I have some unpacking to do.
Not because I recently moved, but because I recently started writing.
The thing about writing, at least the kind of writing that I am feeling compelled to do, is that it demands that you share your life and your experiences. It demands that you tell strangers about the meaningful parts of your life in a way that is interesting, and hopefully even compelling.
I’ve realized that a lot of my stories are packed away in metaphorical boxes. And I know this because these boxes are now taking up space in the middle of my living room. They are in the middle of my living room because that is where I write. They are old and dusty, with the tape peeling and corners caving in. These boxes are taking up space and they are demanding to be looked through. They are filled with parts of my life I don’t often think about but which are, inextricably, a part of me. They hold pieces and parts of who I was. Places, people, and experiences that, in many ways, shaped the way I am today.
These boxes are old and banged up because they’ve traveled far. They’ve been through a lot of moves. They were always stored away in basements or attics because I knew I needed to keep them, but I almost never wanted to look through them.
Occasionally I’d have to open one to find a specific memory, and as always happens when you open a box full of old things, you find other old things. I’d come across people I haven’t thought about in a long time, places in the world that I’ve been lucky enough to visit, or an object that’s tied to an experience that brings back a feeling so strong, it’s physical.
But I was never one to linger. I’m far too impatient and once I’d found what I was looking for, the box was closed up and put away again.
When you rummage through dusty old boxes, your fingers and your hands get dirty and grimy. You can’t expect to go through one of them and come away without a little dirt on you. So they’re better left alone, because it’s easier and cleaner that way.
But now these damn boxes are sitting in my living room, demanding that I examine their contents and tell their stories.
I guess it’s time to get my hands dirty, to get some dust on my clothes and in my eyes, and sort through the stories in the boxes. I know there are some good ones in there. They won’t all be happy. But after following me around for this long, they deserve to be told. So now I’m going to start that process.
I only hope I can do them justice.