I’m someone who is generally uncomfortable with change. My parents are having a garage sale this weekend and even though I know that pretty much half of the stuff in my apartment is not being used or appreciated, I can’t let go of what I don’t need. I’m not one of those extreme hoarders or anything but I do keep much more than I have to. An ex-boyfriend (the only ex-boyfriend but whatever) once told me that I think everything with a face is cute. Draw a face on an eraser and suddenly I have a new best friend. I feel guilty to throw that new friend into the garbage when I don’t need him anymore, as if he’s going to climb out strike revenge through erasing my eyebrows while I’m sleeping.
My therapist says that I am that way because I am sensitive to rejection and that makes sense to me. I’ve always put other people before myself, even when I shouldn’t. I think a lot of it stems from my huge imagination, though, and my ability to make something old into something new. I often keep old shirts by stretching their fabric around a picture frame and stapling it in place. Then I can keep what initially drew me to that clothing. I’ve collaged obsessively for at least ten years, reworking images found in magazines or recycling bins into new art to cover a notebook with. Even craft stuff needs purging sometimes, though, just like everything else. What works out best is when I can donate old materials, toys, and clothes to a charity where I feel like they will be appreciated to the full extent. No castaways from this girl – only prearranged adoptions!
Change can mean more than getting rid of knickknacks, however: I’m growing my hair out after having it in a chin-length bob for about nine years. It’s hard being patient with hair but my balding father reminds me of how lucky I am to have a full head of it still. I think my commitment to keeping my hair in a bob for years was not only because I liked it but because I was anxious that I couldn’t get away with it being any different. Do you remember your last haircut that you weren’t sure if people were going to like on you or not? It’s nerve-wracking wondering if people are going to laugh at you when you try something new.
I remember hearing somewhere that people will change their hair drastically after a big change in their life. I guess my life is changing now, along with my hair. I remember how leaving Homewood’s treatment program for anxiety and depression suddenly left me with a feeling of hope for the future and it was easier then to get rid of clutter from my bedroom. Great new things would be coming and I had to make room for them.
What about you? Is there something you hang on to out of guilt like photos of an ex, just in case you never date anyone new? Is there anything in your closet that you hate to look at but worry that you’d miss if you got rid of it? If something is best left out of sight to keep it out of mind, maybe it’s time to let it go. They say to only keep things that are useful or beautiful, and guilt is a negative emotion that is quite draining. If it’s hard to let go of something, maybe you could both hang on to it and get rid of it by taking a photo of it. That way you can remember all the associated experiences of the item, but also make room for new memorable experiences. You never know, it just might be a relief to get rid of what’s dragging you down. Hair grows back (unless you’re balding) and new clothes come out every season. The future is worth making room for!