Saturday, February 1, 2014

Junk By: Karen Pilarski

When living in one spot for many years, junk accumulates. Take it from me, a person who lived in the same cramped apartment for seven years. Each purchase or gift received piles up in a dark corner of an empty room.

Especially with a husband who doesn't want to part with or throw away anything. I would love to have garage sale but we lived in an apartment building.

Sun, rain or moderate cold, people in the city of Milwaukee loved to throw yard sales.If a person was hankering for hand me downs, there were big cardboard or neon signs advertising one.  

Some sales were just random clothing hanging off a balcony or tables of odds and ends scattered. Before third grade we rented a house. 

Across the street was a neighbor Dad dubbed "Noah." As in Noah's Arc. A man in his seventies with bushy white hair and a limp. Noah held yard sales daily. Here is where "Noah" was an appropriate nickname. He set out things in two's. Two tires, two bikes, two hammocks. You get the picture. I wondered if Noah was some crook that sold his loot.  

In third grade we moved into a duplex. When we lived in the duplex we put on yard sales to earn money. Mom would eye up a potential buyer and whisper "Ohhh, we have a bite." 

We would eagerly watch all the people hemming and hawing over the junk on tables. The funny thing is while it was a meal ticket for my parents, it was a competition for us children. 

We would taunt each other "look, she is looking at my Rainbow Brite doll." The younger kids would sob over a dusty VHS tape of Barney or naked barbie with a rat's nest of hair. Ah, memories.

In a sense not only does junk pile up in a physical space, but also a mental space. Bitter memories of being bullied or emotionally scarred makes a home in the cortex of the brain. When nothing is done to sort through the junk it starts to attract cobwebs and a thick layer of dust.  

By that point the thoughts may have been pushed way back. However, convenience during a fight or a sore button is hit and WHAM, it resurfaces almost like new. 

While not a hoarder in the object sense, I am a one in terms of my thoughts. I have a habit of not letting go and flashing back to things when there is a trigger. It is almost as if my brain is working against me. 

Writing has been my outlet to discuss what is pressing against my mind. When thoughts bunch up like a closet full of board games, basket ball and old shoes. No matter how hard the door is shut, items spill out eventually.

Recently I have heard from people who have been collecting junk thoughts. It piled and invaded all available space. Until it took over the heart. That is when everything tumbled out of the mind's closet. 

It is hard to sort through junk. It once meant something or held special meaning. If we just accept all the junk, there is no room for new thoughts or memories. 

Here is a poem I wrote in college. 

In This Room 
 By: Karen Pilarski

 Daunting shadows press their bodies against the wall
In this mind the shadows take up space and time
Memories linger and spirits fall
In this room what was once before binds
Dimly lit windows decorates the dark house
Like changing moods that have sunk through time
Washed my hands of the sticky situation, quiet as a mouse
Time is all but mine

The air stale and musty fills the aura of my heart
Gasping for brand new feelings that have not yet formed
In this room the shadows dance and laugh at the one who fell apart
The damage is done the heart has grown deformed
Furniture traps my body in place
There is no room for love to be replaced
Wasted energy like static
Clings to my soul, deadly and tragic

I know deep down it is time
To let those bad feelings die
Let love like flowers bloom
But not while I wait desperate in this room.

There needs to be spring cleaning of the mind. One man's trash is another man's treasure is a saying I have heard. What we no longer need or want, someone else might be searching for. Over time the discarded junk may shine again in someone's eyes.