Debra Swersky
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Opt-in for weekly journal, not blog, posts.

My Stuff (Continued)


It was an emotional week. All of our belongings were delivered on Saturday. By Sunday the essentials were unpacked and out of boxes. And by Monday I was left to answer the question, "What do I do with the ballet slippers?" In my previous post a couple of weeks ago on "my stuff," I recalled the ballet slippers that my friend in Spain signed for me as an item that I wanted from my boxes in storage but couldn't immediately access. I rationalized wanting to display them as to my reason for wanting to access them.

So, now that I had them in my possession for one full week the question is: What happened with the ballet slippers?

After a week of pouring through my life's history - box after box of memories - I ended up recycling a whole lot of paper and curating the story of my life. I went through baby pictures and pictures from my sixth grade, high school, and college graduations, scanned important notes from friends and newspaper clippings in which I was named, and organized everything into considerably fewer boxes than I started with. But then, amidst the papers, file folders, binders, and books were the ballet slippers. As soon as I held the slippers in my hands I knew that the time had come to answer the question, "What do I do with the ballet slippers?" Do I display them, throw them out, or forget about them somewhere in a box? 

It was a difficult decision, but I decided not to display them (contrary to my prior post). I strongly considered finding a worthwhile spot for them in my new office... but I didn't. The shoes, as wonderful as a memory my trip to Spain was, don't trigger strong enough emotions for me to remember my time spent there on a regular basis. 

As a self-proclaimed minimalist, this past week I found myself in an interesting predicament. If I wasn't going to display the ballet slippers that I loved so much from my friend in Spain (which brings to mind Spanish, the Arts, Spain, Travel, etc.) and I was going to put them back into a box to remember when reminiscing about all of the cool stuff that I did in High School... then what was I going to display? Great question. 

For my fancy schmancy new desk I selected a glass fortune cookie that my mom bought for me in Vail, a wooden horse that reminds me of the endless afternoons of creative happenings at my grandmothers house in South Africa (which sits atop her vintage tin that says "Simplicity"), a flower made out of Coca-Cola cans and four books: Zen Pencils (a graduation gift from my cousin), The Art of Business Note Writing (an oldie but a goodie), Pause, and Desiderata (both given to me by my mentor). Because I have no other professional "home base" I also decided to display the one staple item that has traveled with me from each of the desks that I have occupied: a picture of the love of my life framed in orange. 

Each one of these items invokes a feeling of encouragement, a confirmation that I am supported and loved, and a reminder to challenge myself and my thinking and that of those around me. 

As for the rest of the apartment, it's certainly Cloud 9.1 - thoughtfully organized and optimized for efficiency.

Debra Swersky