Technically I shouldn’t be surprised that a purge was just around the corner. It appears to be the emotional cycle of life; grasping an understanding, life rocked, mindset changes, and then release. It sounds a lot like an evolution and maybe it is. The older I become the more settled I am in the understanding that life calls us to a current cycle of evolution.
Let me tell you about this purge though. We have a third bedroom in our apartment. I have it haphazardly put together for friends when they come to town. They all know not to expect anything fancy, I just promise them a good visit and sheets on the bed. They are good with it. The room was a catch-all from the moment we moved. I think everybody has those places where the items you don’t know what to do with go. Ringo the Flamingo, my long awaited for huge blow up float use to reside in there…cause what do you do with a float that big when you live in an apartment, you put him in the catch-all room. Paper towels, toilet paper, extra sheets, blankets, miscellaneous tools, a desk for Charles when he works from home. The room literally had everything.
Our friend Jen is moving in with us for a bit. She is between places to live so she is hanging with us until she figures where she wants to go next. We are all pretty stoked, she is a favorite of Isaac’s. “She’s just so fun. I can’t wait,” he tells me. All of that to say, I needed to clean and organize that room. No way was I going to have someone live in that. I mean visit for a few days no problem but live, uh no I have some standards. I did what anybody in my shoes would do, I phoned a friend. Specifically, I called Erin. Erin loves organizing and she has a pretty spectacular eye for it. I bribed her with wine and my amazing company not that she needed bribing, she was more than happy to come down and help. Here is also the thing about Erin organizing with her is often times just as much about the heart as it is about the physical stuff.
You see I knew I was going to need to get rid of some stuff, that is a natural part of organizing. What I wasn’t expecting was the abundant amount that to be let go of and how much of that was connected to an identity that I no longer connected to.
A part of controlling people is you have to break down their identity. You have to chip away at things that are important to them and replace that with something that gives you more power in their life. It’s best if it is something that connects them to you thus replacing their identity with a piece of yours making it harder for them to break away. If you do this well, the person who is being controlled won’t even notice what is happening to them. They will just think it is the natural evolution of the process they are in and embrace it wholly.
After three years of college in Orange County, I had quite the wardrobe and shoe collection. Fashion wasn’t always a strong suit of mine but it had become something I embraced in college and fell in love with, also shoes! Gah, I love shoes. If I could have a closet wall of shoes I would. Why is this important? That was a part of who I was, it was something I identified with and it brought me life. It was also one of the first parts of me that the Smith’s started to chip away at. The rhetoric of you are no longer a city girl began. You’re a part of our family and we are country people. Then John went out and bought me a whole wardrobe of western clothing, it was never outright stated that my “city” wardrobe had to go, but that quickly followed. Chipping away slowly at pieces of who I was and replacing it with who they were.
Jane is a creative person who had a good balance with her mathematical brain. Drawing, jewelry making, and sewing were all things that came easily to her. Those are not things that come easily to me. Writing, expressing myself through words comes more easily. Talking about feelings, thoughts, creative stories those things bring me life. That didn’t connect me to Jane, those were not her strengths. Without realizing it writing became replaced with scrapbooking and my newfound appreciation for fashion was replaced with sewing, things that connected to Jane. It’s really not as simple as I am writing it because controlling another person isn’t simple. It’s demanding and tiring and requires one to never rest because we aren’t created to control people. It’s not God’s master design. Although this chipping away of my identity, replacing it with “the families” wasn’t the only part, it was a central part that connected me to them which would make it harder for me to want to leave. Later it would make it harder for me to see the truth of the situation and disconnect because to leave them would mean to leave a part of me.
When Charles and I left the Smith’s I was allowed to take quite a bit of the stuff they had bought for me, most of which was scrapbooking supplies, sewing stuff, and a sewing machine. So if you are wondering at this point if I have been lugging that stuff around for the last almost 10 years, the answer is yes. You see, I wasn’t sure what to let go of and what to keep when we first left. So I just kept it all and gave it time figuring time would help me out. In light of my recent revelations, it did. It was time to let it go. I haven’t scrapbooked in years, I haven’t sewn in two years. When I have sewn it was blankets or something simple that I felt comfortable doing because this is what I realized, sewing doesn’t bring me life. I haven’t scrapbooked because it doesn’t make me come alive either. I thought it did because it had at one point or more realistically I believed that it did because it made me a part of something that I believed I was supposed to be a part of. In reality, those things were just a tool used to replace my ‘chipped away at’ identity so that I might be connected to someone else and not myself.
It was time to let it go.
I let it all go. I didn’t look at the items two or three times. I just piled it up, loaded it up and let it go.
I am okay that it took me almost 10 years to do this. I am secure in my decision to hold on until it was time to let go. I am good with that because my heart is connected to this purge in a way it couldn’t be years ago. I am not letting go and replacing with anything else. I am not letting go full of anger and disgust for the situation or any person. I am letting go because it’s not who I am and it is time for me to stop holding onto items that connect to that old identity.
I might pick up scrapbooking again and I am fairly confident I will sew another blanket or two in my days. They will be done from who I am, not from who I thought I had to be or who I morphed into. It will be laced with my tastes, preferences, touches, ideas, and heart. That’s the thing about purging, it gets rid of the old allowing for the new. I guess in my case it simply is making room for who I always have been. I just get to be it more authentically.