One day I opened my closet.
And saw a wall of trash.
The trash-seeing spread.
Until I came to realize that nearly all of my VERY IMPORTANT THINGS… are garbage.
To understand how extraordinary this is, you have to understand my attachment: I have the hoarding gene.
I have written about this before, when I was reading the book STUFF: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, and also when reading Coming Clean.
I saw myself in these books, but I still kept all of my collections of all of my things… because obviously I am not a REAL hoarder and I should DEFINITELY KEEP ALL OF THIS STUFF FOR THE DAY I NEED 57 CAKE PLATES.
It’s been since last year— when I randomly opened the closet and saw trash… I thought the de-crap-athon was coming to an end. I felt good! Like I cleaned my brain.
But then, I heard about this Netflix show called “Tidying Up”… about getting rid of your crap.
I watched it.
It was a level of Come-To-Jesus that rocked my world.
I looked around.
I still had SO MUCH CRAP.
I got the book– The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
A new game-level commenced.
It didn’t take long for the house to become an absolute disaster area… I am unsure how I can possibly STILL have SO MUCH CRAP even though I’ve been getting rid of stuff for months.
By day three, I was physically and emotionally exhausted.
The overwhelm transformed my brain.
I could CHOOSE to be DONE with ALL of this crap.
I am not RESPONSIBLE for ANY of these THINGS.
JUST BURN IT ALL DOWN SO I CAN BE FINISHED.
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An entire bookcase.
Mary Karr is incredibly tedious.
Scruples is a timeless literary masterpiece.
Also, at some point, I thought I was a dress-shorts person.
Fabric. Ribbon. Patterns. CRAP.
I have just enough sewing skills to attempt whatever idiocy I MUST create… and so I have a fine collection of “patterns” I made out of wax paper.
Going forward, all of my distractions will be giant and maddening and life-consuming and not addressed with fabric.
Or disco balls.
More than just the plastic crap– the STUFF that I considered an important-record-of-my-life… it became easy to DETACH.
It became OBVIOUS.
The T-shirts we signed for each other at summer camp.
The shoes I was wearing the night I met Paul… when it was time to retire them, OBVIOUSLY I could not throw them away— they were a marker of something important!
Being RELIEVED of my VERY IMPORTANT STUFF is the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me.
Although, I did have to get a photo album out of the garbage, even though I had already thrown a bag of cat poop on it.
I texted Lara to tell her how liberating it was to throw my CTY stuff directly into the garbage… and her response was – NO! TOO FAR! RETRIEVE!
If you too are alumni, brace for crushing nostalgia.
The next level. Was rage.
I was not expecting that.
I have been living my entire life, surrounded by crap.
A storage-inn, where I have cataloged all of my life choices and also all of the things that I have ever/never used and also all of the things that I EVER MIGHT POSSIBLY NEED.
I realize now:
STUFF has been a HUGE GIANT STRESS FOR ME FOR MY ENTIRE LIFE.
I had no idea.
I realize now:
I have been keeping things that make me feel REALLY BAD AND SAD AND MAD.
My high school yearbook.
High school was the most heinously miserable experience of my entire life.
Just THINKING about it fills my body with static and stress and sadness.
Why have I kept souvenirs?
Because I thought I HAD to.
I thought it was somehow PART of me— that to discard it would be somehow a betrayal of my younger self’s experience.
So now beginith the section of this post where I am compelled to proselytize about Marie Kondo to all humans-who-struggle-with-their-stuff.
I don’t need assistance identifying joy.
I do not need to thank or touch or pile or fold my items… I need assistance DETACHING… the phrase: “is this part of my life going forward?” Literally changed my brain.
I understand this makes me very stupid.
Some of us are.
I’ve read critiques that the couples in the tvshow need therapy rather than tidying—> I could not disagree more.
I am therapied.
Do this first.
It changed my brain.
There was plenty in the book/show that I cared not at all about.
Some people can handle this, some cannot.
Not every single thing is created exactly for you.
Welcome to earth.
How I watched the tvshow:
I fast-forwarded through the boring parts.
And the hugging.
ASSUMPTION OF HUGGING IS A VIOLATION OF HUMAN DECENCY AND SHOULD BE BANNED IN POLITE SOCIETY.
Also, folding is a waste of time so I fast-forwarded that too.
I personally care about folding things negative percent— I wash all my pajamas as one load… then I take them from the dryer and shove them back on the shelf in a pile.
You thought I wasn’t practical?
Look for my best-selling book, coming soon:
your husband is now your haircutter.
Also: random commentary on Marie Kondo/critiques about how she is very animistic about objects.
Let me help you.
She is meeting people where they are.
Some of us perceive OUR STUFF through a lens that tells us insane things— this lens is suffocating but VERY INSISTENT… THIS is the hurdle.
Getting humans to SHIFT the lens through which they view their literal existence is nearly impossible.
She uses empathy – I UNDERSTAND that all of YOUR crap is VERY IMPORTANT and SPECIAL.
She COULD say:
all of this is crap.
put in the trash.
If it was that simple, I would not be here banging my gong.
Now this post is over.
I cannot wait to find out what is happening next.
But first I have to finish getting rid of all of my crap.