the MIRREN LEE

The 2012 Act Three Journey of an Actress/Coach/Writer.

Day 334 Chi Cha

Posted by themirrenlee on 02/12/2012

I have been organizing my possessions today to pare them down – these for the op shop, these for the trash, these for storing, etc. – and several things struck me as I was doing this. But I put a band aid on my head and carried on.

Sorry, I’m a bit punchy from making all the decisions about what to do with what. I have always found it utterly astounding how quick and easy it is to accumulate things. I have moved a lot, more than most people have had hot dinners. I’ve been in Melbourne only three years, and yet I’m in my sixth accommodation. Everyone knows to write my address in pencil. (Oh sorry, what am I saying, no one uses address books anymore, do they?)

I love change, and am easily bored. I think it’s so exciting to go to a new area and a new place. Even as a child, when my mother would decide it was time to move again I would get excited. Part of what caused this was a hidden hope that it would mean a fresh start for my family, and somehow the craziness would be left behind (of course, this never happened; you can’t outrun crazy), but mostly I always just looked forward to “the new”, whatever that was.

One big lesson I learned is that it is not a problem to accumulate things when moving into a new place. The Universe truly will fill whatever space is provided. More than fill it. I have moved into a new place with absolutely nothing – from furniture to appliances – and six months later I’ll find myself filling bags for the op shop again. We get so attached to our things, and yet if we store them and come back months later, we’ll find we even forgot we had them. Then once we know about them again, we think we can’t get by without them!

One of my sisters had a good trick she did with my niece when she was very young. She would put a whole bunch of the thousands of toys so many children seem to have (including my own) and store them in a box in the garage. Months later she’d bring some out and my niece would think she was getting new toys!

A friend of mine once dubbed all of our “stuff” – the extraneous items that decorate our homes and make them particularly ours – chi cha. I like the sound of it; it has an onomatopoeic quality to describe piles of things.

I want to travel light at the moment because I’m literally going to travel, and I don’t want to take up too much storage room at my friends’ place, so I’m really trying to be ruthless about it. But boy it’s hard – I find myself remembering when someone gave me an item and thinking I really should keep it because it was a gift, even though I really didn’t need it now, but that thinking could stop me from throwing anything out.

One way I’m helping myself to stop being Ms. Pack Rat is to remember that I’ll have fun scouring the op shops again when I come back from L.A. and move into my own place.

Now, as I said last night, I’m going to start working on one of my projects, so I’ll be posting regularly in that category, “A Different Kind of Normal”. I’m not sure if I’ll do it every day, but we’ll see what happens.

Forever, it seems, I’ve wanted to write about growing up in my family, because it was a pretty amazing upbringing. There are two books that run along the lines of my family, in that there is both ugliness and great humor, and they are “Running with Scissors” by Augusten Burroughs, and “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. There is also “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened,” a recent (laugh out loud) book by Jenny Lawson (known online as The Bloggess), but it’s done more in a memoir style, a la David Sedaris, one of my very favorite writers.

I have struggled with finding my voice and structure for the book, but writing these posts has taught me to “Just Do It” and fix it in the edit (as they say in showbiz). The event that kickstarted me to start writing this book again (and BTW, there are already three posts in the Category), was a conversation with the hygienist I saw on Friday. Every time someone asks me personal questions, we end up in WTF territory, and people literally saying, “You should write about that.”

She asked me if I had any children, and by the time I had finished with answering, “Yes, two, she’s 25 and he’s 45, yes, I was 16 when I had him, no I didn’t know I was pregnant, I thought I was a virgin, no it wasn’t that hard because I was already mothering my 6 siblings, yes, I got married but he wasn’t the father of my son, he was actually having an affair with my mother that I had no idea about, yes, I’ve had four husbands, etc. etc. etc.” You get the idea. She almost dropped the polisher.

Yes, I know there are a lot of dysfunctional families out there, but mine does have some really interesting twists. And I don’t want to write about it like “Mummy Dearest”, even though as I said there are ugly bits. I want to focus on how surreal, and therefore, at times, hysterically funny it all was. I can do that now because I’ve had many years of therapy!

Back to my chi cha first.

I’m just organizin’ …

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