I bought a new plant the other day. It’s a replacement for the two kalanchoes that just died. In my defense, I find them hard to keep alive. This time, their pots were too large. I projected: I like space and thought they would too. But Kalanchoes are fans of being constrained.
The new addition is a Ginseng Ficus Bonsai. I’m a little intimidated. Especially after the plant murders. Though I did cut shoots from the dying before sending their parents to the big compost in the sky. They seem to be doing okay though they may need therapy as they age.
I like having plants. I used to pretend I didn’t care about them one way or the other and intimated I put in no effort but that was a lie. Houseplants do take a little work. Some of mine have long legs: the oldest will hit thirty-two this September.
I do find plants a little stressful: I get attached and there’s guilt if they die. It’s one reason to reject seasonal poinsettias. I can’t keep them alive for anything. And seeing them in the wild was the final straw. Our sad specimens can’t compete, dedicated horticulturists notwithstanding.
I still don’t quite believe it.
My latest Funko vinyl figure just arrived.[i] I got a Maleficent. I’m a long-time fan from long before the Angelina Jolie movie. Sleeping Beauty is my favourite Disney cartoon. I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream. I’d have bought Aurora too, but there’s a limit to how high I’m willing to let my credit card balance climb.
Still, a new collection is a fun thing and it was nice to look over at my black and white Wanda and Vision dolls the other night as I sat in bed crying. The pain was winning – nighttime is the worst. Especially the nights the pain pills don’t work, which happens more often than one would think.
Despair is never a good place: you make bad decisions.
I thought the other day, I understand heroin-use more. I’ve said it before but only half-meant it. I’m more serious now. Not that I would. But the physical pain is a serious motivator, apparently more so than the mental struggles I thought couldn’t be beaten. And you get desperate when the pills don’t work and the heat pad doesn’t work and you can’t sleep and the hours you’ve been trapped like this keep climbing.
And COVID is making the doctor/get help thing a bit of a challenge.
But I looked over and I saw Maleficent sitting on my dresser.
When I daydream, it’s often about disastrous situations and I shine. I kick ass and take names. This is not shining. I think about Angelina’s Maleficent and amputated wings. I think about people pushing through bigger problems with more serious consequences. Perspective helps. So does planning my hunt for a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy Pop! figure. I calm. [ii]
The problem with the Buffy figure is it’s super expensive. That any of them are more than twenty dollars is ridiculous. Buy them because you love them but never as an investment. Value is based on scarcity: these things aren’t scarce. The people who buy and hoard them and leave them imprisoned forever are free to do so but they’ll miss the joy. The thousands attached to this or that Pop! collectible are of the ephemeral, beanie baby-bubble type.
I open the boxes. The artificial demand and high pricing is frustrating my collecting some. I’m also weirdly aware of sexism. I decided to only collect women and non-men and they are outnumbered in supply by a ridiculous ratio: it’s probably twenty to one. Extra-terrestrial archaeologists will be shocked to discover women are more than half the population.
Collecting’s an odd thing. Hoarding according to arbitrary categories and almost everyone does it for reasons varied and personal. I think for me, the value is that my collections are of the world. I can get trapped in my head, in my thoughts, in the neuroses, in the pain. My collections act like anchors. They also give me a reason to keep going. I’m the best at loving my stuff.
Pain leads to despair and despair leads to bad choices.
My collecting keeps space available for hope. It’s a reason to keep going. I have acquisitions to acquire and things to learn – bonsai care and feeding, for instance. Maleficent’s loyal raven picked up the moniker Diablo in the 2014 film but I think “Hope” would’ve been a better choice. Hope is what gets you through.
Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all. (Emily Dickinson). [iii]
Do you collect?
What and why? Have your collections changed as you’ve gotten older? Do you have the ones you had as a child (I wish I had those hockey cards)?
[i] Vinyl is one of those things that I don’t think about. I had several of the Pop! figures (popular because of their big eye, big head baby resemblance, I’m sure) on my dresser before I realized I wasn’t entirely sure what vinyl is. It turns out it’s a petrochemical product, which I would’ve known if I’d thought for even a second. We make a lot of interesting stuff from oil. We should stop wasting it on cars.
[ii] I love “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer”. The show was my jam. I have all the seasons on DVD. Yesterday, I read a letter that Charisma Carpenter, Cordelia from “Buffy” and “Angel”, penned about the creator, Joss Whedon, whose work I have always admired. And yet, for all that, I never followed him as a person – I don’t fangirl that way for any of the people I have affection for. I’m interested in what they produce. I’m also team Marvel. I didn’t know about the controversy surrounding Justice League. I’m devastated to learn he’s apparently an abusive ass.