The Purge

Song dedication: Monster by Big Data/Jamie Liddell

When an addict decides (of their own volition) to get clean, I picture that difficult iconic moment of emptying the liquor cabinet of its contents and dumping each glass bottle of its once sweet-virtual vitality contents down the kitchen drain, washing it clean with a final douse of scalding hot tap water and then an exhale for the hard work ahead.

I did this once with my sugar stash, the dramatic moment paling in comparison; dumping brightly coloured jelly bellies into the city issued garbage can in our garage…knowing that it wasn’t safe enough to dump them in the household garbage cans around the house…way too easy for me to recover these little badboys like,  “Mmmmmaaayyyybe I can still eat a few more…thanks white plastic ikea issued garbage container that looks clean ENOUGH?! Ya they’re fine…kind of like trick or treating. Yesssss! Rasberry…I knew it!”  That was me over-dialoguing myself in the comedic version of a purge, but deep down it was no less difficult to commit to…candy was everywhere I turned, in my side table, in my desk at work, in my jacket pockets, the cupboards, gas stations, grocery stores, that shit is everywhere…I had to stick with it but it was so hard, falling off the goodie wagon was a hard long fall. It wasn’t until I found out cane sugar was an intolerance for me that I kicked the habit fully and I am so glad I did. I feel way better! And have no desire to indulge this way anymore.

My latest purge has been a transcendent experience. I was also a shopaholic. When you feel kind of empty inside like something is missing, you might try to fill that hole with material things. I use to have this pretty large pit that resided in my heart and stomach area (I mean I literally felt it there…void of feeling other than the constant thrum of anxiety). To engage that feeling of vitality that all humans crave, I attempted to fill this hole with pretty things, dampening the burn of unworthy worry.  Craving the adrenaline rush that accompanied the act of purchase and the initial wearing of said purchase.

Scarves, hats, shoes, jackets, shirts, dresses and a shit ton of denim.  The jeans I had amassed were my safety net, cause no matter how much my weight fluctuated (see reasons-why reference above – aka jelly belly addiction) I always had a great pair of jeans to hug my hips making me feel secure.  I realized this overflowing selection of pants also helped me not acknowledge the changes my body was making due to sugar consumption – the physical changes were just blanketed with the array of jean sizes I had at my fingertips, the mental fog and growing feeling of inadequacy overshadowed by the thrill of the hunt.

A few weeks ago a post on FB got my attention for a used clothing sale at a local venue. $25 bought you a table and the public was welcome to shop your things from 10-3. My gut, now more intuitive than ever, pulled me to commit. I messaged, confirmed and bought a table and began the work.

It started with my dresses, they had become an art collection of sorts from Anthropologie; a store I discovered on a trip to California in my 20’s.  I wanted to be that store; the fragrant scent of cedar and lemon, the shiny housewares adorned with woodland creatures, the beautiful whimsical patterns on flattering-cut garments and shifty fabrics.  A curation of worldly identity projected on a girl. I wanted to be a store?! I feel tragic writing that but it feels good to be aware and open (rather than shameful) of this desire to feel worthy of people’s attention through my appearance. Exhaling now and letting that go fully. Jeesh

Anyway it just kept going, this energetic shift to clear space for my new awareness of self. Several days into the process, I continued to chip away at this life changing move.  The advice of my dear friend Bobbi in my mind, when she said she heard/read something about letting go and decluttering life.

“Hold it, and if it doesn’t bring you joy, let it go.”

I have done this with every piece and it is amazing how easily I am able to make the choice without being clouded by considerations of how much it cost or how I haven’t worn it enough or how I might fit it better in a few months. It has also helped me put 2 things back…one, a sundress I bought on my honeymoon in Maui and two, a red quilted coat that I’ve had for ten years and feels like a warm hug in late fall. Those I rehung in a much more roomy closet that I had reclaimed all myself, they are ready to be worn as they drape over their hangers comfortably, no longer buried in a sea of fabric and chaos.  I walked into my closet today and inhaled deeply, noting this alien reaction; I use to hold my breath in there because I knew it was out of control spilling into other areas of our home…all over “The Chair” and our shared family space.

The thing is, I have culled so many pieces that I don’t want to lug it all to the clothing sale in October. So I decided to take another risk, again following my intuition. I broadcast on FB an invitation to pre-shop in my home; knowing this would take much more effort in a smaller window of time, being this weekend.

So tonight I hosted a sip and shop, and although people didn’t show up in droves…it was perfect, I was able to connect with each person who came, sharing a hug, maybe a glass of wine and some really great human connection and conversation.  As a migrainure, this was my first social hosting; my anxiety was low, my health was good and I experienced an unexpected emotion. Joy.

I had been so focussed on does it bring me joy or no, that I didn’t expect it to show up in another context.  As I witnessed friends trying on these beautiful things, walking in a pair of stillettos across my floor, gazing over their shoulder to assess the fit of a coat in the mirror, wrapping a pretty scarf around their neck and under their hair, smiling at something they saw as part of their style, I was overcome with joy.  These beautiful women finding beauty in the “things” that had become my burden.  Butterfly moment!

Just another experience as my being graduates to another level of wholeness.  This awakening couldn’t have happened without my flaws, without this time I’ve created for myself, without the hard work, without the acknowledgement for a need to change transform, without the people.  So so much gratitude.

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