Sometimes you give somebody a gift, and it all goes horribly wrong. You share a book with them and they break the spine, you knit them a sweater and they shrink it in the wash. Or worse still, they spill your beans without your permission, or they take your heart and crumple it up in a little ball. In sharing something you love with someone you care about, you give them the ultimate gift of your trust. And they break it.
One could say, don't be attached to the thing you have given. The moment you gave it, it wasn't yours anymore anyway. And that sounds very enlightened and all namaste and shit. But most of us aren't Mother Teresa, and most of us feel hurt and angry and foolish and sad and we vow never ever ever to do that again. And we hold our stuff very tightly. We surround ourselves with it. We step around it and over it, we balance our coffee cup on it, we throw a blanket over when others come over lest they see it and want it, we put it in little boxes that we then put in bigger boxes and finally we stack them in the garage until that's nothing but the biggest box of all. We hang onto so much stuff that we buy bigger houses and storage units and we do anything to hang onto the stuff and not suffer the wounds that come with losing it at the hands of others. Eventually, we are drowning in the stuff. We can't open the blinds to let the sun shine in because the windows are blocked with stuff. We can't sit and listen to music because there's no empty chair, and where the hell is the iPod anyway?
I've lost a lot of stuff lately. Things and feelings and relationships that were important to me have gotten shattered. And whether it's because I wasn't clear how valuable they were to me, or those I gave them to were careless and scuffed them beyond recognition, the fact is that I felt hurt and angry and foolish and sad and I vowed never ever ever (ever) to do it again. But having climbed over the stacks, waded through the piles, and finally clambered over to the windows to yank open the drapes, I realize I'd rather be a little battered than a prisoner of my own stuff. I'd rather be a little out there and exposed and at risk of losing the shit that's important to me again than be buried by it. I will not become a hoarder. Anybody wanna borrow a book?