Imagine a box. No, 2 large boxes. Inside are little things from the past 6 years of your life. Pictures, notebooks, clothes, receipts, old cellphones, a polaroid and keychains from your Europe trip, the last trip your family took before your parents divorced. Imagine sitting there just going through those two boxes and slowly and then throwing away everything. Although painful, they just don’t matter to you anymore. Once, they were what made you who you are as a person. Those memories were all that you hung onto on very many sleepless nights. Imagine reading those little diary entires. Letters you wrote to yourself asking God what your purpose was. Little prayers on the backs of random bits of paper. Letters to yourself about everything you want to change. About everything that was wrong with you. Yikes. Quite depressing letters. Letters of someone that sounded lost and quite lonely. Now imagine taking those pages and ripping them apart. Ripping pictures apart. Throwing thick piles of receipts away. Throwing almost everything in that box away. 2 boxes that once belonged to someone, that made up a persons memories and experiences. 2 boxes 6 years worth of memories gone. Thrown away.
This was me a few days ago. Finally after a few years of delaying it, I built up the courage to organise everything that I left behind (and that I couldn’t organise when I was working full time and exhausted). And boy was it an emotional journey just sitting there deciding what to throw away. Looking through those boxes was like looking into someone else’s things, someone else’s life. It was like I don’t even know who they belonged to. From my perspective now at 24, I now see that I was quite a lonely person at 19. And I had an urge to fill that void. So I collected so many little things that back then, I thought would make me ‘me’. See at the time I thought that things make up a personality. You should have seen how thick the list of receipts I had, that were just sitting there. The physical evidence of all the things that I had previously bought, all these things that I bought that I probably have already given away by now. How much money I had wasted trying to fill a void. While I was throwing the pieces of paper away I thought about just how wrong the 19 year old version of me was. Things don’t replace people in your life that are gone. Or people that you miss. And things definitely did not make me happy. My diaries were proof alone. I was earning and I did not know what to do with all that responsibility and freedom and money. And to be really honest, I don’t think I had enough guidance as a teenager. I read through some diary entries and there so many writings of a 19 year old Kylie just wanting to change herself. Hating herself. Lists of what I thought was wrong with me at the time. So much insecurity. While I was reading I thought gee, I wish 24 year old Kylie would talk to this 19 year old Kylie and tell her that she was actually ok and not to be afraid. I touched on this topic before, that I believe that mental health is just as important and physical health. I know this because I know back then I wasn’t healthy. These diaries were proof. I wouldn’t call myself a shopaholic but I definitely did shop when I didn’t have to in order to cover up some personal issues that I had. The thing that bothered me the most was nobody stopped me. Nobody noticed something was wrong. It makes me wonder really, but I guess it’s because it was my duty to do the learning. Sometimes the lessons you have to learn have to be learned by first making mistakes.
Let me share with you 3 major things that I found.
I had paintings there. Honestly back then when I painted them I thought they were so good. Like some great Picasso painted them and then having a look at them again I realised how unbelievably childish they actually were. I had an emotional attachment to them when I painted them but now, as I was staring they just looked bland and ridiculous. What I did notice while looking at them was the emotions that came. I felt once again, what I was feeling when I was painting them. These were the work of someone that was lonely. Yes, they weren’t anything special. But they depicted someone painting to pass so much time alone. Someone that wanted friends. Someone who took advantage of a passion in order to cover up a scar. See, when you have a passion you go out and do your best to excel in it. Even if you fail. You so not settle. You seek to improve. This person did not. This person was too afraid. So the talent didn’t grow. The talent just became a bandaid. So I threw the paintings away. I know I can do better. If I was going to paint now, it would be because of something that inspired me. Not because I wanted to prove something to myself or to people. It would be because I want to excel and share the art to the world as a way to express myself not comfort myself. I wouldn’t settle.
