Wednesday, April 19, 2017

011: Squalor

current state of mess in my room

I watched a youtube video on Erik Satie the composer's life. (I can't find the link, sorry) Gymnopedies is a favourite of mine. Right after his death, his friends entered his apartment. What they found was chaos and squalor in that apartment. There were 2 grand pianos one stacked on top the other. The top piano used as storage space for his compositions. A collection of umbrellas. Compositions stuffed in coat pockets. I did the most natural thing googled for a photo & got nothing significant. lol He did die in 1925 so I wouldn't expect anyone to take a snapshot and post it on instagram.

I've been struggling with the accumulation of junk for a long time. I have hoarding habits. My grandfather was a hoarder, some of my relatives are hoarders. If I ever was a music composer, the scene above could very well have happen to me. My one great fear in life.

When my grandpa was still around, this was happened at one point in his HDB flat (Please google HDB Singapore for meaning) Unusual for a HDB flat it had a high ceiling. Suspended 2 meters above was a queen sized mattress and stacked on top of that was some chairs I think. He loves fixing things. The apartment was filled with weird contraptions. Like the fan that would switch on when you switch on the lights in the toilet. Wooden extensions he made to the sofa. We hardly exchanged words neither me nor with the rest of the family. He never explained why. He would bring home things he found outside, things people throw out. My grandma would bitch about it non-stop when she was alive. It's actually quite organised for a hoarder, due to my grandma's nagging. She kept him in check.

During art school I accumulated a large collection of art material for art works. Ahhh that brings back memories. Mostly failed art experiments that produced a pile in my corner of the room in the Goodman Road campus. A pile of objects 1m depth x2m width x2m height …that was the rough volume of things I collected in that 1 year of art course. I couldn't deal with it anymore. Also I kept seeing art pieces being made and being thrown out casually. Our students room was around 5m from the schools dumping area. I definitely developed a complex because of that. Art one day rubbish the next. I threw everything out including my career in art. A bit silly looking back but I was a "child" then, so it felt right at that point.

My next hoarding trauma is actually not caused by me directly. I am responsible for it because I didn't stop it from happening. My ex boyfriend had a habit of collecting a lot of things. CD, books, little objects. He spends time and money on these things. That's well and fine. Only he didn't have a room of his own. That's how they all ended up in my room. Those objects and books did give me joy at some point just like how my ex gave me joy once. After 9 1/2 years the things only occupied space. Finally I had enough, everything went (my ex include). After much tears and packing I cleared my room of 21 very heavy boxes of things. I sent them to his mom's place.

After that hurdle everything was easy to deal with even my move to Italy. Hoarding & messiness comes very natural to me. I've developed a talent of finding an object in complete chaos. So a messy table is not stressful. The trick to throwing out things is to ask yourself what place or value an object has offer in your life. If an object no longer has a purpose in your life then out it goes. The problem is when an object holds too much value and too much memory. And you have a lot of those objects then you are done for.

Of course it feels good after being liberated of the boxes of things. It's like you've mentally carried those objects, holding on to those memories. Getting rid of those things also means letting go and finding another way of remembering without those objects. This is an ongoing struggle.

#sliceoflife #Italy #Singapore #ErikSatie #gymnopedie #2grandpianos #grandfather #hoarder #grandmasnagging #HDB #GoodmanRoadcampus #pileofobjects #artpieces #dumping #trauma #collecting #joy #hurdle #messiness #talent #purposeinyourlife #memories #lettinggo

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