As the month progresses, my life has begun to have categorically been placed in various boxes around my second bedroom. There’s a pile of bags to go the thrift store: shirts I no longer wear, boots I won’t need in Texas, objects I haven’t used in the past year.
Sometimes, I sit and rifle through my old treasures. I pull down old hat boxes full of photographs and ticket stubs; pictures of my younger chubby face stare back at me, my front two teeth missing as my lips spread in a wide smile. I think about that girl and how lost she was at times. How much she lived inside her tiny little fictions. It wasn’t that long ago, but it’s felt like ages. Sometimes, I remember what it was like to be her; other times, she seems like a distant connection, a story I’ve only heard, but haven’t experienced.
Baby me in a bonnet. Six-year-old me standing amongst a crowd of Disney figures at Disneyworld, so happy to be there. Pictures of my first (and only) time in Northern Michigan during a visit with relatives–one of them with my aunt. One of the only pictures I have with her. Photos from various school years. Old friends I still talk to. Old friends that I don’t.
I’ve built a life here for the past twenty-four years. It’s evident in this old hat box, pieces of me and where I’ve been mingling together. Some days, I can’t imagine how I’m going to leave all of this. How I’m going to live in a new city, amid new people, a thousand miles away. I won’t recognise any of the landmarks. I won’t know the city’s language. It’s something I’ll have to learn.
Other days, I’m excited. It’s a new journey. A new set of experiences. I’m going to a new city, amid new people, a thousand miles away. I’ll get to start over. No one will know anything about me save what I tell them. I can reinvent myself.
And so, I toss the hat I haven’t worn in years into the donation bag. I throw a handful of books I don’t want to read or won’t reread into a box. I decide what is absolutely essential, and what isn’t.
In some cases, my sentimentality reigns. I keep my childhood figurines. I pack away my undergrad history and English notebooks and papers, though I throw away my tests and other subjects’ work.
With each newly constructed box, I decide what I want to surround myself with. I decide who I want to be.
And in twenty-some odd days, I’ll move those things, my cats, and myself to Texas, where I’ll add new things with the old. New memories, new photos, new adventures, new people, stacked onto my life here.