(aka unleighshing on the fantasy life)
Getting Real about Marie Kondo
In the world of Marie Kondo, people talk about the importance of purging your fantasy self- the part of you which secretly hopes to be this person you’ll actually never be, and to let go of the things you own which represent this fantasy life. KMers cite good reasons for this decluttering advice:
1) it’ll help you to avoid feelings of failure when you realize you will never be the fantasy person and
2) it will clear out the space to make way for the real you to emerge.
While I’m a big proponent for clearing room for awesome and have adopted the KMing principles into my life wholeheartedly, I disagree fundamentally with the idea that a fantasy life needs purging because for me, it was in the neat and tidy rooms that I claimed my super awesome fantasy life.
See, upon entering motherhood, I had somehow lost my way between the car seat check and the first day of kindergarten. Barely recognizing myself standing on the precipice of my crash ‘n’ burn a few years ago, Marie Kondo’s methodology became a compass for my life.
Early into my twenties I had constructed a play-it-safe persona about my professional life which included criteria about all sorts is things, namely how I should dress. The shoulds only multiplied by the time I was momming-it-up and by then the clothing choices, decisions and actions were extremely closely tied to my professional life which, truthfully, left me feeling rather blah on most days. Deep down I was longing for the carefree style that mimicked one Lorelai Gilmore, circa 2002, so occasionally I’d picked up a tshirt here and there to hang in my closet for posterity purposes. As the garbage bags of clothing mounted in my initial clothing purge a la Marie Kondo, I remembered then about how much I actually liked a style categorized as fun & edgy. Right then and there I decided to do away with the boring staple clothing which were hanging there as a reminder of who I should be and vowed to outfit myself in a way that was both fun and profesh: you know, who I wanted to be.
Tees, then Teas
I had the same thing happen with this awkward vintage chic style I tried adopting after having kids. Feeling mismatched china patterns and pastely chalk paint were a perfect merge with my mom life, I feted at tea houses and collected loose leafs at nauseum. Deep down however, I was a closeted coffee nut. Deeper down, I knew I had a thing for oversized mugs. Rooted beneath all of that was a developing love for superheroes. And somewhere in the narrative I had weaved about clothing styles for young professional moms was this idea that my tea mugs had to be sensible like the aforementioned wardrobe. But you know what? Those things weren’t me and my giant 20oz mugs taking up way too much space in my cupboards from the Friends era reminded me that I had a hot beverage style which I really loved and so I did away with the sensible pastels and started to get real about stuff that was truly going to make me happy. When I look at my options for coffee consumption now, I’m actually seeing my very aligned reality staring back at me.
Tease it Out
Some KMers might counter these fantasy life examples and call them style choices opposed to lifestyle ones, and I’ll politely disagree because it was a lifestyle I was after which I’d lost somewhere between the hospital and the first day of school; I had secretly been longing for it ever since. But for the purists out there, here is one more example about the fantasy life I coveted regarding being a healthy, active individual. Smooshed in the corners of my clothing drawers, past all the fun tees were a plethora of colourful Lycra workout attire. My fantasy life was that of a runner. At 230+ pounds this was laughable, but as I was starting to feel the spandex slip out of my hands into the no-joy-pile, I had to question whether it was such an unattainable lifestyle. What was wrong with wanting to be healthy? And, why couldn’t I run? In that moment I decided to make my fantasy life my real life and the rest is history. Curious about how I did it? Click here to read more.
Had I thrown out the few fantasy fun tees that were patiently waiting for me to wear ‘em, or done away with the Friends mugs because of their awkward sizes, I might never have remembered why I wanted those things in the first place. And had I lobbed all of the workout gear into the donate pile because it was making me guilty just thinking about them, I might never have started my life as a runner.
Here’s a tip, friends: there might be a reason you’re still holding on to fantasy life stuff. Give it some thought before you go for a total purge.
To Purge or Not to Purge?
I completely understand the concept that if the fantasy isn’t serving you and the rock climbing gear you’re never going to break out is just reducing you to a guiltfest every time you pass it by, then get rid of it. What I’m cautioning against is going on automatic pilot with your fantasy life belongings and instead spending some concentrated time investigating why you sought it out in the first place. Is there a significant reason behind why you bought the rock climbing gear that you need to revisit? Should you begin taking lessons and learn how to use it? How might your life improve if you actually gave your fantasy life a shot? What kind of person do you want to be? I don’t have all of the answers, but I do know that some of the things we secretly long for are in fact the things we secretly long for. You read me?