• Traci Kanaan

Getting Real With Myself

In 7 weeks, we’re moving…again. After living in 2 places for about a year, we moved to our current home full-time in October. We combined two complete households back in October, thinking we had done the right thing for us...but instead, we find ourselves frustrated with our situation. The thought of having to move all over again is daunting. But the thought of living 24/7 in a home in a poorly designed home for us is worse.

As I started thinking about moving again, I realized there are items in my possession that I’ve been moving from place to place for several years now. Some of the items are necessary, but many of them are not. I decided to force myself to get real with my personal expectations, and I don’t like it at all. I have always had a rough time “letting go” of material things. What makes this worse…is that my mother had the same damn issue! Ugh! As hard as this apple tried to roll away from the tree, I find myself rolling back right next to the trunk. I have acquired a stupid amount of craft projects, and I find myself thinking “when am I really going to do them?” Years ago, I picked up jewelry making as a hobby. I began collecting odds n ends to make jewelry out of: game pieces, old keys and locks, random beads, thrift store bags of beads, and other unusual items. For 15+ years, I’ve had the best intentions of making jewelry and funky things and maybe selling them on Etsy…where did the time go? When I started remembering when and where I picked up these things, I realized some of them have been in my craft room (crap room) for nearly 20 years. How is it I never had time in 20 years to make jewelry, much less set up a shop on Etsy? Perhaps, it’s time to let that sh*t go.

When I walk into my crap room, my first urge is to the see the mess and turn around and play a computer game. I catch myself and force myself back in, bargaining with myself. I think to myself all kinds of dumb things. “Ugh. This is so overwhelming. How did I let this happen? I’m so silly for wanting to keep this stuff. You’re just like your mother. What if I just go through one box? Just one box. That’s all for today. Traci, can you do ONE box? Yes, I can do ONE box.”

I start with the one box, and the first thing I pick up was a necklace from my mother’s stash. It’s an inlay wood lion necklace that my my mother wore in the 80s. It’s ugly AF, but it was HERS. I remember taking her picture wearing that necklace with a green dress and her signature blue eye shadow. I have to realize that the item is not her…it’s just an out of style necklace. It’s even too small for my neck. I tap on myself until my body knows it’s just a necklace, and that I’m only donating the necklace and not my mother’s love for the item.

I had to consciously remind myself that while those items brought her joy, they’ve brought me some heartache in having to haul them wherever I go. I then had to say to myself, more than once, that I am choosing to keep the memory of my mother without having to keep everything she touched. The “donation” pile got larger and larger, and the “spark joy” pile was delightfully happier and…smaller.

I pushed through the box, creating a “donate” pile, a “trash” pile, and a “keep” pile. Following Marie Kondo’s, I hold up each item and ask myself “Does it spark joy?” If yes, it goes in the keep pile. If it sparks sadness or disdain, it goes in the “trash” or “donate” pile. I got through the box, and felt good enough to get most of the way through another box. After an hour or two, I was exhausted from making all those decisions. I congratulated myself for staying on task and set a date for my next “stuff purge.” I am happy that these items will enjoy one last move at my expense to a charity thrift store, where I will wish the next owner of these items much happiness.

It’s much easier to get real with all of you than myself. It’s hard to gauge success in terms of never having to see, touch, or move this stuff again. But I gotta admit…once you’re on the other side of it all? It feels pretty good!

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