Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Fear Of Loss - 1 Dan - 0

You wouldn't think an album that came out two years before I was born would light the fuse to a moderate psychological meltdown followed by a reflection on the human condition, but I made it happen.

I've been going through my old music collection over the past few days. A lot of it is on CD and cassette and I'm trying to decide which songs and albums I want to upgrade formats and which ones I'm willing to let go.

I have several stacks of CDs teetering next to my computer. And even though I LIKE most of it, some of it is music I haven't listened to in years.

So now the decision must be made. Which songs do I like enough to rip to my computer? Which albums are worth my precious hard drive space. Yes, Aerosmith's 'Sweet Emotion,' but do I really need the wear and tear on my CD burner when I can turn on any classic rock station and be guaranteed to hear it within a half hour? As much as it meant to my teenager-hood, will my life be any worse if I never again hear Jake E. Lee's awesome guitar riff at the beginning of Ozzy's "Bark At The Moon?"

Besides, it's not like you can't find these things on YouTube.

But what if YouTube crashes? What if rock radio finally dies. What if I need to hear TNT's "10'000 Lovers (In One)" RIGHT NOW?

Love It To Death by Alice Cooper was the final straw. I was agonizing over how much I liked "Black JuJu" when I realized I was doing nothing more than creating misery for myself.

Is the "Hackers" Soundtrack really worth this level of emotional trauma?

That's when it hit me.

The music was not why I was upset. I was upset because I have a hard time letting go of things. I have a fear of loss.

Some people would be content with this insight, but I decided to try a self-experiment.

I challenged myself to throw out one thing in my apartment. I didn't care what it was, but it had to fit two specific criteria.

1 - It had to be something I haven't used in years.
2 - It had to have some emotional connection with me.

Guess what?

I couldn't do it.

Oh, I could throw out the stuff that didn't mean anything to me or that I forgot I owned. There was some stuff, I had fond memories of but wasn't particularly attached to--in those cases I batted about .500 with being able to get rid of it.

But anything of sentimental value--a paperback copy of The Godfather missing the cover, a DVD copy of the first Mortal Kombat movie, an old Vampire: the Masquerade Role Playing Game Supplement--stayed, no matter how useless.

I would reach towards them, and a part of me wouldn't even let me CONSIDER throwing them away.

Emotional attachment is a powerful thing.

It made me think of how we cling to things from objects, to jobs, to relationships,to ideas about the way the world works long after they've served their purpose.

I couldn't throw away a VHS tape containing a Utah Jazz playoff game from 1999 and some dubbed Sailor Moon episodes. So I guess that's a lesson that I can be a lot more empathetic to people who have a hard thing letting other things go.

Especially when one of those people is probably me.

New City Show tonight. Looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 6 - New City, Edmonton
Monday, October 12 - The Comic Strip, Edmonton

Dan Brodribb's Geek Love appears every two weeks at suicidegirls.com. Latest article is here.


Miss Mercedes said...

This is really cool! You're right, it's no wonder we hold on to relationships that are long dead...its the memories and the sentimental value and the wanting back what was. I like the way you worded it and I like that I can now compare all of those things I miss about ex-lovers to my frog coffee cup with the missing handle...

Now...seriously though...if it is on VHS...you CAN do it...you CAN let it go...

Jeff said...

Hah wow that Mortal Kombat Movie thing really got me. That was a big part of my childhood. I'm a master of parting with possessions, but that's mjust because I hate having my apartment full of objects, it just makes things seem busy.

I think your probably more normal than you think in this regard. people usually can't part with anything. Maybe your just good at identifying your emotional connections with objects, as opposed to other people who just dismiss it as pack-ratism.

Not that I'm a big advocate of ebay or the pawn shop, but would it be easier to get rid of things if you sold them?

Simply Shannon said...

Wow Dan! I love this post! I do the same thing. Gosh, no wonder I feel so anxious about letting go. It feels like letting go of my past. That may be a good thing but it's also a part of ME (and that's exactly why I feel fear to let go). Okay wow. Thank you Dan!

And Mercedes: I am laughing out loud about comparing ex-lovers to your frog coffee cup. That's certainly an interesting twist and fits perfectly!