I’ve mentioned that my word for this year is Reclaim. It’s a slow goal, not something I can snatch up and be done with. It’s more about remembering who I am than checking off a list of goals. I want to reclaim the Masha who read piles of books in a room of incense and candles, not ‘read 22 books in 2022’ (which, let’s be honest, is a pretty meagre goal).
I want to reclaim the simple, daily beauties – scones and houseplants, aprons and pretty dishes; not simply declutter and decorate. I want my attention to return to lasting things – to renew old devotions and refresh ideals.
So I’ve been staying away from the internet as much as possible. The internet is full of things, and distractions. Of course, it can help me find a kantha quilt or a stone and bone rosary, but it also tends to meld all the unique ways of seeing into a mushy sort of soup – bland and overcooked.
Too often, online nuances are lost. A long reflection by Dostoyevsky is cut down, torn out from it’s context, and scattered on a 1000 disagreeing Instagram stories. Everyone starts to look the same, sound the same, think the same…and yet they all talk about being “unfashionable”.
[ I hope that doesn’t sound snotty and dismissive. Every time I talk about escaping the sense of being devoured by the masses that this Too-Connected world gives me, I feel as though there is someone, reading, who feels attacked. I am not attacking… I’m clearing out the clutter in my own soul-house. Maybe yours is full of similar, unnecessary items. Maybe watching me pull out all those knickknacks is making you question your own collection? Maybe not. Either way, please, read this as yet another spring-cleaning for my soul and not a statement on your own. My perceptions of other’s are merely that – perceptions.]
Part of my reclaiming is the attempt to distance myself from the soup. To reconnect with the me that is unformed by a constant stream of other people’s comments.
Of course, I’m still coming back here occasionally. I’m still selling my writing to a few, small outlets. I’m not a full-on luddite yet…but I am realizing that to reclaim my own interior life, it is necessary to shut out the things designed to kill it. Even the aspects of it that seem harmless enough.
So we’re buying more reference books to make it easier to look up information at home. We’re listening to more records and fewer podcasts. I’m thinking less about what to write here, and more about what to write in my little (someday to be independently published) book of herbs and folklore.
My days feel longer. Sometimes, the whole day and into the night feels like a someone took one of 90s Masha’s images of The Ideal Future and ‘painted it in gold, and quite big’ then breathed life into it and set it up to live. Other times, I feel like Mal in Firefly – “So here’s us, on the raggedy edge” – and I’m glad I have a brain full of good quotations to gather to me when I need them.
It’s a long, slow process. Not spring-cleaning or even year-cleaning. It’s life-cleaning. I’m dusting out my soul-house, opening long-neglected doors and finding rooms full of beauty to rediscover. And it’s thrilling to know that there are always new doors. My soul is like the Winchester house.. haunted, beautiful, and continually expanding as long as I live.. “built to music…and therefore built forever”