Emptying the ManCave

26 Feb

The loft in my home has become my personal space, my world, my domain. When we moved into our house, the loft was without light, boarded floors and pitch black. We agreed to convert it into my study and the only place I could keep my desktop computer, books, CD’s and DVDs and anything else that was work related.

Not only did I use the loftspace to use my computer on a regular basis, but it also became my haven to become more “messy” and personalise it as my other half has OCD and cannot bear the idea of seeing magazines, books, cds, and all other such paraphenalia on display. So, we agreed that the loft would be my area to “spread myself” without any such restraints, without limitations or making my other half feel more anxious at seeing items on display. Although, it does not stop him sometimes from re-arranging “my stuff” around as he deems it to be “too messy”!

Anyway, after living in the house for 5 and a half years, I decided to have a thorough clear out…I’ve already mentioned I started to download photos onto memory sticks on a previous post. The clean up campaign didn’t just stop there. In fact, it was just the start of my blitz. Whilst waiting for the images to be transferred, I started to sift through all my old boxes, my work related documents (hard copies) , old bills, payslips, diairies and other such items. I didn’t realise that I carried so much bumph. But alongside all that, I walked down memory lane as I read and shredded each document, copies of application forms, altered CV’s, pages and pages of cover letters with the slightest mistake, memos and Minutes of Meetings…

I was finding it hard to let go of my past. It seemed that the items in question, although they may seem boring and trivial to others, were to me,  mementoes of my life. I found particulars/details and bills fom my first house, a small two bedroom terraced house purchased in 1999.  I pulled out payslips from the days I worked at a Daycentre for people with learning disabilities/difficulties and established friendships with my peers that have lasted for 10 years now. I found minutes from meetings where the people I supervised were more than just workers, they were people with endearing flaws and personalities which created a diverse and dynamic team, which I admired and found appalling at the same time. I found rejection letters and acceptance letters, which reminded me of my struggles to find work whilst living in Devon, I found notes which made me feel angry or sad all over again as it brought back flashes or images of people who had wronged me, I picked up training notes which placed a smile on my face or thought a waste of time as I never had the opportunity to use the “skills taught” in any of my job roles. It was a strangely heartfelt experience…

But it didn’t stop there…I started to look around at my prized collection of over 400 DVDs and shelves boasting a proud collection of over 1,000 CDs. With the recession biting hard in our household, I took stock of my indecision and began to sift through my DVDs. We have bills to pay, and for the first time in my life, I have had to sell some of my items. With each DVD placed on the side, it was heartwrenching to place the barcode on the WebuyDVDs website to find that the majority of DVDs, although purchased between £5 – 15 are only worth 31p each. As my friends’ 25 year old son says, most people are streaming online now…

I remembered where I was and why I bought a certain DVD. I recalled the feeling it left inside me when I watched the film. I was looking at my favourite film, the saddest film, the happiest film, the most sentimental or weepy, romantic or action…each film brought a reaction or emotion and I was having to sell a part of me to be practical…So far, 134 DVDs, which my other half was worth several hundred pounds, have been sold  for a song.  I knew they weren’t going to fetch an awful amount of cash, I was just holding on to what they were worth to me. A collection of specific films purchased over a period of 10 years… to be disposed of within a few days.

My next step would be to download my music collection…I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet but I know it will happen soon. On the one side, I try not to think about it, but on the other, it’s like a relief or self cleansing therapy. Will it all be worth it? I ask myself?

My loft was my space. But soon I think it’ll become an empty shell. Even the computer that I’ve had for 10 years now is showing signs of giving up… I suppose I could’ve used a garden shed or used one of the bedrooms as a study but it’s not quite the same in this house…

I feel my act of disposal is a reflection on todays society and how we lead our lives today. Is that how easily things, whether objects or items, tangible or innate, emotional/physical or practical can be disposed of? Is that how much it’s worth? Like in life, at work and in play, we are easily picked up, used and disposed of, from the “Purchaser” e.g. hirer/employer or even in relationships (partners/spouses/friends etc),  to wait for the next big or best thing…to the item or person being deselected and made to feel redundant, useless or unwanted.

My loft was MY space. But the recession has taken hold, and I feel I am losing faith…

The Learned Kat

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