I feel pretty cluttered. I seem to have too much stuff in my head like an attic of someone who tends to save things. A lot of things. Someone who is ancient and fearful with parchment hands and long blue veins running close to the surface. A person who holds on to things they might need one day, only most of the time those days don’t come. Needless to say, there isn’t a lot of room, not even to turn around and survey what is in those tippy stacks of odd shaped ideas, memories, bits of flick and flack. I understand they are my things, and it’s my attic, and though I am not ancient, there are times I feel it. Not in my bones too much but in my heart, in my head and my eyes. Sometimes my eyes are the most tired.
I need to lighten, to unpack, and just toss things, both inside and out. I need to find clarity. As time goes on I seem to like to travel lighter and lighter. I started with my closet and chest of drawers. I thought doing this physically might help the metaphysical, the spiritual and the social-emotional arenas as well. I am someone who cleans out drawers and closets a few times a year, but wanted to go deeper and really peel back the layers of attachment. I started with my pale chiffon pink skirt. I love it, but only have worn it once. It just does not do either of us justice; the shape and the color, nothing works. It’s okay, but together we are less. I have had it almost 15-20 years which is a crazy amount of time for me to think about. I have almost given it away many times but held on because the silk waistband to the pleated chiffon swirls beneath is just beautiful. It makes me sad to finally give up on it, but I am guessing it will be someone else’s beautiful soon.
Writing about that skirt makes me wonder how many times I have held onto someone else’s beautiful for too long. Do I do that with relationships, jobs, ideas, ways of seeing myself that are outdated or untrue? I don’t know, but this is great food for thought. I think since life is one transition after another it is inevitable we hold on too long. Self-assessment and feedback from people and the Universe try to give me tips and bread crumbs to point the way to growth. Then there is ego chiming in and the Bossy Betty in my head, so with the racket in there it can be difficult sorting through what to jettison and what I need to keep.
I worked my way from the closet to the drawers, where every piece of old lingerie, and uncomfortable, complicated or unflattering dresses were pitched in a pile; any kind of fat-sucker-500 or restrictive fancy bullshit was gone in a blink. Impossibly soft old tees were all tried on and only the ones that felt best were kept. The tee-shirts from vacations past were ruthlessly edited. I have pictures I don’t look at for memories, why was I holding on to the tee shirts too? The vintage Apple tee-shirt that is at least 30 years old is now in rotation again for the first time maybe in 28 years. What was I saving it for?
Mid-point as the day heated up, I pulled out two old fans to run as I moved about the apartment, their whir whisking away stale air and kicking up dust. I stopped after my bedroom closet and chest of drawers to take a breath. My eyes wander down the hall to the closet filled with placemats and table clothes I don’t use anymore, old sheets and napkins, I sigh. I need so little of these things’ I think, shaking my head. In fact I need very little, so maybe that is where I need to focus as I move through my head and my apartment. What do I need?
I understand there is a time I needed to hold on to that pink skirt or tee shirts from trips. Those things represented memories, things that were embedded in the vignettes of my life. The reality is they don’t enhance my days or bring me joy in any way. I rarely see them: I look past them or through them like the ghosts they are. As I get ready to step into August and my birthday month and another fall semester, I plan to take time each weekend and go through a closet, a drawer, under my bed and edit. I also plan on pulling out my journal and looking at what do I really need? What matters to me, who matters to me, and try my best to keep it simple. My wants can come much later; my needs are the focus now. I think it is time for bigger changes for all of us. I want to be more deliberate, a little reckless yet conscious in how I live and what I do with my time and love. What that translates to is not known now but gives me a month, a bunch of giant garbage bags, a journal, some long walks and maybe some champagne for break time, and I think I might have some room in my attic.