I’ll be spending this new year finding and figuring out the old me.
Now when I say the old me I don’t mean the person I have been. Of course I am the same physical being. I am just not quite so sure who inhabits my being. (No, never fear. I am not in a cult all of a sudden, read on. )
The person I have been is an amalgamation of who I thought I should be and/or who I thought I should have been. That person who was more role than real. That person is the impostor.
When I say the old me I mean the person I have never really taken the time to get to know. The person who is in there, way deep down inside. They have always been with me but has too often been pushed aside by my quest to be who I thought I should be. (Damn I hate that word)
What does a book on decluttering have to do with figuring out who I am? Well, I have been making it a goal to get rid of almost everything I own, save the truly personal and useful items that I truly want and items that make my life run smoothly.
I was getting rid of clutter before I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. But now, after reading the book, I kind of realized I was not working on getting rid of stuff. I realized that when I went through the process, I was also decluttering and discovering me.
At first, each time I have dropped off a load of items at Goodwill I felt really good. And the act of shedding material items is truly magical. But there has slowly been a discomfort that goes along with getting rid of so much clutter. And that discomfort was the realization, whether I liked it or not, that I let that clutter defined me.
Sure, sometimes it was an easy transition. Like being a reader. I LOVE books. But do I need shelves filled with books to prove I am a reader? If someone walked in my home and looked around, should it matter to me that they think I appear educated? Just because I love to read does not mean I need to display the inventory of a small used bookstore to prove it to others. I read. If you know me you know that. If you don’t know me, why do I feel the need to show you that I am?
Other times the decluttering has been hard.
Tossing the clothes that don’t fit any more or the clothes I purchased merely because they fit at the time has been emotionally exhausting. By giving away those smaller sizes am I giving up on the idea of being thin again? By holding on to clothes that no longer fit have I been holding on to the idea of an ideal me that only exists if I come in a certain size? By getting rid of the clothes that outfit who I think I should be, am I negating who I currently am? Maybe, I mean, purchasing an item of clothing just because it is a stopgap until I fit into my “real clothes” is kind of representative of my focusing solely on who I am not and not on who I am.
So maybe this year, while I toss out and pare down, perhaps I will unearth something special, or should I say someone special. I hope so, I have a feeling that person is worth getting to know.