"I'm starting to feel like a KonMari crack dealer," I texted a friend this past summer.
Since I finished reading Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up I've been unable to stop myself from talking about how it just works for me.
People frequently react negatively to KonMari method, responding crossly when someone has mentioned they are doing it. The method is a bit extreme and, to many people, frightening. The tales of people tossing bags and bags of stuff is scary. In North American society we glorify stuff. Having stuff. Having more stuff. Buying bigger houses to put all our stuff in. Stuff is how we show we've made it. Who are we when you take all that away?
It's scary to think about and yet it works. The KonMari method works for me for reasons I didn't understand when I started. Now? I know.
When I was growing up, we didn't have much money. My mother would not like me to say we were poor, but now as I sit in a place of relative financial privilege, I can say we lived in an economically fragile state of existence. And like many people who live below the line, we were the people who always had too much stuff.
The thing about having lots of stuff when you are poor is how you can't get rid of it. Someone gives you a gift? You keep it. Even if it was given to you kind of broken. Even if it's hideous. Even if you hate it. Who are you to be ungrateful?
It may have been worse if was something you bought or you requested. To spend money on something and then not want it six months later was the worst of wastes.
I understand it. I understood it then and I understand it now.
Understanding doesn't make it easier to shake. It's hard to not look at the piles of clothes we sent to the thrift store, or the books I donated to the library, and not see the dollar signs. It's hard not to hear that voice in my head telling me what a waste it all was.
With that voice comes the guilt.
The guilt is crushing. It's the same guilt keeps me from using the nice things I do like because it feels as though I may not deserve them. The guilt keeps me hanging on to things that do not give me joy. The guilt keeps me hanging on to things that reinforce that guilt every time I look at them.
Marie Kondo and the Konmari Method have absolved me of that guilt and granted me the grace to be myself. It's given me permission to change my definition of who I am. I am constantly changing and who I am today is different than who I was a month ago and who I will be six months from now.
As I dig through my piles of stuff, I am excavating the palimpsests of identities I have tried on and discarded. I pick the pieces that work, and discard the rest. They go to gather dust in some other person's space. Somewhere in the unearthing of all the detritus I am discovering me.
If that's not grace, I don't know what is.