I bought The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō. I was curious to see what all the talk was about. I’m always in the market for an easy way to get an emotional lift, especially if it comes with a cleaner place.
I wanted to spark my joy, assuming my joy could be sparked.
Tapping into joy is something I have to practice when I can. That might sound ridiculous, but my broken brain is used to tapping into pain and now it automatically chooses pain even when it doesn’t need to. The rest of the time, even when it taps into something positive, like joy, my brain has the habit of twisting and torturing the joy into something negative, just out of habit.
So over the years, not surprisingly, almost everything in my life has become associated with pain. Now I’m working hard to break those associations and build new, more positive and realistic associations.
So I bought Marie Kondo’s book, totally ready to clean up. I hoped for a clean house and then a clean car. And I hoped my joy would be sparked quickly.
Spoiler alert caveat: I feel like I’m a really bad writer for not being able to build up the suspense more, but maybe I’m just a decent writer with a bad subject (i.e., me).
Actual spoiler: Everything about Kondo’s book drove me nuts, including the fact that I hadn’t figured out how to make a billion bucks on a book about tidying up. Every mention of her KonMarie Method made me feel like I was getting taken.
But my goal had been to clean up and feel good, and tons of people were responding favorably to her, so I tried to ignore my bad attitude and focus on her apparently useful advice.
When reading the book failed to move me, I sought a positive connection with the neat freak via YouTube. I watched her visit people who had clutter situations they wanted addressed.
But watching Marie Kondo in real life (i.e., video) was even harder. Everything about her was so streamlined and simplified. And tiny.
She was tiny. And perfect looking. And simple.
And she wasn’t just a giver of advice or the master of a novel approach. She was a lifestyle. She was a brand. She was the Ralph Lauren of organization.
And it would take an awful lot of “tidying” to make my life look like hers.
I gave up on finding joy once I realized I was happier watching Beverly Hills 90210 than I was watching or reading Marie Kondo.
I gave up on finding joy and chalked up my experience to just another mission for finding material.
Because when you write a cartoon, nothing goes to waste. Every scrap can be turned into something viable, whether or not it’s supposed to be funny.
Maybe one day I’ll be able to hold each of my items in my hands to determine which ones spark joy. Maybe one day that process will lead me to clearing out my closets and drawers and enjoying a more minimal existence.
For now, though, I’m not ready to hold each object in my hands and experience the emotional connection. My brain isn’t good enough yet at discerning emotions to play that game.
For now, I can follow a simple rule like “if you haven’t worn it in more than ten years, donate it to charity.”
Even better, I can watch 90210 while putting donation clothes into piles.
May your joy be sparked.
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