a small container and smile.
Then I put it aside.
DO I really need to keep the screw which the hospital inserted into Mum’s broken leg and she had taken out afterwards?
What five things would you keep to remind you of your past?
I’d love to know.
Write it below in the comments section – or tweet me at: