Slaying the Demons in My Basement Part One

by Fleur 10 Replies latest jw friends

  • Fleur

    Ever since we moved into this place almost eight years ago, there have been demons in my basement. No, not those kinds of demons. Not the Smurf-controlling, videogame-inhabiting and musically-backmasked, legendarily-JW-feared sort of demons. There have been boxes, covered now in layers of dust, boxes of my child's outgrown clothing and discarded toys, that I have been dreading. I have not wanted to face them. I have come to the conclusion that I overstuffed my house, my life, my soul with things in the past near-decade to try to bury, forget, avoid, and ignore these things. Each box bubbling toxins just below the surface every time I looked at them or thought about touching them; threatening to contain a little landmine of emotional explosives left over from another life. My old life. I think of myself as having lived at least three distinct lifetimes in this body. There were the childhood years, I know this from looking at pictures. But those are years of which I remember nothing before about age four. There are the puberty through mid-twenties when I was one of the walking wounded, a body merely existing every day and fighting the incessant desire to give in to eternal sleep. Then there was the awakening. But I'll get to that in a minute. As I have finally come to the realization that the consume-consume-consume mentality that I have lived with, was raised with, in fact (here is some money, go shopping, that will make you feel better, little girl! Now go away and be quiet!) has been a very destructive course. Aside from adding to bills that I couldn't control (making them worse because I didn't redirect that wounded inner voice to new coping skills) I have been left with piles and piles of...well, crap, basically. Hidden under the blanket label "collectables" I have lived in a house that looked more like a gift shop than a residence for years. I knew a long time ago it had to change, mostly because my sister, who dwells herself in a mall rather than a gift shop by comparison to my house, had not only filled her own house with so much many 'collectable keepsakes' that she began to overfill mine. She brought a bag of useless and often times outright inappropriate or dangerous things for my small child, no matter how many times I asked her stop. It has taken three years of her not bringing any more into my house (including her presence) for me to realize how little of the things I own, I actually wanted. I have been owned by my belongings, not the other way round. My husband, on the other hand, has been a very good influence on me. While not being "cheap" ever with me or even stern when I was going overboard (maybe he should've been, I don't know, I had to learn these lessons myself; he's very wise) who was able to move to this state with all of his worldly possessions crammed into the back of a 1992 Ford Escort. A few months ago I decided I had just had enough. When you get to a point where you see people on the news who have lost all they have in, say, a wildfire spreading across California and consuming their house and you envy them the fresh start, it's time to bite the bullet and let go of some things. Time to face the demons that take their form as the bins in my basement. Somehow, over the years I have become part of the Rubbermaid Nation; the host of folks who think that if they hide their possessions in the cellar in a Big Blue Rubbermaid Bin, that they don't count. They aren't here, you don't ever think of them. You don't get bogged down by them. But the old addage "Out of sight out of mind" does not count at all for what was lurking in my basement. After I came to my "Oh my god what have I done?" months ago, I sold what things were of any actual collectable value (enough raised to replace our dying computer and do a few other things, at least) and I began to feel like I owned my space again. But damn, those bins have haunted me. They have called to me like the cursed Aztec gold called to the mutineer pirates in a Disney movie a few years ago. Sending a black cloud of gloom up somewhere from the vicinity of the basement that spread through the whole house. And you thought that we just needed to change the cat box. Boxes and boxes of things, they called to me. They kept me up at night, they invaded my thoughts during any quiet peaceful moment to myself. I knew I had to deal with "that stuff". Bless his soul, my husband once again came to my rescue last night. Knowing that my asthma, severe dust allergy and litany of other health problems preclude me from taking on such a project alone, he gave up his Friday night, his baseball game on TV, and worked after a grueling work week to help me purge the demons. Even though I knew some of what lurked there, other things had been forgotten, and were startling, indeed. As soon as I accidentally stumbled on a snapshot from my first wedding (I thought I had packed a decent amount away for my child, should she ever want to see them, and then gotten rid of the rest) I thought I was going to be sick and had to vacate the room. After some deep breathing and reminding myself that I am not now where I was then, I went back to the basement. Three hours later, we had filled up bags with garbage (who the hell bought all those stuffed animals for my child...oh yeah, my sister. Right.) A few pleasant surprises awaited us that we thought had been lost, the AAA triptik that I had gotten for my husband for him to plan his route from the East Coast home when we were about to be married (and he had to come here with the aforementioned Escort filled with belongings). Boarding passes from the trip to our destination wedding. A tiny bib my daughter wore as an infant. Other things were milestones how far we've come: his college transcripts, a scattering of printed out emails he'd sent me during very dark times. Things I didn't remember writing, a note to myself to keep perspective when we had two parents in intensive care at the same time in different states a few years ago: we had just seen my MIL on a respirator after arriving on a plane not knowing if she'd be alive when we got there when she became suddenly, critically ill; the note was scrawled on a piece of stationary from a Courtyard by Marriott and it read "The sign on a door I passed today said "2-B; Grief Room" and I fought with all my might to banish the vision that I had of them opening that door and putting us in that room. As Iyanla VanZant would say, "Cancel! Cancel!" I had no memory of writing it. I had information on the near-fatal event my father had suffered around the same time. Hospital hand-outs, notes scribbled about where to park to get to the emergency room, the name of the social worker waiting for us. Heavy things. A book of poetry that I'd written in my late teens including one dedicated to a young pioneer I had a mad crush on who committed suicide when I was eighteen. I didn't know that any of that had survived when I'd destroyed all my childhood journals out of fear my ex husband would somehow, at some point, use them to inflict pain on me. In there was also a poem I wrote about the ex when we were dating. I ripped it out, tore it up. The rest of the book, I saved. The biggest little time bomb was still ticking in the cheap plastic lap desk that I had decoupaged in my teens with a picture of a Victorian era street scene. An envelope; the handwriting, I knew it before I opened it. I thought the contents were something else though, and reading it not only made me laugh out loud, but made me incredibly angry at the manipulation that Jehovah's Witnesses use to try to keep those who have awoken in bondage. With all the posts here lately about family and their attempts at emotional blackmail, I offer the following not only to help in my healing but also to help in yours, if possible. Bringing things out into the light might help, and then the following letter will be destroyed. I hope maybe it'll help us all. To be continued. ---------------------------------- ~essie

  • BizzyBee

    Eagerly awaitng the next installment.........................

  • Soledad

    Thank you Essie for sharing that!

  • karen96

    Excellent post! You have a great gift of telling a story! I can't wait for you to post again!


  • AuldSoul

    (for those looking for part two: Slaying the Demons in My Basement, Part Two)

  • fullofdoubtnow

    Thankyou for sharing this Essie, I am just about to move on to part 2.


  • serendipity

    Hi Essie,

    Thanks for sharing. I too belong to the Rubbermaid nation & will have to renounce my citizenship soon when I sell my house.

  • Twitch
    I have come to the conclusion that I overstuffed my house, my life, my soul with things in the past near-decade to try to bury, forget, avoid, and ignore these things.

    Sounds familiar, though with different things

  • Fleur
    Thanks for sharing. I too belong to the Rubbermaid nation & will have to renounce my citizenship soon when I sell my house.

    It's so freeing, Serendipity! (love your name btw, one of my favorite movies is called Serendipity) Now most of the rest of the Big Blue Rubbermaid Nation deposit boxes in my basement contain my kid's stuff! LOL

    Someday she'll be taking it with her when she moves out! lol



  • Bstndance

    karen is right. you have a gift.... you should submit this as an essay to NPR ( they'll probably let you record it and put it on the air.

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