My mom jokes that I’m a hoarder. My mom and I obviously disagree on the semantics.
I like to preserve things. Too many things, she says.
I have saved bills from restaurants, movie tickets, grocery bills, screenshots of phone calls, autographs, newspaper cuttings, old fliers, Q-cards from events, coins from other countries, hand-written notes and letters. You get the idea.
Hand-written notes and letters. I have a special thing for them. I still carry around a handwritten letter my dad sent me in 2009 in my wallet.
It reminds me of what I shared here in 2011.
Oh, my wallet. My sister gifted that to me more than ten years ago on my birthday.
Everything I preserve has a history behind it that I cherish, such as this wallet.
Ironically, tidy and organized that she is, the same sister is quite the opposite of me in this regard – she had made me get rid of my notes from a class in middle school to clear the “trash.” I’m sure they would have been a fond addition to my collection.
We’re different. We’re wonderful and distinct in our own ways.
But I understood why she was more efficient than I was at organization after I spent hours together sorting through my belongings and cleaning my room the past weekend. It’s only been months since I moved. Given how much money changes hands for every hour I spend working, it wasn’t a feeling of success.
I raised the threshold of the importance occasions or people would need to have to preserve memories associated with them. Needless to say, I can travel much lighter now that I got rid of so much stuff.
It is easy to get used to and dependent upon support. It is perhaps one of the pitfalls of growing up in an extremely loving desi family, and having a lot of friends. The assurance that someone has your back, that someone is always there to rescue you if you screw up, gave me a sense of security and helped fuel complacency.
My sister, speaking after her marriage, said a big difference in her new life away from our parents was that she now had to fend for herself more than ever, to actually answer and face the consequences of her mistakes. She gave an example of her losing her passport sized photographs. My dad would be the one doing all the running to make up for her mistakes, but all that he would say, no matter how many times she faulted: “Oh don’t worry beta, it’s okay”. “Beta” is an affectionate word for son/daughter in Urdu.
I have to admit though, that this kind of support is not true for everyone – first because my dad’s daughters were just that, absolute princesses to my dad, and secondly, because dad was and is a very rare gem of a person – and I don’t say that because he barely ever shouted at any of us siblings (*lol*), or because of his mind-blowing intense selfless love and sacrifice for our mother and for us.
Living away from my parents, I feel the pinch too. Even if my parents couldn’t solve my problem for me, such as taking my exam for me (my dad would joke about it), they would push me to work harder and give me huge mental and emotional support. They still are out there for me, as much as distance permits and as much as I let them in on my issues, given that it would make them extra worrisome. I have a lot of friends, and some of them are out there for me just as I am for them. I consider myself lucky for that.
But then there are things which you have to face all by yourself, all alone. Things that aren’t going away anywhere, things no one is going to solve for you. You wish for someone to fly into your life and change things for the better. If only that were possible. The only way would be to stand up and fight – the cost of accepting defeat and fleeing would make it a non-option. Facing the hammer repeatedly seasons you to better face challenges in the future.
It makes you stronger each time, which is good preparation for what you want to be and try to be – the same backbone support and dependence for those you love. Enough to be able to make this promise: I can’t promise to fix all your problems, but I can promise you won’t have to face them alone.”