October 3rd, 2022
“History is a guide to navigation in perilous times,” said David McCullough. “History is who we are and why we are the way we are.”
When we think of history, we tend to think big. History of cultures, history of religion, history of cities and states and countries, history of the world, history of the universe.
Sometimes we fail to keep the histories of ourselves.
My mom was a historian. She kept things, and the things she kept were important to her, but they were also important to history. The history of family, the history of words written and actions taken, the history of herself.
I believe that hoarders are extreme historians. I do also think there are elements of addiction and mental health issues related to hoarding, but I think it starts in a place where they believe they are preserving important things, and importance is subjective; importance can be shrunk down and blown up.
Things can mean nothing and everything; the exact same thing can mean nothing to someone and everything to someone else.
We fight to live in the present, but it’s an paradoxical way of living; we are where we came from and where we’re trying to go, too, a mosaic of today’s moments, yesterday’s consequences, and tomorrow’s intentions.
We can’t remember ourselves all at once, so we need history to be complete.
Kanye disagrees, saying, “I feel like I’m too busy writing history to read it.” He ignores what Marcus Garvey thought, that “a people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” I agree. I think that leads to forgetting yourself. People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them, says James Baldwin.
We need to know that we were here the whole time, and that we meant something, always.
My mom took a lot with her when she left (too much, if I can be honest with you), but she left me with history, too.
And it helps me feel complete. It shows me how I’ve learned and changed; it also reveals who and what I’ve loved all along. I see that my philosophy of kindness was there in the beginning, I lost it somewhere along the way, and I’m finding it again now.
But, more than anything, it reminds me that I meant something, to her, always.