Cherry Blossom Girl

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

At the moment, things are a bit hectic in my life. I'm in the process of selling one house, getting another ready to sell and getting yet another house, ready to move into. Blah. Blah. Blah. Stuff. Stuff. Stuff. I really don’t care all that much until the coordinating, meeting, vetting and babysitting of contractors starts eating into my daily writing time, which it has, but I tell myself this isn’t forever Meryl, it’s just for now. (and it’s for a good cause, our future). 

So back to, stuff, stuff, stuff. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you never really realize just how much stuff you have until it's time to move it. I've been meeting contractors at my house (the one that is under contract and selling) and while they're working, I'm going through the stuff I've accumulated over the course of-...*scratches head*.....geez...actually, it looks like I have stuff my parents and grandparents were afraid to throw out…*face palm* -over the course of three generations. 

Stuff and things. Things and stuff.

Why do we do it?  What do we get out of it?

Why do I want to keep my tattered old blankie and thread-bare teddy bear? Why do I want to hang onto my parent’s high school year books? Why do I want to save my completely inane diaries from junior high? A scrap of my father’s handwriting. His report cards. My report cards. Mom’s nursing license renewals. Mom’s term papers. Dad’s drawings. My uncle’s birth telegram. Mom’s childhood rusty tricycle. My grandfather's embroidered handkerchief. The rocking horse my dad carved for me. Should I save the wedding pictures from my previous marriage? My Color Me Badd CD? 

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

I long for simplicity, but my heart literally pounds in the face of this kind of decision-making. Well…I actually pitched the Color Me Badd CD without a second thought. But everything else! *sigh*...sometimes, when I sit cross-legged on the floor amongst these books, boxes and stacks of paper, I fantasize about it all getting struck by lightening. In my imagination, I drive up to my house and find the foundation, crispy and black. A fire marshal stops me and says, “I’m sorry, M’am, but this house and all the contents within it were consumed by flames. Nothing is salvageable.” In my fantasy, I smile at the fire marshal and give a whooping fist pump and scream, "I'M FREE!!!" But in reality, the thought of me pulling the trigger, dumping it in the trash and saying goodbye once and for all to this stuff sends me into the first stages of a panic attack. It's really not a lot of stuff. I've really whittled it down from when I closed out my parent's estate in 2004. But it does seem like for every ten pieces of paper that I keep, I throw one away. I'll box up the rest and some day, probably the next time I have to move, I’ll start this emotional down-sizing process all over again. 

I'm finding a lot of irony in my life lately because this is the stuff, the essential theme of my novel. There’s a weird sort of symbiotic, method acting/method writing situation going on, where the writer and the main character are struggling with death and the concept of impermanence. It’s a hard pill to swallow. We want things, people, and our memories to last forever.  But they can’t.

There’s a poignant Japanese term, mono no aware, and brutally translated it’s the pathos of things or an empathy toward things and ephemera--really, it's a greater metaphor for life. For example, saying goodbye to a scrap of paper with my father’s handwriting is torture because it's really about the deeper sadness of the realities of life. On some level, throwing this paper away is saying goodbye to my father all over again. Nothing--lifetime brake pads, that scrap of paper, his life, my life, your life, beauty-- is forever. Mono no aware may sound depressing, but it's only depressing until you realize it’s a call to action for the present.

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

Every spring, the Japanese have a tradition called Hanami. You may know it as the annual viewing of the cherry blossoms. Japanese families break out blankets, sit and maybe have a meal under the fluffy pink Cherry boughs. It is a cultural tradition that is deeply entwined with mono no aware. These delicate pink blossoms are so luminous and beautiful and so very, very fleeting, that everything must be dropped so that you don’t miss the enjoyment of them. Candidly speaking in Japanese worldview terms: life is short, make sure to share it and make sure to enjoy the hell out of it. 

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

So with mono no aware in mind, Mr. Franzos and I dropped everything for a day and saw the national cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. We shared the experience with about 200,000 other people and we enjoyed the hell out of it. 

I know I'm busy and technically "taking a break" from the fashion blog until I've moved and have whittled our house collection down to one, but I couldn't not write this blog post. Inspiration came from the serendipitous intersection of many things this week, including this song. Do you have any philosophy of life affirming traditions? Please share them with me.
What I Wore:
Lace top: Deletta
Skirt: Vince Camuto
Heels: Manolo Blahnik
Earrings: vintage

Your bosom friend in Pittsburgh,

Proudly designed by | mlekoshiPlayground |