possession

flea market, brugge, once were (prized) possessions?
flea market, brugge, once were (prized) possessions?

So, here we are, four weeks later (ok so I’m late, this last post was prompted yesterday).

The last and final prompt for day twenty of Writing 101 from WordPress is

                                              “Tell us the story of your most-prized possession”

For this final assignment we were urged

                             “to lead us through the history of an object that bears a special meaning to you”

And the twist?

                         “We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now, let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to long form writing. Let’s celebrate the drawn-out, slowly cooked, wide-shot narrative.”

So here we go.

See you on the other side, when I’m done writing.

 


 

I have an intense dislike for any question that starts with

                            “what’s your favourite colour / animal / number / song / food”.

Yes. So, when asked to write about my “most-prized” possession, guess what, that is if you are still with me after my four week long assault on my English language, I reacted. Badly.

Then, I thought.

I know, collective *gasp*.

I know what I will write about.

So, I will. I am.

And, it may take me a while to get to the point. And, I will, in time. I need to talk a little first.

My first thought?

I don’t think any of us ever “possess” anything.

We look after things, we rent things, we are custodians, stewards. We don’t possess a thing. Not a single thing. Not really.

Not in any sense that means a damn thing.

And even when we think we possess something. Does it bring us happiness? I mean the possession of things.

Is a billionaire happier than the man who sleeps under a bridge at night. Really. I wonder.

Reflecting, I thought about the things that I might have valued, counted, as “possessions”, if I was so inclined. And I’m not. But, hey, bear with me. My childhood is something I may write about, but the memories are not something I cherish. Far from it. I wrote here about the death of my father. Later, my mother died of a terrible cancer when she was still quite young. I have lost touch with many who are very important to me, my two daughters for example (and that’s a story for another day, another life).

Those relationships are not “possessions”, but many cling on to them as if they were.

Their very existence in some way defining us.

So, no, I don’t “possess” those things.

Not any more.

I walk alone. Often. Or so it seems.

I once had religion.

Well, I was indoctrinated, force fed, I embraced, I knelt, I prayed. And then, I lost my religion.

For good, or bad 😉

Teach a kid when he is four that God made the world in six days, then that he sat back and had a rest.

Then, later, introduce Schrödinger, quantum mechanics, the holocaust, and relativity theory.

Light blue touch paper. Retire to a safe distance.

I may sound cynical.

I assure you that I am not.

I may be free writing a little.

But, I do have a point and plan to get there.

When we are born. We come with nothing. We leave with nothing.

We will argue with each other, and ourselves, until our sun immolates itself and vaporises our little pile of dust, that we take something to the “next life”. Maybe we will or maybe we will not.

But when we do, if we do, we sure as hell (if it exists) will not be taking a single one of our “most prized” possessions with us. No, those poor Egyptian Pharaohs, those poor workers sacrificed to honour them, were wrong. Ask Howard Carter.

Memories? What of them? People we knew, once knew, now know no more. If we ever did.

Do we possess those memories. And if we do, what of it?

Not so long ago, in relative terms, I lost pretty much all I had worked to “possess”. Did it matter? At the time, I thought it did. Only the things I really possessed in any material sense didn’t matter a damn.

The things that mattered were more elusive. Deeper down.

There is only one thing that we possess. That we can possess. Any of us.

Our sense of who we are. What we are.

Maybe not why we are. But hey.

That is the only thing that we possess and we must take care of it. If we don’t we not only hurt ourself, we hurt everyone around us.

We take so much care for those around us.

And so often, neglect the one person who really relies on us.

There is a reason that airlines advise us to secure our own oxygen mask first.

(inspired by this, #am_still_learning)

 

14 thoughts on “possession

  1. I relate to your dislike of these kind of questions and prompts. I hate them. Mostly because its meaningless to me as I don’t have most liked whatever in my life. Surely not possessions.
    Your words entirely resonate with the way I think and what I believe in.
    Indeed we may own nothing but ourselves.
    I am sorry to hear about your mother and daughters. I haven’t yet read about your father. But will after this.
    You’ve been through a lot.
    Your photos and words carry the mark of someone who has seen good and bad, sweet and sour, and for that can speak from the heart.
    I feel privileged to read what your heart speaks.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Lucile, I am also very conscious of your insight about not burdening the listener. So, I guess there is a fine line to be drawn when telling a story. The privilege is mine, that you read and like what I write.

      Like

  2. That last line, for me, summed up all we need to know about possessions. I cringe at the ‘stuff’ people need to have. Ever go to estate sales–‘dead people sales’ a friend of mine calls them. All your possessions for total strangers to buy for super cheap. By all means, secure your own oxygen mask first. Fantastic, Andy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another amazing post, Andy.

    I didn’t get to this prompt, but it is one of the ones I’ve kept saved in my e-mail inbox to tackle some time in the future. Unlike some of the prompts that I chose to ignore because they didn’t resonate with me, I think this one is worth diving into at some point.

    I had the same sort of thoughts about the prompt as you did. I really don’t think any “thing” is important enough to be a “prized possession”, and people and pets (contrary to what many believe) don’t belong to anyone.

    You did a great job with this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I found this post very honest. I like that. So many of us have the same thoughts but don’t write them down. That is one of the things I’ve learned from this writing 101. Another blogger I read said it like this…we have so many things to unlearn… Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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