We Are All Made of Stars

I dreamt there was a woman standing in the corner of my bedroom. There were other anonymous people crowded in there, all quietly encouraging my husband to shoot her. I stood nearby and as he aimed the gun I held my hands up  too, clasping them into an imaginary pistol. I squeezed my left eye shut and aimed over the length of my fingertips. Like a child playing, I said: pow. And he shot. And she crumpled to the floor; a pile of nothingness in the corner. I got into bed and went to sleep with my husband’s arms wrapped around me, a dead woman curled up on the floor next to me.

This is the type of dream I have when there’s a lot going on in my life. When I’m feeling flaky, when I’m tired, when I’m worried. It was just a dream, but the mornings following a dream like this are always tainted with eeriness, with the shadow of imagined violence that swept through my mind like a passing ghost in the night.

Nevertheless, the sun shone today (so warmly) and I brushed the girls’ hair and did their plaits and wiped down the bench and went to work and sent emails and ate my lunch. I patted the dog and ate a biscuit (two). The world continues to turn despite my melancholic night life.

This moving house business is so much more than I ever thought it would be. I’m finding it reminiscent of having a baby; no one can ever tell you how tired or amazed or in love or overwhelmed you will be, you have to figure it out for yourself when the time comes (mind you, selling your house is a little heavy on the ‘tired’ and ‘overwhelmed’ as opposed to the ‘in love’ and ‘amazed’ bit that a baby brings). My sister went through this process earlier this year and while I knew she was busy, I had no real concept of the work involved in preparing a house for sale (when you have three children) (when you’ve lived there for ten years) (when you probably could have cleaned (the oven) a bit more than you did).

I’ve been working my way through each room, and backwards and around. Packing things, sorting things, rehoming things. A little while ago I started to notice I had a lot of wool deposited around the house. In a basket here, on a shelf there. Before I knew it I had a (very) large bag full of balls of wool. As in, one of those (very) large tartan storage bags with the zip at the top. You know the ones? The balls of wool are of all sizes, many not big enough to make a full pixie hat or kotori cardi or other garment out of. I have many plans to make some block coloured kotoris, however now is not the time (my mother-in-law keeps reminding me that it is, indeed, not the time for new projects, thanks Net xx). All these small balls of wool + my night time escapades + my annoyance at waste got me thinking. I have wanted to make a blanket for a long time. Just a small one.

So each night, I stitch. Sometimes just a row or two, sometimes three or more. Sometimes slowly and with many pauses, sometimes frantically and determined. As my hands move, my thoughts fall softly around me. I’m lost in a quiet calmness, my mind tethered carefully with the gentle concentration required of the task. I’m still going to sleep fairly late, later than I would like (later than KB). But this new routine is a nice one, amongst the boxes, the physical work and the nostalgia that most days bring. The stitch is a simple one: dc / tr, alternating (thanks to Helen for the pattern and the inspiration). I had been dreaming of making some beautiful neutral coloured blankets, but funnily enough this one is a good representation of my mind and our life at the moment: very colourful and a bit messy. I’ll name the blanket Moving House.

I read something the other day that suggested nostalgia is a wasted emotion, that it results in nothing positive. I like to think, however, that nostalgia is not just for the fragile-hearted, rather, it is part of a process of remembering and subsequently letting go. That moving through memories and feelings of goodwill about this house will leave me more prepared to move on when the time comes. One can live in hope about such matters.

I revisited this album this week on my trips to and from work and once again fell in love with the lyrics, because I absolutely love the notion (scientific theory?) that we are all made of stars. It adds a little sparkle to the day, don’t you think?

And on that note, off we go. Another week, a bit of razzle-dazzle and we’re one step closer to… wherever we are going.

Stuff and Things and Hello Spring

Even though the air is still crisp, there’s a warmth in the sun that wasn’t there a few weeks ago. Spring. I adore Winter but it’s always nice to welcome back the sun and watch new growth unfurl in the garden.

Over here we are slowly rolling our way through our things. Packing boxes labelled “study” and “memorabilia” and “books”. Bag upon bag of things we no longer need going to family, friends and the op shop. As a last resort when things are in no condition to donate or sell, they are going in the bin.

We are a family of five. We have lived in this house for ten years. Eight of those years have included small children.

We have a lot of stuff.

I always knew we had lots of things. For years I’ve talked about my efforts to declutter, to clear, to minimise. I’ve read books like this and this and this (although she lost me when she said my handbag has feelings). But at the end of the day, I honestly don’t know how to stop the flow of stuff coming into our house. I can’t throw things out fast enough to keep up with it, and even when I am getting rid of things I can’t help but feel helpless at the mere fact that that thing even exists in the first place. If it’s not at my place, it’s somewhere else on the planet. I’m already feeling nervous about Christmas… The neverending cycle of stuff is certainly something I want to work on when we are in our new home. The thought of having to go through this process again at some point in the future is terrifying.

Nevertheless with all this shedding of clutter, the change in the air is palpable; we are between seasons both metaphorically in our life, and environmentally. I was given this quote the other day by a friend who I respect deeply:

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible. 

This is true of so many things. The quote was given to me during a discussion about change, and my reluctance to let go of the home we have lived in for ten years. Of the tortuous way in which I trail through memories and lose myself in clouds of nostalgia for days at a time. Change does not come easily to me, but this quote has made me think of change, in this instance at least, as necessary in order to allow the next phase of our lives together to blossom.

So I will slowly continue the sorting and the cleaning and the shedding of layers (and layers and layers) of our belongings, and as I move through the motions it feels like I’m also shedding layers (and layers and layers) of mental clutter too. I love the lightness this creates in our home and in my mind; the space, the clarity.

For there is some sense of clarity to be found in times of upheaval. You just have to know where to look.