“Your memory is a monster; you forget—it doesn’t. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you—and summons them to your recall with will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!” – John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
A few weeks ago at Pritchard Towers we had the loft boarded out and a proper loft ladder installed. We’re now sorting the loft – and it’s contents – out, and we’re also sorting out cupboards, drawers, etc. in the rest of the house.
I wish I’d labelled stuff better. The loft is like a freakin’ emotional minefield. You open a box and see stuff that you’d forgotten about for a damn good reason, but that you tucked away because you couldn’t handle it at the time. Twenty year old tax demands are fun, despite looking scary. Other stuff that looks harmless takes your leg off when the emotional landmine is triggered.
Yesterday, after some loft sorting, I foolishly did some cupboard sorting and hit a motherload of 35 year old stuff.
I blubbed like a baby, openly. Previously I’d had the odd ‘lower lip wobble’ but yesterday was intense.
I’ve realised that the loft and some cupboards are my Jungian ‘shadow’; the bits of my life that I chose to ‘push down’ for whatever reason – good or bad – but that need acknowledgement as they have helped make me, me.
Stuff is now being chucked; stuff is being labelled; stuff’s being hung on walls; most of all, stuff and memory is being acknowledged and re-integrated in to me.
Inner work is fucking hard.
As LP Hartley said ‘The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.’ – I sort of wish I had one of those old maps that said ‘Here there be dragons’.