thecorestories.com
A story about hoarding + holding on.
I am one of those people who always has 3625714 internet tabs open at once. Tabs from two weeks ago. Four weeks ago. Six weeks ago. Articles I don’t remember clicking and will likely never read. Google searches for things like “fun facts about armadillos” and “why is the sky blue.” I collect seashells and stones. Pennies, in case they prove to be lucky. I bought myself a bouquet of pink roses on my 24th birthday. The buds now sit in a small mug on my dresser, their blushing petals crisped to copper around the edges. My birthday was more than six months ago. I have volumes of voicemails saved on my phone: from my parents, my sister, my friends. One from my grandmother. One from an ex whose face I haven’t seen in years. I like to hold onto things. That’s why I write. That’s why I photograph. Perhaps it’s a learned fixation, instilled by my longtime journal-keeping habit, but it feels more like an inborn compulsion. Collecting is a way of bracing against impending loss. Documenting is a method for fossilizing significant moments in the ever-changing story of my life. … Humans are natural pack rats. When we’re not amassing physical stuff, we hoard memories, nowadays mostly in digital form. We gather data. We pile up proof that we exist. We are all afraid of life’s frailty and fickleness. We are all battling with our impermanence and insignificance. And so we grab for armor. Fancy new apps and technologies keep emerging to feed our desperate need to hang onto temporary experiences, from Instagrammed ice cream cones to Snapchatted sunsets to riverside runs tracked via Fitbit. This way, we can pick the events apart, edit them, and probe them for deeper meaning. Adulthood naturally urges us to feel oppressed by the passage of time and alarmed by the trivial transience of things, and these modern media compound the effect. I am grateful to have grown up before the dawn of the smartphone: as kids, most of us still knew the bliss of being fully present in a moment without worrying that it was slipping from our fingers. We played without needing to publicize the proof. Back then, a sunset still maintained its ephemerality, and ice cream cones weren’t permanently frozen in the Instagram icebox. A rose was simply a rose, not a prop for a photographic souvenir. Have you ever…