For so long I tried to be someone else…
I didn’t even know that I was doing it. But with every smart dress that I bought, or every book I took home that I didn’t really want to read, I was trying to be someone else. Or as I now like to call it, ‘the me that I will never be.’
You see, I never thought that I was enough on my own and so I tried to hide under scratchy blouses that were annoying and with fashionable bags, that I never used. Everyone around me seemed cooler, smarter, or prettier - more the me I wanted to be and so I tried to buy her. Year after year I thought that I was buying a better version of myself; a me that read better literature, wore brighter lips and stepped out in heels.
The trouble was, that these things that weren’t really me, ended up as clutter. The long worded books that never got read, the uncomfortable sofa copied from someone on the gram and the scratchy blouses, crumpled on the floor. But I couldn’t let them go and convinced myself, that I was going to be the kind of person, that had these things and used them, I really was, just definitely not today.
It was so normal for me, to purchase these items that I didn’t even realise I was buying for someone else, until I started to declutter. As when faced with all of these things that hadn’t been used, I had to admit that they weren’t really me. A wardrobe full of clothes that never got worn, a bag packed with make up that hadn’t been opened and books piled high, that I didn’t even read - all of these things that I owned and they weren’t even for me.
Yet I struggled to let them go. Because if I did that, I would be saying goodbye to the me that I would never be. And then I would be only left with me and the stuff I actually used. The me I actually was. The me that chose romance and memoirs over classic reads, chunky, cosy jumpers over pretty blouses and an old lip tint, over a lipstick. I couldn’t do it. I needed to hang onto these things that I had bought for someone else and hope that they would turn into me.
If only I’d known then that I was missing the whole point of minimalism! But alas, we grow through what we go through and I got there in the end. But for a long while, the me that would never be, stayed I for at least a year into decluttering because I could’t let her go. I wasn’t even sure who ‘she’ was but I certainly thought she was better than me and I couldn’t risk, throwing her away.
I hadn’t thought about the fact that just because I had tided another blouse into the drawer, had no baring on whether I would wear it. In fact, as I placed the blouses at the back of the drawer because I knew I I wouldn’t wear them, it didn’t occur to me to declutter them for someone who would. So they stayed put, reminding me daily of everything that I wasn’t.
Eventually, I read about the me that I would never be; the better versions of ourselves that we buy for and I was so happy! Apparently it was a things that so many of us do, I had no idea that there were others just like me. So many of us are keeping things because we think that we should be more of what we’re not. Letting these things take up our space and our time, taunting us that as ourselves, we aren’t enough.
Imagine how much happier we would be if we let all that stuff go. To declutter it along with the rest, to be completely who we are. Imagine how much taller we would stand and how content we would be, without needing to be more. Just the thought made my heart flutter and my legs shake, knowing that all I had to actually do, was accept myself for me.
But in reality it was harder than that. It was a process of getting to know who I actually was and letting go of the rest. It was probably as emotional as saying goodbye to the sentimental items, that I no longer loved. It was tricky to admit that I would never be the person I was trying to buy, the women I saw in magazines and on tv. But if I wasn’t her when I had bought all the things to be her, I was never going to be her now.
So I donated the boxes of stuff that weren’t meant to be and instead, learnt to lean into being me. A me who wore big jumpers and lip tint, a me who chose chic lit over classics and a me who preferred her feet in the sand instead of in heels.
And do you know what happened? Nothing. Nothing changed because I was already being me, the extra stuff was just fluff. I had always been reaching for my very favourite things no matter what I had. Only now I was reaching for them without wishing to be someone else. Because by getting rid of the clutter, it had allowed me to be authentically me and I soon learnt, that I was enough.