I’m a bit past letters to Santa, and it’s not like anybody really asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, at least not in the way that would imply I might actually get it.
But now, pressure off, reindeers long since disappeared over the horizon, I feel I can honestly tell you. What I really, desperately want, and have wanted for the best part of the year, is not to be given anything. It is to have something, lots of things, taken away. I think my ideal Christmas would not have involved receiving of any kind, just lots of people coming to my house and taking stuff. For nothing. No eBay or Gumtree transactions involved, no money changing hands. Just for Christ’s sake come and take this shit I don’t want or need. It is ballast. The dinner sets that have never, in their entire existence, known the sensation of food. The clothes I haven’t worn since the 90s. The stupid, dusty, unopened, unappreciated books (there are beautiful books that are worth their weight in gold, and then there are pointless bricks of paper that many trees died needlessly for). Take them. I beg of you.
In my wildest dreams I imagine a gigantic skip bin placed in my driveway, where I can throw all the ephemera that haunts me and taunts me and weighs me down. I might even open the windows in the lounge room, the ones with no flyscreens, and fling worthless objects in the direction of the skip bin in hopes they will reach their intended destination. Scratched, chipped plates might even shatter in a highly dramatic fashion on the footpath.
I don’t feel sad about any of this, in fact I’m having a hard time summoning any sentimental feelings at all. I just feel a bit angry, if anything, that my belongings have become such a counterweight to true happiness. That I allowed myself to accumulate so much shit. That I fell into the trap of wanting a bigger house, thinking that would buy me more space, more light, more room to breathe, when in fact all I did was fill it with stuff that slowly but surely robbed me of all those things.
I’ve been fighting the urge all year to just up stumps and go somewhere else. Take the husband, of course, the kids, the dog, one car, a few bags. But no baggage. No mortgage. No endless pursuit of something that’s just not there. But I dare not breathe a word of it. It’s such a big picture that it might just swallow me whole. What I can do is make a plan, smash some plates, offload some ballast. And hire a skip bin.