This morning as I was doing laundry I decided it was time to move the Biden / Harris face mask from usage to my memory shelf in my bedroom. I walk past the shelf all the time, but as I added the mask today the memories and stories these objects represent to me just filled me with love and nostalgia. There are good memories and painful memories both, but that is the tapestry of life.
The shelf holds pieces of old costumes, thank you cards from friends, small gifts I have been given, stolen props from old shows, inside jokes, mementos of failed romances, important moments with my kiddos, possesions of loved ones no longer with us, and a bevy of other trinkets and echoes.
Erin Morgenstern in her newest book "The Starless Sea" has a line I really want to get as a tattoo, "We are all stardust and stories." This shelf holds the portals to so many of those stories for me. Some pieces I could explain with a short recital of a single moment. Others are entire tales with all the backstory and nuance of fiction. Still, others would be told with such a yarn that they have crossed the memoir line and actually become complete fiction. Collectively and individually they each remain stories.
Looking at this shelf you may see something I held onto from an event we did together. There are pieces far too small to make out in a photo from this distance that might just contain a fragment of our relationship too. Some people are in one item and others are in many, as the fingerprints people leave in my life are as varied as the people I love and call friends.
In some ways, this newest addition of the Biden/Harris mask may seem an anomaly. The shelf already has the first mask my daughter sewed when the pandemic started, so it was not that the shelf needed a mask to represent 2020. I added the Biden/Harris mask as a chronicle of when the metaphor for the shared community we are in as humans became a piece of fabric. I do not like masks, they fog up my glasses and disturb my sensory issues. I did not like voting for Biden/Harris, I wanted actual progressives. So like wearing my mask, voting for the Democrats was active participation in protecting the most vulnerable members of our community the best I can. The Biden/Harris mask like all these other tokens is a story, a history of how I and so many others chose the community's collective needs while another segment of our society chose their individual selfishness.
With time my shelf will acquire new relics because my life will acquire new stories that need to be remembered. There will be new testimonials to the love of my friends, new remembrances to loss, new trophies of shows completed, and more keepsakes that I do not know yet why I will find them worth keeping. All the pieces there now, and all the pieces still to come, and all the people in all the stories past and future will share one thing, we are all stories of the universe made from the same stardust.