Although as a child my favorite book was Little Mommy, once I got married, thoughts of being a parent were far from my mind. I wasn’t interested. There was no urgency.
However, when, after fifteen years of marriage I discovered I was pregnant, I dove in with two feet. Naturally, being who I am, I was concerned about what I was going to wear while pregnant. I was curious about how my body would change. I got very excited about dressing a baby bump.
I learned shortly after my positive pregnancy test that I was expecting twins. I was excited beyond reason. I read everything there was to know about twins. I knew it would be hard work, but I knew I could do it.
I remember what I was wearing the day I went for my visit to the OBGYN. I was wearing the sunny yellow scarf I had bought over the summer, impatiently awaiting the cooler weather so that I could wear it. I felt like living, breathing sunshine.
Within an hour, all light had disappeared. The twins in my belly were barely alive. They were not going to survive.
The miscarriage did not happen naturally. After nearly a month of waiting for my body to let the babies go, I had to go to the clinic to complete it chemically. I remember what I was wearing that day, too: a roomy blue and gray striped t-shirt with a pretty bow and matching blue and gray striped socks.
I was pregnant again nearly immediately once my body recovered from the miscarriage.
However, I never again wore that sunshine yellow scarf or that blue and gray striped tee with the pretty bow. Or those socks. Please, not those socks.
For three years, those items sat in a drawer. I saw them every single time I opened the drawer, but I would move them aside while I hunted through for something else, literally anything else to wear. Every time I saw them, my heart would ache.
The moth infestation put a culling of my wardrobe on a fast track. As I discarded ruined items I could not bring myself to discard that t-shirt, scarf or socks. They weren’t damaged. So I kept them.
I still never wore them.
Eventually, I discovered the KonMari Method. I was intrigued with several concepts of the method, firstly, that we should only keep items in our life that spark joy. Secondly, when we discard items that don’t spark joy, we should thank the item for what it meant to us while we owned it.
Obviously, the t-shirt, the scarf and the socks did not spark joy. They went further than simply not sparking joy, they were actively caked in grief. Once I realized this, and realized that every single time I opened the drawer and saw them there, I experienced my grief again, it became easy to want to get rid of them.
I didn’t want to thank these items, but I did it anyway. It felt silly, but I said, “thank you for the joy you gave me when I bought you and for being with me when I needed you.”
It felt so very good to not see those items in my drawer anymore. From there, I went through my closet and removed every single item which I knew I would never wear again because it reminded me of a difficult passage in my professional life. I thanked them and discarded.
By the end of this process, I had less than half of the items in my closet than I had originally owned. It felt amazing. I could see nearly everything. Nearly everything but my winter sweaters could fit in my closet and in my dresser.
I was experiencing decluttering momentum. I wanted to make more space. I wanted less stuff.
My impetus for minimalism is that it freed me from the emotional ties that bound me to my grief and my regret. Minimalism has not made me happy, but it has put me on the path to contentment.
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