I am obsessed with de-cluttering. Nothing feels better to me than throwing an outfit I haven’t worn in a few months (or let’s be real, maybe ever) into a bag to take to the secondhand store. The satisfaction of testing dozens of pens and markers to weed out the dry ones is second-to-none. I even relish re-gifting unopened makeup and barely-used bubble bath to my friends who are more beauty conscious than I. If I love to whittle things down so much, how on earth do I continually accumulate so much STUFF? What’s the point of giving away and ridding myself of excess if I turn right around and invite it back into my life?
In my journey through body-positivity, I have amassed so many amazing things I never dreamed I could have. Some are material—the crop tops and the bikinis. Others are qualities—the confidence, both loud and quiet, and still others are life events—a TV show, a book, a TED talk. But when I go to bed at night I often still feel a heaviness draped over my freedom, and I’ve come to understand that even though I’ve cut a lot out of my life that was holding me back (I’m looking at you, oversized sweatshirts and niggling insecurities), I still engage in behaviors that hinder me. I still welcome people, ideas, and media into my life that I know do not serve me. So I’ve had the realization; now what?
Summer cleaning. But not the Windex-Comet-kind. There are my social media feeds overflowing with trolls I don’t know or respect, the acquaintances who I still plan lunches with but always cancel, the mindless entertainment that still promotes rigid beauty ideals and diet culture. But I’m beginning to know that I have the power to disengage and keep in my life only what serves me. The more space I can carve out means more opportunity to fill my life with living, breathing, real plants, cuddles with my cat, learning to cook so I can nourish my body, and friends who make me laugh until my belly hurts.
It’s a big task, and I won’t limit myself to getting it all done in the summertime, but I am so excited to see what’s left once I’ve really started paring down.
By Whitney Way thore