I found my old pink notebooks there too. The notebooks that contained the original pages and lyrics of my first album. I went right back to those days that I was sitting on my bed writing, alone. I spent so much time alone. These were difficult to throw away. Although there wasn’t much noise about that album, I really enjoyed the process of making it. I do think I was terribly inexperienced when it came to making music but I am still proud of that album. The feeling I remember when going back to that time felt like euphoria. I love to create. And the making of my album was a time I felt so happy. Even if I did get obsessive. I even spent money to produce that album. I invested so much experience and emotion on that album too. But, somehow, even if that was so, I just didn’t want to keep those pages anymore. It was nice to hold the diary in my hand again for a while. But I watched my hand rip out each lyric filled piece of paper and throw it in the plastic bag of rubbish without feeling anything. I think it was a way to challenge myself to maybe, in the future, try again with music. This time with the sound I want. For the audience I want. Even if it is just for 10 people. I won’t be afraid. I will just create. Though silently I thanked the little diaries and pages of lyrics for taking me back. The memories were pleasant. It was nice.
I found my collection of keychains. Particularly the ones I collected from a family trip to Europe. One from Venice, Paris, Italy etc. Looking at the keychains, there was nothing really special about them. They were just plain tourist key chains. Except that the memories they brought were so vivid and emotional. Our Europe trip was the last family trip we ever had together as a complete family. To remember those days brought a whirlwind of confusing emotions. I remember us. Walking through Europe together. Gelato stands, the Eiffel tower. The greyness and blandness of Prague streets and the streets in Italy that were so rich in art that it actually felt like being in a painting. The haunted Paris hotel rooms and the hotel next to the Colosseum. Sharing that room with my siblings and how my big sister scared us to death by saying she saw a ghost in our room. Just us kids with crazy imaginations, the room service menu and the cable TV. Heaven in other words. The bullet trains and over expensive high fashion stores. That fancy restaurant on top of the Eiffel tower. The streets made of water. The masks that made up the mystery of my favourite place we went to. Venice. The hotel rooms with no internet and the delicious home made pizzas. The pigeons and hot chocolate at the venice square. The gondolas and ghost tours. I miss it. I miss all of us backpacking, on night tours on double decker buses. These memories were by far the most powerful. I held the keychains in my hand and thoughts for a while. I only took one of them off because it was beginning to rust but I kept the rest. I wanted to keep these memories. I missed them a lot. I miss my family a lot. Always.
There was so much more in those boxes, my old cellphones, acting awards, old souvenirs, old pens, make up and so much more. Most of which I did throw away. Somehow they just weren’t of any value to me anymore. I am a firm believer of the right timing in life and I think that it was the perfect time for me to go through those boxes. In those boxes were dreams, dreams that were unrealistic and unhealthy. Memories and physical things that needed to die. Old versions of me that needed to die. Versions of me I had to go back to, to see my progress as a person. Now I can say that I will no longer keep things I don’t need for long. I have actually been getting rid of a lot of my things lately. Soon I will be having a garage sale to sell my old clothes, make up etc. I’m finally letting go and embracing the new me without clinging onto “things”. If there is one thing I want you to take away from this, it would be to not get carried away with the obsession for consumerism that society has imposed on you. If you were to spend money, spend it for the memories, not to fill some kind of empty void. Be passionate not desperate for things that aren’t really of much value to you. I have learnt my lesson the hard way. Things do not replace people.
I think I spent 2 hours going through those two boxes. It felt like such a rollercoaster. There are a few things that I took away from cleaning up those boxes. Here they are.
Things don’t make up who you are.
Hoarding is not healthy.
Things don’t replace people.
Don’t let your things pile up like that, it does have effect on you. subconsciously.
Think of what you purchase, if you’re going to throw it away in the long run it will just be a waste of money and space and human resources.
Know the difference between wants and needs.
Learn to let go. (of even pictures and diaries.)
Being clean and organised is just so much better! It feels lighter emotionally too.
You are not what you have. You are what is inside.
Don’t take advantage of your talents and interests. Seek to share and seek to improve.