OK, first of all — the photo. Some explanation may be in order.

Yesterday I began some deep, deep, deep spring cleaning of my house. I have a dream of tidy closets and drawers that you can actually shut, because they aren't spilling over with junk. I have a dream of owning no shoes that I do not actually wear, and of safeguarding no piles of instructional manuals/warrantees that I cannot actually read. I have a dream of a garage that looks like a garage in an advertisement for nice garages. I want a clean and breezy life, not a thick and cluttered one. So I got serious about throwing some shit away. Big time.

My plan was to be remorseless. And I was remorseless, I tell you — I WAS!

Then I found this headband, in the bottom of a box containing broken childhood dolls.

This is my original 1981 Olivia Newton-John "Let's Get Physical" headband. It was the most important item in my life in seventh grade, because: 1) it was not easy to acquire, as we had no malls near our family farm, 2) I bought it with my own babysitting money on a rare shopping trip with my grandmother, and 3) I felt that wearing this item lent me an urbane and sophisticated and even slightly irresistible air. (As you can see: IT STILL DOES.) I felt so confident in my headband, in fact, that wore it to several important middle-school dances and social functions and school play auditions. Did it get the boys to dance with me? No. Did it get me the lead role? No. But it didn't NOT get the boys to dance with me, either, nor did it take AWAY my lead role! (I think? Maybe? Hard to say, to be honest…)

Do you throw away an item like this — an item imbued with such nostalgic and talismanic and life-transforming powers? No. No, you do not. You put it right back in the box to be kept forever, for no good reason whatsoever except: Just Because.

Which is weird, because of what I AM able to toss away, by contrast. Wedding dress? That can go. Old letters from old boyfriends? Goodbye, sir — GOODBYE. Broken childhood dolls? Even though it sort of feels like murder, there is no reason to keep them. Friendly old jewelry and fond old raincoats? To the thrift shop they go!

But my Olivia Newton-John "Let's Get Physical" royal blue and golden brocade headband? You can have it when you pry it out of my cold dead fingers.

Which led me to wonder…what absurd objects can you not part with? And why? And what does it mean about us when our hoarding gets so strangely specific?

Do tell. Tell all.

(ps — Let's get animal. I wanna hear your body talk. Your body talk. Etc, etc…)


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall