TuckerSelfPortrait FishLady GlowingLady Budda

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ALL THE OLD STUFF?

littlemer

I’m on my fifth month of microscopic house cleaning. And by that I mean cleaning out my 1600 square foot house…completely. The job of building a new home over the course of a year means me, Gary (my boyfriend) and Tucker, (my 13 year-old son) must take up temporary residence in a 1000 square foot apartment.

So, there has been the move into the apartment and the move into the storage unit. This requires incredible vision (on my part I may add), a look into our future – what do we need now and what can we live without for the next 12 months? And what should be trashed, recycled, sold or donated? How does one give up the ghosts? It’s a task I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy (or maybe just the sort of thing I would).

The men in my life have no problem with this division of property. They packed some stuff then said, “I don’t care what you do with everything else. I’ve got what I need in this box.” How can they be so cavalier towards their stuff?

How can they not look through every book and re-read highlighted paragraphs? How can they not try on their clothes to see what no longer fits, what sort of fits, what might fit later on? How can they not care about photographs, old magazines, letters received and sent (did they not make copies of the really good ones they mailed)?

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IF A CONFESSION FALLS AND NO ONE IS AROUND TO HEAR IT, DOES IT STILL MAKE A SIN?

(Robertson Prize Nonfiction Winner)
littlemer

The drills happened every Wednesday night -- up at St. Francis de Chantal. The earthly saints, bound in black and white, snapped the whip as we recited our catechism lessons, instructions and protocol —beating and berating us with the seriousness of it all. Our First Holy Communion.

As part of this religious rite of passage, we had to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (as they call it now). Back then we just called it, “going to confession”. And it was up to me to come up with mine. I worked on it for months.

How far back should I go? Should I start big and work my way down? Or inch my way up to my worst transgressions? Should I include all of them or save some for later? What if they’re too bad? What if they’re too good? What if I don’t have enough? What if I have too many?

The saints never told us how long a confession should be.

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IN THE BEGINNING

littlemer

The first time I lied I was four. I stood my ground, digging my size one’s into the carpet. Unwilling to admit the truth, I was ordered to bed with no milk and cookies. It was a seminal moment for me.

I was living with my father’s old and beloved Aunt Bella and Uncle Bill, while my very sick and pregnant mother was in the hospital and my out-of-his-mind father and three older sisters were back at home an hour away. I had never been alone before and believe this experience was life changing - irrevocably separating me from my family’s identity, sometimes in big, loud and rowdy ways and sometimes like a whisper.

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