Years ago, when the world didn’t seem to be marching steadily towards damnation, aspiring writers wrote about simpler things. There wasn’t as much need for fiery political debate. Things like racism, while contentious, were holding their awkward place under the bed with the rest of the general ugliness human nature has cultivated in the darkness. Back before the doom and gloom, I remember a trend exploding on the scene and dissipating as rapidly as every other trend did. I couldn’t remember the name but thankfully had enough keywords to search and find it on the vast world wide web.
Konmari. The art of decluttering. I vaguely remember a few friends taking it up. An attempt to bring material simplicity to the home in the name of tidying up or something. As most things originating from Japan, it held it’s on philosophy. I didn’t get past the name as I busied myself to making fun of it, so I couldn’t tell you much more.
Occasionally, we need a minimalist approach to life. Over the past few weeks, after months of the peaks and valleys of the emotional spectrum, I realized I needed my own art of tidying up. It didn’t just begin and end at physical objects. There were other things filling my boxes I put curbside.
I don’t want to say I would ever discard a friendship. But, like the old band T-shirts I’ve busied myself stuffing into black trash bags, I’ve let an aspect of many relationships go. And why not? Holding on to things is a tiring endeavor.
It doesn’t feel like severing ties. It feels like an understanding that fondness and love will be their absence the actual presence. I can still listen to my favorite tracks, recalling every beat, bridge, and chorus punctuating our moments together. It feels like a weight lifted. Okay, maybe it does feel like severing ties.
I live in this perpetual fear of letting go of things. But, it isn’t objects I find myself gripping tight to. It’s strands of connections stretched over time or distance. Or both. I clutch tightly, afraid to discard the string in case something on the other line tugs and I need to come running. I clutch afraid to pull on the string and find the other end severed. To find myself alone, a spindle of lost connections.
I am wired differently than others. Like most, I think, my feelings feed on what’s projected to them through my thoughts. Except my brain has decided the best way to feel emotions is in these short, nuclear bursts forcing me through a whirlwind of highs and lows before leaving me an exhausted mess wide-eyed under the covers late at night wondering what is wrong with me. It’s hard to maintain anything under a barrage of happy-sad-happy-sad.
This all circles back to me throwing away dirty laundry and dead connections. Once you get over the fear of losing a string you’ve wound so tightly around the finger it’s begun to cut off circulation, it really isn’t too bad.
That’s where I am at. Taking shears to old clothes and people. Cutting myself into minimalist obscurity. Tidying up.
Practicing the art of Konmari on my personal life. Trying to tidy up the way I feel inside.
It doesn’t feel right. Not to say it feels wrong, it’s just I’ve spent my whole life hanging on to the comforts of connection. Like the torn up Converses hidden under my bed, I swear I will go back and love the distances traveled. I promise tomorrow. Always tomorrow and never today. There’s a certain guilt felt. A feeling like I need to explain myself to the things I cut away.
Boxes, bags, memories. Tidying up and trying to declutter inside.
But you, my dear friend, Writing, will always stay with me.