I ranted about my glorious plan to my husband and a dear friend of mine.
Today is the day! The weeks leading up to it had prepared me for what I am about to do. A seemingly straight forward task of closet cleaning. On steroids.
There is nothing routine about this act. Not for me. In almost 9 years of living on my own in the United states, shopping had not just been a means to cover necessities but doubled up as a mindless hobby while I had not felt the need nor fathomed the bravery to throw things out.
Think about that for a second. What a profound meaning to it!
It's genetic in some ways, and instilled through conditioning in others. Needless to say that long after I became the boss of my one life I unconsciously continued to believe in the merriness of more. When you have been raised around the mentality and in most cases reality of lack, minimalism and finding happiness from less tend to be foreign concepts. Even more so if you find yourself in a country where consumerism is championed and solicited. You are repeatedly told that image is everything and you can never have too many, encouraged to buy, get, more, now!
Did you know that 1 in 10 people in America own an extra storage space other than their homes? I didn't!
My hoarding habits became evident the more boxes I towed with me each time I had to move between apartments and my increasing demanded for more storage space.
The realization began a few weeks ago when I took a photo of a pair of shoes that used to be in style back in 2012 or so; and sent it to my husband. With humorous intentions showing him the styles I once rocked before I met him. He was amused and appalled at the same time and we started arguing about the potential of these once flying-off-the-shelves hot cakes had or didn't have to make a comeback. I argued my point furiously, quoting the return of many old favorite styles to which my husband calmly responded with continues giggles.
"Not these ones babe"
The more he laughed at those shoes, the angrier and more combative I grew. I knew they were out of style, and honestly wouldn't dare climb on to those uncomfortable platforms to appear taller any more. There was a giant piece of truth though, thatI kept them for as long as I did, and it was STILL unthinkable to let them go. It wasn't just those shoes as they were merely the tip of the iceberg, representations of a whole giant pool of stuff I had compulsively collected and held on to for years on years on years.
My ego braced for impact and went on explaining.
The relentless defensiveness I felt could only mean one thing. I needed to prove why I was holding on to things so that the contents of my closet also made sense. To him but sadly, also to me. The summer dresses that haven't felt a ray of sunshine in over 4 summers could someday become raw materials for the beautiful head wraps I would create through the skills and tools I will for sure obtain at some point. That cocktail dress I obsess to fit in but is still hanging with it's tag attached to it is surely a smart thing to keep for the future me and her size 2 category waistline. I could send these old tops and warm jackets to Ethiopia where they will find a much more appreciative owner. That beat up t-shirt could be put to use when I give my hair an oil treatment and THEN discarded, rendered truly non reusable. It all made sense.
A few weeks ago, I had a long conversation with another dear friend whose sense of style I trust and who gets my yearning for wholesome self empowerment as she openly seeks that for herself too. I mentioned those shoes, wanting her so badly to confirm my need to keep them.
"Throw them out boo!" she exclaimed to my utter shock and disappointment.
"If they come back into style and if it resonates with the version of you at the time, you will buy another pair!"
She continued, "Whenever I get the urge to hold on to stuff, I tell myself unless I give it out, I won't make room for new blessings in my life"
She rendered me speechless.
After the profound truth sank in, we continued talking about how things we use also carry an energy in the form of memories of people and emotions attached to their respective moments of usage. How so very true! Although it mostly happens in the subconscious mind and we don't always look at items and get consciously transported to past realms, thoughts still emanate in the background. And affect us in one way or another. The very same reason why taking a peek at my wedding gown makes my heart smile without projecting a vivid daydream feature about our first dance explained the rather ineffable pain I would feel while I noticed that dress an ex boyfriend bullied my overweight self into buying with the hopes of one day proving him wrong. Shiny things I accumulated through unhealthy financial dependencies and skewed priorities remain long after I have freed myself from the individuals and the compulsions. Clothing items I had allowed friends to borrow and shine in while deep down I had wanted to say "No, not that one" or "at least don't post a picture of you wearing it on your facebook page" still hanged on my closet rail as a reminder just in case I forgot that I am a recovering people's pleaser.
I knew I needed a overhaul.
What better time to do it than when you are moving into a new home with the love of your life anyway? That's how today came about.
My plan is simple. Sell the sellable, donate the still useful, discard everything else I have not used within the past year and can't help anybody less fortunate. Of course except my wedding gowns silly!
For those few items with some extra stringy emotions of past pain attached, I have yet a better plan; using them as sacrificial objects in a ritual of emancipation carried out with the a pair of sharp scissors.
I am writing this halfway through the whole project. 'Project freedom from matter' I'm calling it.
The hard to train monkey mind is still jumping from one branch of reason it hopes I will refer to and keep whatever I happen to be holding in my hands to another. Constantly offering me different uses for it.
I'm finding out. It is less of a physical task and more of a mental one, leaving you stronger with each uncomfortable push but only after the forceful effort you exert rips through you, breaking the existing muscle patterns apart. All on the path of forming a toned spirit reflecting through the things you label worthy to be called yours.
In a painfully glorious work out.