Cleaning house

I woke up with no big plans. I had let go of anything I’m “supposed” to do last week. I took a shower, dressed out, put on my face, packed my stuff to work at a cafe for the day, scavenged for food to take on my journey. I was all ready to go and then, I took a good look at my bookcase.

They were just sitting there. Like they had been for the year I’d been at this apartment. Just staring at me. Mocking me. Because I had so diligently read about the KonMari method of purging belongings of everything — yes, everything, that didn’t “spark joy” — I highly recommend that book by the way. Anyway, I had told myself the first thing I would do when I had time was implement the Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. Alas. Three weeks had gone by and I could feel my good intentions mocking me from the spines of the books shoved in and stacked high on the bookcase.

Okay.

Today is the day.

Per the KonMari method, I took all my books and dropped them in the middle of the room. Like so:

Honestly, there weren’t that many — I had left a lot behind when we left the house. I quickly went through and sorted through them. I had a good number of high school reads that I had kept for sentimental reasons. I felt I was done with them — off they went in the discard pile. I was able to shorten my keep pile to about 25 books. We’ll see if I can keep it at this number for a while lol. My Amazon cart says otherwise.

Once I got through the books, my eyes wandered to… the Box of Sentiment. Uh oh. This box contained every note, card, letter, ticket stub, souvenir, memorabilia since high school. I knew there was no turning back. I had to do this thing. In my mind they were just a hazy clutter of things, things that were supposed to mean something at some point.

Challenge accepted.

It was such a trip, going through. I started with the cards, letters, and notes dating back to the 2000’s. I cracked up at some sitting on the floor of the closet.

That’s… it? Hahahahha. I didn’t understand why he didn’t just write my name and his in Korean. Very cute though.

My brother must have thought he was going to write a lot — hence the small letters and positioning lol. He was probably got sidetracked with excitement that I was going to out of the house for 4 months.

One in particular, I thought was funny enough to share. I found a card given to me by my crush. It was so endearing and sweet and funny — I can’t even imagine what it had felt like actually receiving the card in 8th grade. I thought it was worth sharing so I took a picture of it and messaged it to the guy, who I hadn’t talked to… since we graduated probably, hoping he’d get a good laugh out of it lol. He did. I think we’ll be catching up in person sometime soon.

Wish I could show you in the inside hahah.

Some were repeated cards lol. It was interesting matching those up. I wonder how many times I’ve given the same card over the years.

Some were wrapped up like this one making it a ninja endeavor to undo the folds without tearing it up in frustration lol. I didn’t bother folding them back up.

Sentimental origami.

I reached out to some other people whose notes and letters had left an impression on me. Meet ups are in order. Very excited! Hahah.

Some letters, I read and was immensely humbled. I was shocked at the amount of love and affection and appreciation I felt — I don’t think I felt it to that extent at the time I received the words. It made me feel ashamed and unworthy — I felt like I had taken some of my friendships for granted, and now was blindsided, in a good way, by the depth and goodness of some of the people I was surrounded by. It made me reflect — was high school as bad as it had seemed in my head? Damn, when I explain high school to people, it was so full of dread, self-loathing, pain. Reading those letters makes me look like a melodramatic angst-filled teen that couldn’t recognize reality lol. Probably because that’s exactly what I was haha!

Then there were the note bags from church retreats. I didn’t even bust those open — too many little pieces. I just kept them. Maybe… in another decade I’ll take a look lol.

I don’t even remember the arm wrestling match — but I’ll take it hahah.

I remembered this one — someone had left a white envelope with this note and a hundred dollar bill at the gate of my old house. It was a time when I was financially struggling and I still don’t know who this person is. If you’re reading this, thanks — again.

Not much of a talker/writer this one. Big-hearted though, that’s for sure.

Then I got into non-word items.

This happened in 2008. Nuts. It’s pretty much deteriorated because of sweat…

This ticket cost $45. How times have changed.

This was taken by Stef after one of our football tournaments. Looks kinda artsy.

Reflecting on the game and which KBBQ we were going to hit up.

I… did not draw this. This was sketched by Jane. Per my request, she’s wearing a dress I had been eyeing at Windsor for winter formal. I did not purchase the dress. Damn, she’s good, huh.

Dated 2005 — junior year.

I used to collect rocks from the places I visited. I never labelled them so all I was left with were rocks.

Maybe they’re all from one place… they look pretty similar lol.

So much sass…

I forget who got me this but they know me pretty well lol.

One of the three years I got a birthday pin at Disneyland, I had used my friend’s friend’s pass on a day that was not my birthday. We had started in California Adventure, got the birthday pin, and everything was going beautifully — I was being hailed everywhere I went by employees, getting free stuff, and generally milking the Disney magic. Then we headed to OG Disneyland. As the lady swiped the card, she wished Grace a happy birthday. After she swiped Sarah’s card, something wasn’t right. Why did Grace have a pass under the name Sarah? She interrogated me on the spot and it was painfully obvious I was not Sarah. We kissed the rest of the day goodbye and headed home lol. Years later I got a real pass for myself, which I will probably never do again haha.

Happiest place on earth is also very expensive. It was worth it for one year.

This here is a Christmas gift from my brother. Whoever taught him how to knit forgot a couple lessons. I probably taught him lol.

What is this supposed to be??

I can’t believe I saved this from my three months of hell at Gen. Okay there were good moments but for the most part… I’m not a fan of running around obeying everyone’s every bidding and then smiling and making small talk to make some tip. I think I hated it so much that I was so moved by this note left on a receipt.

Never again.

Eventually, my floor looked like this. And eventually, I got everything sorted and back in the right place, the right place being the trash can for some items lol.

So much ish.

All in all, it feels good to get this done. It had been in the back of my head for years. And I was able to get rid of a lot of stuff and clear out my mind as well. It’s truly a trip to go through all the sentimental things. It reminds me where I came from, reminds me that I’m loved, and have been loved this whole time. It reminds me of the places I’ve been, the places my friends have been.

In a weird way, I feel like I’ve gotten a piece of the puzzle and I can move forward. I can’t say that not going through these things would have significantly hindered me but I feel like it gives me perspective. And like I had the chance to go through, process, and appreciate the journey and the people on the way.

What’s next? I don’t know, but seems pretty promising if this is where I’m coming from.

Originally published at gracejyk.com on April 5, 2017.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store