PBP12: J is for Junk
(Still catching up.)
Though a definitive date has not yet been set- there’s an inspection to be done, and more paperwork to be signed- my father has mostly completed the process of buying his first house, and I will be moving to North Carolina to live with him sometime at the end of this month or the beginning of July.
This means a lot of things to me. I am leaving the house of my childhood. I am getting the fuck out of Connecticut. I am getting a chance to make a fresh start at my life and the person I want to be. I am getting a chance to make new habits and leave unhealthy ones behind.
It also means I have to pack my crap.
I am 25 years old, and I am very much a product of my time. I was a spoiled child, and now I’m a spoiled pseudo-adult. All three of my parents collect things, and so do I. I love to shop and go antiquing and pour over piles of junk hoping to find a treasure. I have found a lot of treasures. It’s funny how treasures can be junk at the same time, though.
What does this have to do with religion? I can hear.
I think American pagans fall into the same consumerist trap that American non-pagans fall into. We are conditioned to want, conditioned to believe that wanting something is the same as needing it. We see as many as 5,000 advertisements a day; it’s no surprise we are materialistic and consumed by debt.
I remember my early pseudo-Wiccan days- to begin with, they were in high school, which I think we all know is a hotbed of conformity and consumerism. I had 101 books telling me all the religious bits I had to acquire- an athame, a boline, a chalice, goddesses statuary, god statuary, a nice altar cloth, a wand, robes, incense, and more. I walked into pagan stores, locally and elsewhere and was bombarded with crammed-to-the-gills shelves of knick-knacks and tools; there was always so much to see that you almost couldn’t see anything. There was one particular store that I went to the most (though I only went every six months or so) that had several working altars set up in the store by the owners, and more than once I was instructed by them about all the stuff that should be there. That the crammed tables were the way my altars were supposed to look. I don’t think my experience was all that different from the norm, as far as pagan shops go.
Unfortunately I applied those teachings, unintentionally, to my non-Wiccan practice. I have shelves and shelves of stuff for mindfulness that I hardly ever look at. I have so many things to beautify my space that all I can see is a heap.
Unfortunately with a month before I move, I don’t have time to do a proper purge- at least, not if I intend to try to sell my belongings instead of donating them. (And I’m broke, so selling is my preferred option if I can.) But since my packing method- as strongly encouraged to almost being forced by my mother- is to photograph everything before it gets boxed, once I move I can ‘sort’ through things that are really important and things that aren’t without even opening the boxes until I’m ready.
My goal is to cut my belongings in half. I literally want to purge 50% of my belongings- more is good, but a clean 50% is the goal. I am tired of being lost in my own belongings, of feeling depressed because my natural inclination towards slobbishness has resulted in a pile that is drowning me. I hate feeling so overwhelmed and materialistic.
Does your junk- religious or otherwise- own you? What are you going to do about it?