I’ve held so many items in my hands and declared “this is it.”
“This is what makes me a new person.”
It might be a metaphysical tool, a beautiful crystal or a new tarot deck.
It might be cosmetic, an eyeshadow palette or a new dress.
But each and every one of these items now sits in my tiny New York apartment. Some see fairly regular use but many don’t have a designated space, simply moved from surface to surface as I attempt to navigate my daily life in the space between. And now, as I pack my life into boxes and prepare to re-root myself hundreds of miles from the home I’ve made, I can hardly contain my anger and regret.
Because of course the truth is none of these objects changed me. Aside from a rush of temporary joy or even just momentary convenience, all that changed was the space available in my home. If anything, the accumulation of things made my life worse — it drained my bank accounts, it made my living space smaller, and it brought tension to my relationship.
In a way I suppose these things did change who I am.
By allowing physical objects to define me, my identity became that of a messy, chaotic person. My surroundings were too cluttered to keep up with and as the thick dust of my industrial apartment collected, so too did my disappointment. Far from the vibrant, exciting person I thought these things would make me — the quirky, fun girl whose personality shined through her collection of interesting and beautiful things — they became an anchor that kept me stuck in a cycle of anxiety and self-loathing.
When we purchased our home last autumn, we knew we had several months before we could occupy the space fully. It was perfect — we could take our time packing and bringing things out, avoid the stress and expense of moving in a hurry…but each time I picked up an object to pack it away I was overwhelmed. At best, I remembered who I was supposed to be through that object, a person I never became. At worst, I saw a representation of a part of myself I desperately tried to escape. And with that realization my energy was sapped and I’d slink away in defeat.