I'm going through a monumental closet overhaul. I mean, not right at this moment, but in general. It snowballed into an event by accident when, in a misguided attempt at feng shui paired with a tragic err in the assessment of my strength and motor skills, I tried moving an oversized wardrobe in my room and found myself scrambling out of harm's way as it cracked and leaned into its demise.
One month later, I'm still dealing with the aftermath.
This particular wardrobe was approximately 90 inches in height, 40 inches in width, and 22 inches in depth. I inherited it from a friend when I moved into my apartment. At the time, when I had even less money than I do now (that publishing salary, y’all), I was extremely grateful for it. And I still am. But over time it morphed into an albatross that grew heavier and heavier. It enabled me to amass things in such extraordinary quantities, that the thought of getting rid of it all became just as burdensome a weight.
Those of you who know me, or have read my blog, might have an idea of the amount of clothes, shoes, and accessories I have: clothes, shoes, and accessories that I've folded, rolled, squished, and crammed away over the past ten years I've lived in New York. And in one afternoon, it was all on my bedroom floor.
I have a problem with letting go. The strange thing is, I don’t let go because I like or want my stuff: it's because I tirelessly question whether I’ll need it in the future, or if I got the appropriate amount of use from it. There is so much I want to give away, but can’t. I become paralyzed by a fear of uncertainty.
But it feels like there's even more at stake when it comes to my wardrobe. My clothes have always been who I am. I wear them like a second skin, which is cliché, but also so true. My heart is on every sleeve. Walking through my apartment, garments strewn everywhere, I see glimpses of who I was, personages I've held onto for fear of losing a part of myself. If I throw my clothes out, do I go out with them?
Maybe that's the problem. I view myself through the lenses of polarized identities, never as a whole. If my life were a spectrum, the years would be blocked off as either red, or green, or brown, or purple, and so on. A spectrum, however, is fluid. Colors bleed in and out of each other, always changing, but always traveling within the same continuum. The bright, loud clothes on my floor were completely me. They will always be completely me. But who I am now—a woman, who, through the course of events has found herself shifting into the quieter, more subtle colors—is completely me, too. Letting go of who I was doesn't mean losing a part of myself. That's impossible.
I read somewhere that the better question to ask the universe is not why something is happening to you, but to parse out what it is you’re trying to be told. Last year, around this same time, a closet collapsed under the sheer weight of clothes it was trying to support. I should have taken it as a sign, but instead, I bought temporary shelves and hanging rods, packed my clothes in tightly, and went about my life as usual. I ignored the message. It went on to be one of the most mentally clouded and disorienting years I've experienced.
Now? Now I'm ready to listen: Let go of what was, make room for what is to be.