In which I discover that re-reading your old journals is simultaneously excruciating and enlightening.
Full disclosure: I’m not an expert on the Marie Kondo declutter method. What I do know I’ve learned by watching 20 seconds of 7 different You Tube videos. Which, coincidentally, is also the same way I’m trying to learn French, so I’m sure I’ll be bilingual in no time.
From what I can gather, the KonMari method is about simplifying your life by getting rid of anything that doesn’t “bring you joy”.
Ideally, you’re supposed to yank everything from your wardrobe and cupboards and dump it all over your floor. Then, you methodically work through the mess, picking up each item individually and asking yourself if it brings you joy.
If the answer is no, you thank it for its service, wish it well, then bin it. Which is a process not unlike how I break up with people.
However, because I know myself, I know that being knee-deep in my clothes, books, paperwork and assorted knick-knacks will end with me freaking out and setting my house on fire.
So, I have decided to declutter one bookshelf and cupboard at a time. This has ensured I’ve retained both my sanity and my security deposit. It has also led to a number of interesting discoveries that I shall now document here in list form. As is the fashion on the internet.
- I am a covert hoarder.
Ever notice how hoarders never keep anything particularly valuable?
It’s never boxes of Beatles memorabilia or mint copies of A Killing Joke. It’s always piles of useless garbage. Turns out, I’m no different. I may not be living amongst piles of animal droppings and towers of old newspapers, but I am living with a lot of junk.
Not that you’d know it.
My trash may be neat and tidy, but like most hoarders it’s tinged with complex emotions.
Most of it is tied to a sense of gratification. Like the kind I’ll feel when the item I’ve carted across multiple time zones will suddenly become useful.
But then there are objects I’ve kept that defy explanation. Like a collection of incredibly unflattering photos of myself. And these aren’t family photos or mementos that need to be saved, they’re just godawful snapshots.
Some of them aren’t even in focus!
And yet, I’ve carted boxes of these visual reminders of how awful I can look from house to house for the last umpteen years as if they were family heirlooms.
Why did I do that?
And speaking of self esteem, what could boost that better than the documented history of every terrible relationship you’ve ever had, in journal form!
Which leads me to my second discovery:
2. I dig jerks
Actually, it’s more accurate to state: I dug jerks. Past tense.
I didn’t just date them, I actively sought them out.
I know this because I helpfully journaled every cringe-worthy moment. From the daydreaming, to the first meeting, through the extended pining period and then, if I was ‘lucky’, the relationship itself.
ACTUAL JOURNAL ENTRY: “He’s got a jerky quality I really like…”
The funny thing was, when I finally had said jerk I would soon become appalled when he treated me the way jerks so often treat people; poorly. Seems like something I should have been able to see coming.
Especially when you consider:
3. I have a tendency to repeat myself.
I say and do and experience the same things over and over.
Y’know, repeating myself.
Aside from my journeys with jerks, many of my other old journal entries are equally excruciating and embarrassingly repetitive:
- I’m always wanting more and I complain and pine about the things I don’t have to an irritating degree. And those things are always the same things; A job, a man, a better social life.
- When I have those things I fret that something is missing.
- I date the same types of men and have the exact same highs and lows with them.
- I make the same sorts of choices that, unsurprisingly, lead to the same outcomes.
If you were to go just by my journal entries my life so far has been a broken record. Which, ironically, is something I HAVEN’T hoarded.
However, the biggest and perhaps most significant discovery of the last couple of days is –
5. I get what I want
Hey, you know that thing about repeating myself? Well, it seems like there’s something magical, mystical hoodoo to it, because any time I’ve repeated what I want over and over, I’ve eventually received it.
Be it places I’ve wanted to go, experiences I’ve wanted to have, people I’ve wanted to meet or relationships I’ve wanted to be in. I’ve asked, asked again, asked a further 37 times and presto!
Some of these things happened by force of will, some happened with cash but most…just happened without my doing very much at all.
And because I’ve kept boxes full of evidence of both the asking and the receiving in the form of journals, ticket stubs, photos, souvenirs and memories, it can’t be denied:
I get what I want. Regardless of if it’s good or bad for me.
And now that I know that I have this particular “ability” it begs the question: what now?
What do I ask for?
What do I want?
Because whatever it is, I’m going to have to live with it.
Or maybe I’m reading too much into it.