I love my Cloud 9 hair straighteners. I love my Leeds United shirt. I love my 1950s hoop skirt with a poodle on. All of these things, while very different, have one thing in common. They are stuff. Just stuff. Easily replaceable, well maybe not the hoop skirt, it is an original, but nonetheless stuff.
I’ve been thinking about things that actually matter. Real stuff. Sentimental tat that looks like rubbish to most people, but whose eternal disappearance would upset you the most if your house burnt down. I’ve come up with a little list, and why it matters.
My silver wrap thumb ring that my Grandma bought me when I was sixteen. This was my first piece of real jewellery. Before that I’d owned a vast collection of rubber bangles and plastic karma beads which I thought were cool at the time but, really, what was I thinking? My thumb ring was proper jewellery though. I wore it non-stop for thirteen years until, sadly, this year, I snapped in clean in two while half asleep. I haven’t thrown it away though. I’m determined to get it fixed even though it’s silver and, on the face of it, “cheap”. The cost of fixing it isn’t relevant. Its value is more than that. To me at least.
My silver charm bracelet my Grandma gave me. Now this is an especially heavy charm bracelet. Nothing like Pandora this is a proper original one that my Grandma wore back in the day. When I was little (OK, I’m still little but, when I was a child) I loved playing with all the little charms (a lot have moving parts) and my Grandma promised I could have it when she passed away. She’s impatient, still alive and I have it now. It’s completely irreplaceable and I hold it responsible for my love of all things vintage now.
My signed picture of Al Pacino that my uncle bought me. This is probably replaceable, but he does get older every day so the likelihood of a duplication diminishes. My favourite actor, the picture itself shows the final scene in Scarface, my favourite film. It hangs above my bed. I know nor care not what potential boyfriends think of going to sleep underneath a picture of Al Pacino holding a gun. It’s awesome.
My battered up teddy bear my Mum gave me when I was born that she herself had owned since she was eight weeks old. He’s been around for everything I’ve been through. Anything you’ve had all your life has to mean something right?
My ticket to the Leeds United v. Tottenham Hotspur match in the FA Cup last season. I have a lot of football tickets. I have a lot of concert tickets. But this one is special. We won, for a start, but there are lots of other reasons it was a good day. Long story, but of all the “scraps of paper” (an ex-boyfriend’s words, not mine) I’ve kept over the years, this one really really means something.
My notebooks. Almost everything I’ve ever written is saved electronically, but everything I’ve ever written started out on paper in pen. I can’t think on a computer. My brain just doesn’t work like that. My stories are pieces of my life, my characters my children, the places they were first scrawled out is so much more important than the black mirrors they reflect off now.
So, those are my important material possessions. Everything else is either replaceable or I’d get over losing it. These things though, they matter. And while I probably couldn’t carry them all in an inferno emergency, I do have a lot of notebooks and my hands are very small, they will always be special to me even if they look like total crap to everybody else.
What matters to you?