Rethinking the souvenir

Tangible items have logical homes, places they belong. Ice cream in the freezer. Picture on the mantel. Tea in the mug. Where we store the physical remnants of memories and experiences remains a bit blurrier, more complicated.

RethinkingTheSouvenirWhen I got back from Turkey on Jan. 24, 2014, I immediately hid all my tickets, boarding passes, maps and brochures in a drawer with a thick rubber band corralling them. Eventually, per my lack of crafting ability, I moved them to a new home, a jar. An original feat, I know.

“I can’t craft.” “They look cool in there.” “They won’t get crumpled that way.” I explained my ‘project’ with all of the above, each a new way to deny the reality of an unnerving blend of emotions.

I felt happy, thankful, inspired, nostalgic and hurt when I thought of Turkey — a fusion that lingers in painful, magical clarity.

Sealing my emotions in a 500-milileter jar, I thought, would quiet the cacophony, leaving me to return to my everyday life in peace. Tonight for the first time, I removed the physical remnants of my Turkey experience from the jar.

Once a clear Mason mortuary, the jar now represents a realization, maybe even a revelation. Experiences worth meditating on aren’t solely those defined by unrelenting, uncompromised glee.

More often than not, glee and pain coexist in experiences worth exploring and, for me, worth writing.

While ice cream belongs in the freezer (though it rarely stays there for long, in my case), and Earl Grey tea forever belongs in my favorite owl mug, memories of Turkey don’t belong in some 500-mililiter mortuary.

They belong in my mind, where happiness, gratitude, inspiration, nostalgia and pain can roam through my life in unexpected, impactful ways.

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