Memories are the Most Important

If your house were on fire, what would you grab first?

My first thought was that it depends on whether “house” meant my apartment or my room at my parents’ house (because even when I was living in Chicago,
I still had a fair amount of stuff stored there for safekeeping). After that, though, I decided definitely my external hard drive: it’s got everything — photos, videos, all kinds of documents, essays, emails, scanned journals from when I was little, favorite recipes.

I am a very sentimental person, for all that I try to be practical. Yes, on the way out the door, I’d grab my messenger bag, with my laptop, wallet, phone, iPod, journal, current book (The New Jim Crow), folder with important papers (including copies of my name change judgment order, which I carry with me everywhere I go), keys, and camera. And I’d grab my social security card and my passport because they’re on the dresser by the door. So that would take care of most of the practical considerations.

But my first thoughts are for the sentimental — my photos, most of all (although now they’re conveniently on a hard drive), my lantern and that one box of stuff from Hell Week (because, of course, I’m a Mawrtyr), my old signed theatre posters from high school, my favorite signed books — Queer (In)Justice, Kate Bornstein’s books, GenderQueer, From the Inside Out.

Thinking about this actually makes me want to upload as much as I can to the internet. The internet, after all, can’t catch on fire and burn down. Documents, photos, videos — much of it can be put on the internet, and as long as I can find a safe place to store it, I’ll be golden.

Still, I’ll admit that I am very attached to things. I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m materialistic (or at least, I don’t want to be), but I don’t really like getting rid of things. Nearly everything is tied to a memory for me — that sequined top I’ll probably never wear again that I wore during the dance show my senior year in high school, that Georgetown Visitation mug I got during choir tour my junior year in high school, the medal I got after five years at Sup Sogui Hosu, my old dance fans (the ones I’ve had since I was eight), the Tri-Co t-shirt, my Hell Week schedule, my May Day posters, the ridiculous light-up caterpillar my friend gave me in Chicago. Things aren’t generally important to me for what they are so much as for what they stand for.

Because honestly, memories are the most important to me (aside from actual people, and I’m trusting that the people with whom I’m living are capable of getting out on their own for the purposes of this question). Photos, quotes, videos — they’re like echoes of moments, frozen in time. Papers, clothing, random trinkets — it’s about remembering who I was, who I was with, what I was doing. I don’t like letting anything go — I don’t like letting anyone go. And that’s why I’m so attached to everything I own.

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