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Shedding   —   Personal

I own a lot of movies. I kind of have this problem, see, I feel an intense need to possess every movie I've ever seen and enjoyed. When I lived in NYC I found that the cost of buying a DVD was prohibitive to collecting them in great quantity, so my collection would grow in spurts whenever I would come across a good sale. Upon moving to Portland you can imagine my utter joy when I discovered that there's a fantastic little store called CD/Game Exchange that houses a large library of used movies ranging in price from $1 to $10. They have a great $2.50 lot and their $5 lot is something to be admired as well. On my days off I like to take a stroll down Hawthorne and leisurely pick through the hundreds of titles whose price tags urge me to buy more, More, MORE! To make matters worse, CD/Game Exchange resides right next to Hollywood Video, yet another movie vendor being hit by the economy and slashing prices down to $3.50 for a used movie or buy 2 get 1 free, etc, etc. In the two years that we've lived in Portland my movie collection has tripled in size.

In one of our living rooms (technically a very large dining room) there is a narrow ledge that runs above the wainscoting along each wall. It houses my DVD collection perfectly and when you stand in the middle of the room you can turn in any direction and see DVDs. I've blogged before about how when I'm confronted with a great many options my brain seizes and stalls. I stand there wide eyed and blank and I might as well be drooling on myself because at least then people would know I'm comatose and need to be snapped out of it instead of assuming I'm being thoughtful and leaving me for hours to ponder what I believe to be the great gravity of movie picking decision making. In recent months I've found that I had become so flustered with this process that I'd abandoned looking at my DVD collection altogether. It gives me great stress to gaze upon the abundance of options, knowing full well that I've seen every movie before, some many many times before, and yet I'm always in the mood for something NEW. Some unexplored movie watching experience that I would savor with a glass of wine and bowl of popcorn. An experience that for weeks to follow would be so vivid in my mind that I could tell you what I was wearing, the lighting in the room, the weather outside, if I had a cat on my lap or a husband by my side. My usual response to all of this conflict and desire is to walk over to Movie Madness and rent a New Exciting Never-Been-Seen-Before Movie! And then, if I love it, I search for it used to purchase and sit on the shelf for a year before watching it a second time, thus repeating the whole unsavory affair. As much as I cherish my movie collection, as much as I truly believe that each title I own says something about who I am, as much as all of this and more, I have become heavy with the weight of them. I feel crippled and possessed by them.

I have a similar problem with books. My bookshelves are packed with unread books silently calling out "pick me! pick me!" whenever it's time for a new book to read, and sadly I rarely do pick them. Instead I have a handful of "go to" authors and it's their books that I end up reading, leaving the random book I bought on a whim because of a glowing review to gather yet another layer of dust. And again, it brings me great stress to look upon these unread books. They serve as a constant reminder of things I haven't done, books I have to read, things I have to get through, to check off the list, to add it to the pile of experiences that is growing so tall it's beginning to wobble.

I think it's because of my recent health-style reshaping that I'm going to do what I'm about to tell you. Of course, I've been exercising daily, but what's more is that I've begun to really change my eating habits as well. I'm trying to eat cleaner, if that makes any sense. I've replaced my candy obsession with fruits and nuts, I'm drinking an absurd amount of water daily, and I'm trying to retrain my brain on serving sizes. It's a very difficult process and I'm grateful to my husband for his unfailing support and encouragement, without which I probably would have given up on day two. I'm far from reformed but I'm enjoying the process and I'm finding it interesting what other parts of my life are being affected because of my change in the way I'm thinking and consuming. Which brings us back around to my overflowing, overwhelming, collection of movies and books. After a great deal of thought and discussion I've decided to sell about 90% of my collections. Last night Adam and I went through them together, discussing each title and why we should keep it or part with it and placing the rejects in a large box. Already I feel lighter, free from the constant urge to buy more, own more, and my home feels lighter too. The newly freed space on the narrow ledge smiles down at me, undemanding and content. The same with my bookshelf too. What remains there feels attainable, doable, promising. And for everything else, there's always the Library.

I guess what it all boils down to is that I'm weary with all of my wanting. I want to eat sugar ALL THE TIME. I want to drink wine ALL THE TIME. I want to buy used movies and books ALL THE TIME. It's overpowering my brain and the urge for these things is always with me. It's an unhealthy fixation, an obsession really, and while I'm able to control it frequently I'm tired of having to do so in the first place. So I'm cleaning out my life. Ridding myself of some personal toxins in order to help shape a better version of me. And isn't that what life is all about? Improvement. Progression. Evolution.

Being human is hard.

Posted 7.15.2009 5:16:47 PM

JenniferRabbit wrote:
some helpful advice about the sugar cravings...frozen red seedless grapes; watermelon frozen on a stick like a popcicle (you do need to add a little bit of fresh lime juice and a little bit of sugar, and candied orange rinds (orange rinds, without the pith, simmers in a water and simple sugar mixture, then cooled); as well as dark chocolate dipped strawberries, really do help. All of these have a geat amount of fiber, as well as good antioxidents and vitamins for you. You can't go cold turkey - event beans have natural sugar in them!! Oh, and if all else fails, a glass of white wine (but then you might just end up eating goobers anyway) I can find you the recipes if you would like to try them. XXOO
Posted 7/15/2009 5:24:32 PM
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