I’ve been packing steadily for the last week. My garage sale, called a ‘menangerie sale’ for the classified ad, went so so. The rain fell most of the weekend, but what shocked me is the unsentimentality I have for the bulk of my possessions. Books, things I paid hundreds of dollars in overweight trucking between Trinidad and Barbados, right down to clothes and toiletries, child I put in the front of the house in Alfred Richard St, and whoever came, bought what they wanted to buy.
I made about $1000 over the last week. That works out to something like a £100. It covered the cost of two pairs of Levis and a Levi jacket that will only last me until the end of September, before it gets too cold. I have so little money to actually get my life going in the UK it’s not funny, but I am not deterred. I am ready to do it. I am ready to go.
I’ve cast off all the things that I can’t afford to ship, all I refuse to pay overweight for, presents given to me that are now merely the trappings of my past. I’ve whittled down, pruned my books down to one box that will no doubt cost me at least a few hundred dollars to ship to Barbados for my mother to hold onto for me. I will still be overweight and have to pay it twice, because I am going to Barbados to spend at least a week, maybe ten days with my mother. My brother is taking up one of my suitcases a few days after I leave. Mostly it’s non-essential things, but it might save me from paying double overweight.
I look at these things I’ve lugged around with me, and I just want to be rid of their weight. It’s cumbersome, but it’s a very jarring experience to feel so ‘don’t-care-ish’ about things I’ve cared so much about in the past.
I find myself struggling to do something I haven’t done in more than ten years: Throw away receipts! This may sound like a stupid thing, but I am anal about retaining my receipts! I am terrified I’ll be audited one day and I will be unable to account for my income. It’s because of this habit I know I made BDS$12800 in 2000, and not in a steady stream, and devastatingly long months between the paltry amounts. I haven’t thrown these things away yet, but I’m thinking about it!
I am digressing, I know. The point is, I’ve reached this ‘fuck it’ point, and am just getting rid of even the dearest things, the prettiest things, the clothes I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on, all of it was reduced to weight I didn’t want to carry or pay to be carried.
So I am making an end to my life as a pack rat. I am so stressed by all this moving shit, that everyday this week I have battled cravings for cigarettes. Yet, I am resolved and as Roland, Stephen King’s grim gunslinger, I will let go of all that is extraneous to my objective and doing it come hell or fucking high water, oui? Don’t know, I really want a fucking smoke!
The stress is mostly because I don’t have enough money, and still have so much shit to get rid of. My ‘menangerie sale’ goes on until tomorrow, Friday, but at this stage it’s the dregs and most people who have been coming buy or calling, are looking for things I don’t have. I have $2500 worth of books to get rid of, and refuse to go below market value just because of the sale. A friend of mine who is opening a book store, has told me he’ll take them off my hands, but I won’t get cash for them, instead, I’m going to turn them into at least two beautiful outfits made in Nigeria, a dyed indigo blue, Osun’s colour and in her alleged dying process; both of them traditional Yoruba style. We’ll see, some would say deal only in cash, but I’ll never get $2500 in books sold between today and tomorrow.
I just want to get on the fucking plane… all this leaving I’m doing, it’s the more I want to get out of here. The more I linger here, it’s the more money I find a way to spend. There is a part of me that just wishes someone would come right now and put me on the plane, and I can just walk away and leave all of this junk and shit behind.Some of it I can do that with, just abandon it all, other things it’s impossible to do. I have to knuckle down and bloody well get though it. So, the sorting and the throwing away, giving away, selling continues, at least until tomorrow.
This is the lightest I will be moving country in years! It looks like I will be leaving with a suitcase, a duffle bag on wheels and my carryon and well, that’s never happened before. When we came from Barbados to Trinidad in 1993, it was by boat and we brought 17 boxes, bags and suitcases.
When I tell people I am leaving, the next words out of their mouths are “So do you have a job?”, “Do you have somewhere to live?”. My answers are no, and they tell me I’m brave. I tell them, I’m not alone in the world. I have close friends, family and a network to tap into in England. That’s all I need. What else do I need?
They tell me, “I would need to have a job and all those things taken care of.”
I suggest that the world is never neat and in this particular adventure, I am inclined to make as few plans as possible. It sounds crazy I know, but I don’t want to rush to find a job or rush to find an apartment. I want to poke around a bit and see what I can see, see if this is for me, or if the next clue piece in this game quest my life is carrying me on appears.
I have this gut feeling telling me, as long as I make it to England, things will further reveal themselves. As in, a job, an investor, a course of study, an opportunity of some sort will get me to the next level.
Trinidad was just the first part of this quest thing I am talking about. England is a new level for me. I know once I get there, the next part of the quest and the tools I need will be presented to me, a new set of teachers and teaching relationships, I may or may not get a map, but I know that’s where I need to be in order to get to the next level; whatever or wherever that may be or happens to lead. Part of it, is knowing that now is my time to try and get my break.
Maybe I should be more scared, but there is a sense of the anti-climactic as well. I mean, I should be more excited, but I’m not. Maybe the drudgery or packing and stuff has deadened my senses slightly, but I also feel lighter. I feel lighter than I have in years as well. I guess what’s keeping me is knowing that no matter what, come Monday, all these things are in the past and whatever happens next is part of the future. It’s a future with a goodly bit of shit left behind, believe it, believe me, and be happy for me.
My life has changed, I have changed and am continuing to go through it. I feel more like myself than I ever have and the pleasure I am taking in throwing away, abandoning etc. is slightly perverse, but no less powerfully liberating.
So in the interim, in this momentary space, I shed my possessions like dead skin cells and ruthlessly quell the whimpering and quailing in my heart. Fuck it! I will not be held back by these things! So as much as my heart says, ‘hold on’ my head and body are pitiless with her. We are going forward and that is not practical my dear, so be a dumpling and be pragmatic won’t you?
I’m game. I’m ready, I’ve been sticking and I’m unstuck now though. My heart’s hitching in my chest, but this time, I’m not looking back.