This here is an ode to the many things I left behind in community. When you enter into community life you bring all of your worldly possessions or lack their of. I came well endowed with things and over time those things sort of got enveloped into the community with little opportunity to grieve the loss of those things. It just is. It is not to be mentioned or viewed as a loss, rather you are expected to keep trucking on and not consider the micro loss of self.
In my departure from community to extended family living I am often struck by the loss of these things that somehow seems so tied to a loss of self over those nine years. Or rather not a loss of self, a stifling of self. That somehow with each of my personal items discarded I was asked to give up a piece of myself as well. Maybe that is why things were never easy for me in community, because I was never willing to surrender myself.
So here is an impartial list of the things I once had and once was that were surrendered to the community gods for passage to what was an amazing and tumultuous almost decade.
3 Fire Rings
Over the years I lived in many community homes. Four as a matter of fact, and in three of those homes I made fire rings. I love me a good bon fire. Either splitting wood as a form of emotional release, or using broken furniture as a started, or just something to keep warm by on an Autumn evening, their is an endless list of reasons in my mind to pull up some turf, and line it with found rocks, and then fill it with burnables, and then sit back and relax. Of course by the time I made the third I had zoned in on the perfect size, and relationship to the house and yard. We had built Adirondack chairs, had picnic tables close by, and a swing set purchased with that sweet sweet federal cash of tax season. All of that is gone now. I now live in a place that is not mine, and I cant just up and build a fire swing, chairs, and swing set. These are things we actively choose when we leave a place, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
When we moved into community life we had two cars. They were both functional well running machines. However the community refused to buy them from us, and while working 100+ hours a week we struggled to sell them even when we tried to pay our friends kids to sell them. And so they sat there, and lost all their value, and eventually had to be towed away. We left with one car, with substantially more miles, a but ton of body damadge, and in the hole for a whole car lost.
1 Piece of Irreplaceable Lace Made by my Great Grand Mother
In community living there is this indistinguishable thing called house laundry. Now if you horde all your worldly possessions in boxes and never take them out, they will not be used and thus will never fall into to the invariable hole that is house laundry. I personally felt that to keep my things tucked away would deprive me of the joy they should rightly be bringing me. Right? WRONG. The one thing I had, the one piece of her I had left, was a beautiful piece of lace she had made that was a table covering. We used it for a special occasion, and despite my explicit training in around laundry and posted instructions, the lace made it into the regular wash and was cleaned, and dried, and thus riddled with holes. I was devastated and it still feels like a constant loss of the person I was once and the lineage of women I came from.
So. Many. Mugs.
So I have two theories here. The first is that peoples hands are perpetually glazed with oil and thus when they try and hold one of my very specific and just the right kind of kitschy mugs they instantly slip from their hands and crash onto the floor breaking. The other theory is that people are super passive aggressive and just break my mugs. Like an unfathomable amount of mugs broken. And yes some of them may have only cost me a quarter, yet what of the hours spent toiling for the perfect mug? You can not put a price tag on the hunt!
17 Wool Sweaters
Now to be fair not all of these sweaters were my personal property. Many of them I purchased for others at Goodwills or found at free clothing swaps. But I need I mention again the hunt? And I need I again mention the training in about laundry and the posted reminders??? GAH!!!
So you get the gist. I lost my shit in a purely material way. And now I am starting a whole new life, and from time to time I feel the pangs of loss that are the things that once served me that I no longer have. And sometimes those things are material, and sometimes they are emotional. Either way it hurts, and either way I need to find a creative way to get that thing back because I need them in my life now. So now we end on a positive note and cheers to all the things that will replace and surpass the things we have lost.