Fragmented thoughts of a fragmented mind

17 Jun 2018

storage

I just moved out of my rented storage space of six years, having rented it a few months before I moved to SF in 2012. When I moved back here in 2015 I assumed I was going to be a nomad for at least a few years, so I continued leaving the bulk of my possessions there.

I started it with it barely half full, filled with stuff I moved there post-breakup. Each time I returned to Singapore I stored a little more: my parents moved so I had to move my childhood stuff out of their place, in between lengthy trips to Vancouver, Hong Kong, San Francisco I brought stuff. The final time I stored stuff I shipped back from the US.

My storage was essentially a time capsule.

In 2012 I spent most of the year living out of a suitcase. It was surprising how little I needed. Yet it was really comforting to own a few pieces of furniture, to expand my wardrobe a little when I started a lease in SF. I could own more than a pair of shoes. I thought I would stay there forever, so I didn’t really hesitate to own stuff I loved. I was blindsided by the time I had to leave, so it was painful bidding goodbye to my things. Among them was a little wooden stool I bought from a sidewalk stall for $25. It sounds weird, but I still miss that stool. I had an apartment full of stuff, but all that was left from that time of my life were three boxes I shipped back to Singapore. Three boxes of prime possessions I decided I couldn’t live without. Somehow I didn’t tape the boxes properly, so some spilled out. USPS (I didn’t have a budget for better lol) bothered to put most of it back for me, but till today I don’t really know what I had missed.

I tell people I have abandonment issues. I fear being abandoned, but the deeper truth is I fear abandoning. So many times I had to pack and unpack my life. It is like a repeating exercise of zen: how many times can I let go, how many times do I have to let go?

Clearing my storage for the seemingly final time, there was a lot to let go. I felt strangely emotional. It was like a chapter had finally closed with another opening. There was stuff I had accumulated since I was a kid, accompanied with stuff I accumulated in a previous major relationship, topped up with stuff I accumulated in the few years I was away. I am somehow the same person but I am distinctly different. The person who packed those stuff in the storage doesn’t really exist in me anymore. Looking at my things, I couldn’t recognise my past self, I felt sympathetic, compassionate and amused at the things my past self felt like she needed to keep.

Yet there were stuff I would not let go of as long as I can help it. My Faye Wong CD collection (haha), letters from the past, mementos from people I love(d), etc. I felt poignant thinking that these things can finally see some sunlight as I move them into my new home, yet apprehensive: how long would it be before I have to pack up again?

But there are some moments in life when we just have to take leaps of faith. I have lived a lot of my life preparing for the worst and it defined me so much, for better and for worse. Now, I want to learn how to live my life hoping for the best.

Terminating my storage was a step towards that, that I am at a place where I can settle for long time. I don’t know, there will probably always be that doubt living inside my head, but I am slowly learning to co-exist with it, tend to it, be considerate to it, instead of letting it take over my life and my decisions, like it has done for most of my life.

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