I Think It’s About More Than Purging

I’m obsessed with the sky, in case you haven’t noticed.

Time is such a funny thing. I find myself thinking back on this time last year, and what brought me to purging my belongings in the first place. It feels like a lifetime ago, but January 2017 was just one year ago. I think back on the person that I was this time last year, and I don’t think I would recognize myself1.

Sometime last Christmas, or maybe it was just after that, I remember hearing or reading about the book that was changing lives: Marie ‘KonMari’ Kond?‘s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I think it might have been the first book I bought on Audible2. I listened to it and ate up the knowledge it had to impart, and then I went on my own journey. I started looking for the joy in everything I possessed.

After checking a few items, I knew I was in for a long journey.

You see, I come from a family of hoarders. No, we’re not worthy of being on that television show – you know the one – but we definitely keep things ‘just in case’. Plus, I had been working as a freelance Brand Ambassador/Logistics Coordinator/Volunteer Manager/Jane-Of-All-Trades for almost five years by this time last year. Money was tight. I bought things on sale, even when I didn’t need them, because I would eventually need them. I kept samples. Oodles, and oodles of samples. It didn’t matter that I hardly ever used said samples. I kept them just in case.

There were times when money was so tight that I would end up having to use some of the samples or the things that I bought on sale (just in case) – but more often than not, things just took up space in drawers, or pretty boxes3. It was just silly. I would get fed up trying to find something, because there was so much stuff to look through. How on earth did I live like that?

Ignorance. You ignore the things that mildly bother you, because they only bother, mildly. What I failed to realize was that holding on to those things was a symptom of a bigger problem leading to my general unhappiness in life. I didn’t know it at the time, but I really needed to let go of a lot of things. Things from my past – both recent, and distant – and I needed to learn how to let go of things that I may come across in the future that may try to cling on, and keep me down.

So I spent this past year purging. Slowly. Thoughtfully. Painfully. A few nights ago, I bought down four bags of items to donate to the Diabetes Association of Canada; I left them on my front porch for pick-up early the next morning. I still have a lot to get rid of. I’m taking my time, but I am getting there.

Some of these purges this past year, were really easy. Getting my closet down to fifty percent was easy. Getting from fifty to twenty-five was a little more difficult. I’m kind of stuck there now. I don’t think I can go any further, and that’s okay because the things I’m left with are things that bring me joy. The same goes for a lot of the household things I have left myself with. I have some things I need to replace, like my iron4, but that will all come in time.

Once I started focusing on only keeping things around me that sparked joy, it became easier to do that with people too. I’d like to emphasize that it became easier. I still like to be considerate of other people’s feelings; but if they are the kind of person who can’t see the big picture, who can’t see beyond their own ego and take someone else’s feelings into consideration5, it becomes pretty easy to let go of that kind of a person.

Something major changed for me this past year. It was a slow burn. I even wrote about it a little bit here, and there. I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening or what the catalyst was. There was a part of me that thought that maybe it was because of an ex who forced me to give less fucks by treating me like shit, but hindsight shows me that it was all me. All this work that I’ve done this year learning to let go of things that don’t bring me joy, and learning to focus on the joy – the things, and the people who bring me joy – has made me more resilient than I have ever been. And I was resilient before this. I guess I’m made of rubber now. I guess this means I’m ready. i’m just not sure what I’m supposed to be ready for. All I know is I am. Ready.

Bring it.

Footnotes:
  1. that’s not entirely true, I know exactly who she was, but you get my point[]
  2. the only way I get to read a book these days[]
  3. which I spent money on to store the things that I was keeping just-in-case[]
  4. or maybe I’ll get a steamer instead[]
  5. i.e. mine[]

At The Risk of Losing Everything

I haven’t wanted to talk about it publicly because it isn’t my story to share but I am at a loss and I honestly don’t know what else to do to help this person whom I care about so much. I have a friend, who I will call John, who is suffering from Depression. He has stopped going to work, he doesn’t come out of his room until his roommate goes to bed at night or leaves for work for the day. He doesn’t seem to eat much during the day, because he hasn’t gone to work in three weeks, and therefore has no money for groceries. He just stays in his room. He has kept his phone shut off so that no one can reach him. He doesn’t respond to emails except to ask to be left alone. He doesn’t open the door when someone knocks, he responds only to tell the person on the other side of the door to go away.

We1 have discussed calling 911. We worry that he will be combative, and/or try to run away. If he is combative, we worry that the officers will need to use force or sedate him. We have discussed giving him an ultimatum – get your shit together or move out. Except he won’t have anywhere to go. In theory, I would happily take him in but part of the problem is that he doesn’t trust anybody… making it hard to get him to cooperate in any activity that would get him the help that he needs.

How do you help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves? I would listen to the advice that I’ve been given and just leave it alone but I can’t wait for the worst to happen. I can’t sit around and wait till things get bad enough and I end up getting that call that he has tried to kill himself.

Changing gears, and talking about myself for a minute: I have been stoic. Up until a couple of days ago, I have been able to practice stoicism and keep my cool about everything, but after a week and no change in behaviour, my anxiety has exploded in my gut and I can only manage to take shallow breaths. I reached out to the Toronto Distress Centre. They suggest calling 911. I tried reaching out to a mental health advocate who I admire, but I haven’t heard back from him yet. He’s a bit of a celebrity so I can understand the delay. I just hope he gets back to me eventually.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve been pretty good about being patient… but a switch has flipped. I want something to change now, and I want to do something drastic to make it happen. Those are all the things I want… but this isn’t really about me is it?

Please, please send positive vibes to my friend. He needs all the help he can get right now.

Footnotes:
  1. his roommate and I[]