Wear and Tear

I got the inspiration for this small collection of pictures (that I may or may not add on to) when I noticed that I managed to rip a seam on a pair of relatively new boots. And then when I remembered the holes in the sleeve of my favorite leather jacket, and how the pocket of this same piece is held together with a fabric glue of some sort. And then I went to get my laptop, which has half of a cracked case on it (the other half broke about a month or so ago), out of my backpack, in which the holes where the zipper is detaching grow larger and larger every time the zipper gets caught on the string…

And then later, either later that day or the next day maybe, I went to open my drawer with the handle that has been broken since the day I moved in. And I was confronted by my favorite eyeshadow colors by noticing certain shades accented by the silver of the palette they’re held in. And the broken nose pads on my sunglasses, and my mini fridge that wobbles every now and then, and the chipping paint on my door…

And so on, and so forth, and so on.

So I’m surrounded by so much damage, if you couldn’t tell, and these are the trivial things. When I was back home most recently, I realized that when a house has been occupied for a certain amount of time, apparently everything starts falling to shit. And I realized during the fall semester, that if stress goes unchecked, grades and mental health (most importantly mental health) start falling to shit.

And when plants don’t get watered as often as they should, and along this same vain when relationships, platonic and not, aren’t tended to, and when good habits are not cultivated, and when materials are not well preserved, and when clothes aren’t washed on the right setting…

And so on, and so forth, and so on.

I’m finding that everything, at some point, just has to fall to shit.

There’s a scientific term (one of maybe three things I remember from high school chemistry), entropy, that describes the general decline towards disorder, which seems to be a more elegant and intellectual way of explaining things “falling to shit”.

So in looking at these things, and these people, and these elements in general crumbling around me, becoming damaged, I also thought of a question: how long do we hold onto things before we decide they’re damaged beyond repair? How long do we hold onto people until we decide there is no more fixing we can do? How many times will we sew the crotch of a favorite pair of leggings before we decide it’s time to throw them away (asking for a friend of course)? As dancers, when do we decide that our ballet shoes have too many holes? As students, when do we decide that our laptops are failing us enough times to finally toss them aside?

As individuals, to make a darker point, how deep do we let ourselves spiral? How “damaged”, by our terms or others, do we let ourselves become before we realize we’ve hit bottom?

I don’t think I’ve hit a bottom – I’ve felt like it, definitely, but I don’t want to consider my hypothetical bottoms as true bottoms in case I ever actually hit the bottom of the deep end – but I’ve let myself fall into damage further than I would like to admit a few times. Further than I’ve noticed, I’ve learned recently, and I had to ask myself, why did I let so many holes open up and why did I let so many cracks form before I started patching? Before I started figuring out if my warranty had expired – how had I gone so long without realizing that in some areas, I had given up and/or let myself go?

This ended up being a longer thought on my photo series than I thought it would be. And in exposing my damage, I’m not looking for comfort or pity or any of the other things that people do when others admit that they’ve struggled and are still struggling in some ways but improving but still trying to stop struggling (which begs another question – what and who defines a “struggle”?). But I’ve been thinking about damage a lot – physical, material, emotional – and how long it takes us before we realize that our things, or we, are almost in pieces.

I don’t care to admit how long it has taken me before I realized that there was yet another crotch hole in my favorite pair of leggings. I haven’t yet decided how long it will take me to send my backpack back to North Face in the hopes that the warranty hasn’t expired. I don’t know if I’ll ever get facilities to fix the handle on my drawer, since it’s been that way for months, or whether I’ll retire the leather jacket, or if I’ll ever bother getting a new fridge, or when I’ll throw away the “plants” (in quotations because 2 of the 3 are dead) that I stopped watering months ago, or when I’ll let go of some relationships with people that are declining towards disorder…

And so on, and so forth, and so on.

A lot of things are or have already crumbled around me, so I took the time to document a few of them in an effort to make myself notice.

What damaged things are you still holding on to?

How many times are you going to patch them before you throw them away?

2 Replies to “Wear and Tear”

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