I just finished reading “The Fountainhead” — this isn’t the blog for my review, which I’ll do on my book blog later when I have the energy to retrieve the appropriate quotes and such. But reading a book so full of symbolism made me begin to look at my own life. Already I had been contemplating the idea of possessions as symbolism. Many people remember me for my massive numbers of books. I liked that. I would not get rid of a book that I had read or intended to read. My bookshelves were stacked two deep and I had more piled in my room and more in boxes. When I started thinking about getting a Kindle for the first time I resisted. Part of it was the tactile thing the feel, the smell of books. But part of it was missing my library. And I began to ask myself what did it symbolize to me? I was disappointed to learn that to me it was more of an ego thing than a love thing. I do love a great number of my books, but I was holding on to a great deal more than the ones I loved — ones I never intended to open again partly because it created a greater library. It gave me the image of a reader. I am a great reader, but my library said nothing about me, so I got rid of probably 4/5 of my library, keeping only those that I truly loved or at least respected. Now I think if someone looked at my library they might have more of a sense of me. A symbol of what kind of reader I am. (Although I have currently loaned out three of my favorite books. . . haha.)
I was also thinking this weekend about another kind of symbolism and me. The messiness that once plagued me. Since arriving home I have kept my room perfectly tidy. It hasn’t even gotten a little messy. But many of my friends and family can attest that wasn’t always the case. I am often teased about this (many times because I used to make fun of myself for it — mostly out of my own shame. I guess I thought if I laughed first it wouldn’t hurt as much when they laughed.) But the messiness, I’ve come to believe was a kind of outward example of my own inner messiness. One time a friend of mine in Brazil said that to me and I was furious with him. I thought, “No, sometimes I’m just messy.” But I think my fury was just an acknowledgement of how right he was, at least in my case. Right now I am at peace. I am happy with where I am. There are things I still struggle with, of course. Life is never a cake walk. But I feel like I am following the path I am supposed to. I’ve never been at peace with my place in life before. I’ve always struggled before. I’ve always felt in turmoil as if being tossed about by the ocean. So I suppose it is no surprise that my space reflected that. People still tease me about my former messy way. I suppose they don’t know that I’ve changed. It has only been a short while, after all. And those memories, even just of the mess, are painful. Maybe someday, I’ll figure out a way to ask them to stop the mockery.
What do the things that mean a lot to you say about you? What about the things that embarrass you?