Friday, August 7, 2015

Deep Thoughts On a Yard Sale

There is a mountain of belongings awaiting their new homes in my garage. This is the 5th mountain I can think of in the past 3 years. No, wait, there’s the 6th that just popped up, only it was a large donation to Goodwill, and trust me – you really didn’t want that stuff. (But this stuff, you DO!) ;)

I’m supposed to be sorting through the remaining of my belongings that have gone un-touched, but instead of that, I’m feeling the inspiration to write. I’ve come to understand that when The Muse finds you, you must listen to Her and succumb to her every wish. So, here I write, on a Friday night, ignoring what I am “supposed to do” with what I “absolutely must do because the proverbial building is on fire.”

It’s been months since I’ve written – almost a year, in fact. I’ve lived a lot of life in that year, and I’ll get to some of that one day, but right now, I want to talk about this mountain of stuff. This growing pile that will hopefully pay the remainder of the bills the wages of 3 jobs have been chipping away at. This growing pile that I wish was bigger, better, even more alluring. This growing pile that is, in some sense, me.

I’ll admit that I’ve watched “Hoarders” a bit to prepare me for this day, and every time I have a yard sale, I learn at least one major lesson. One time, it was incredibly painful for me to get rid of my art and craft supplies is because I didn’t have any true friends in high school, really, and art was my saving grace. I started a business in high school painting bar stools, and that was how I passed the lonely time. (Lonely? Start a business! That'll show 'em!) Last time, it was a big deal for me to sell my fabric stash because I realized that my business as a clothing designer was definitely done. That part of my identity that had largely become egocentric was deeply swallowing its pride. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was actually a horrible business owner – and I apologize to anyone who had to endure that. It just wasn’t what I wanted deep down inside, and letting it go was very hard yet wonderfully liberating.

This time, I’m also seeing a lot of life parallels, and the main one is how my stuff – the clutter, the chaos, the excuses for it all, the hiding it in bags/boxes/whatever I can stuff it into – relates to my life. I binged on belongings with a history of “retail therapy” and shopping addiction to fill the void of emptiness and loneliness, and I would make excuses for it then hide it out of guilt, just like I've made plenty of excuses in my life for binge eating foods that react chaotically with my body, and I've hidden it very well and very unwell in the past. I would go on food binges to stuff down any shred of emotional pain because growing up, feelings weren’t safe unless they were on the approved list: beautiful love, provoked anger, sheer joy, and physical pain. [Note: There were some others, but those were the highlights.] I’ve made every little thing important because there seemed to be more importance in these tangible things than in my self-worth. If I have all these things, I’m worth something, right? No, Hoarder Anslee. That’s not how this works.

On the flip side, because of these purges, I’m at a place where I have the least amount of stuff I’ve ever had in my life, and I want to get rid of more because I see the value in the communities I’m part of, in the people I’ve surrounded myself with (and it is bringing me to tears recalling how those relationships have gotten so much deeper the past few months), in my place in life, and, absolutely most importantly, in myself. I didn’t have this clear vision of how wonderful and rich these things could have been and totally are now because things were literally blocking the way. The purging is allowing room for light and love to come in, and I feel like a newer person better version of who I thought I was.

Perhaps I am becoming who I am meant to be because I am making space for Her. Now there’s something to hold on to.