by: Mar Curran
It’s probably never a good thought when you look around your bedroom and think, “This is just like that one episode of Hoarders I watched last weekend.” Anyone who has seen my bedroom on a regular basis probably knows this isn’t too far off. It’s definitely not intervention-worthy, but I do have a propensity for casually tossing things onto my bed until I spend a week sleeping on the couch because there’s no room left for me. It makes me wonder when it became that there wasn’t room left for myself in my own life anymore.
I just spent half an hour throwing out around four years’ worth of Teen Vogue issues from at least five years ago. I only threw them out because my cats (God love them) spilled half a bottle of St. Ives moisturizing body wash onto them. If half of them weren’t soggy and reeking of oatmeal I might have kept them through my next apartment move in a couple of months.
Am I a huge fan of Teen Vogue? No. I find it rather gauche and irrelevant to my lifestyle since they target rich fourteen year old girls, not poor queer transmen. But I still have them lying around. I almost had an anxiety attack throwing them out. What if I could sell them in the future, make back the money I invested in them? What if there was an article in there (because we all know I read Teen Vogue for the articles) that would prevent me from getting cancer someday? Or lead me to eternal happiness? Or help me find the perfect lamp for my living room?
The beginning of the clutter came after my brother’s death when I was six. One minute he was there, and the next morning I remember my father telling me he was gone. Gone where? How could I bring him back? Why would he leave in the first place? I shifted the loss onto inanimate objects. Throwing something out would mean regret later in life, an emptiness that could never be replaced. Holding onto things meant they’d be there for you when you needed them, no matter how distant that day was.
Things never left you. Things never lied. They were pretty and silent, not judging when you couldn’t get close to anyone again because they would hurt you too.
But even if they were there, things could never give me what I needed. Things never held you when you cried. Things never told you they loved you. Things weren’t the ones taking you home from bars when you drank too much and told your best friend you wanted to die instead of thinking about your abuser.
Since I have started cleaning out my apartment and my life I have gotten rid of mountains of things I don’t need. And with that I have begun shedding the emotional weight of death, abuse, abandonment, rape, assault, fear, and hurt. The clutter in my mind is gone. It’s been replaced with an openness in both my living space and my emotions. I don’t have to hold onto what I don’t need. I am learning to love myself in the gaps of where other people couldn’t love me the way I needed. If I fall I have chosen family members to catch me. There is no more room for clutter.
They say you can’t take it with you when you die; I’ve decided to let go of it all a little sooner so I can carry more love along with me.
Mattis “Mar” Curran is a trans/queer rights activist and community organizer; he is on the boards of Video Action league, Advocate Loyola, the Queer intercollegiate Alliance, and works with GetEQUAL. As spoken word artist, he has read at each All The Writers I Know event. He studies Communications and Women’s Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Curran likes beer and cats.