Decluttering from who I was to make room for who I am now

I hate decluttering. I want to keep everything. I want to throw everything away and just start over. Going through my crap, I feel immense pressure to be the person I was when I got it when I consider whether to keep it.

Black Kallax topped with clutter
Side game: I spy a fox, menstrual cup, tape measure, seeds, Ipsy bag, screwdriver, pint ice cream cozy, key chain

I feel pressure to gift, sell or give away my Beanie Babies, especially the ones I once held so dear to me, including the ones I received free for getting good grades in elementary school from a local shop run by a grandfather who wanted to encourage kids to do well in school. I had quite the collection. I’ve given away 80 percent of it, but struggle to rid myself of the remainder.

My old crap, that I’ve spent months and even years without, reminds me of who I used to be and who I’m not anymore. Rather than the fear of who I will be after I dissolve my life of it all, I fear feeling like a shell of my former self. I dislike when people in my life before tell me I’m just a shell of who I was, like I’m haunting them.

I declutter people from my life more than I declutter stuff. Armchair psychologists like to tell me it’s easier for me to drop people in my life because I was abused and neglected, because I’m used to not having people — because they want me to keep them despite their toxicity.

And then I’m the toxic one for wanting them out of my life, because I am different now, because I don’t live my life as per their standards and traditional values.

Maybe I am. So what if I am? I don’t particularly care. I’m living life as per my values, even if they’re an abomination in someone else’s life. I’m not physically hurting anyone. I could be that person, you know. I was abused. I was professionally trained how to abuse someone, especially children, but I’m not. That doesn’t mean I’m better or make me better because I aim not to repeat my past. Anyone can snap at any time. It could be any of us. There is literally a television series about it.

My dilemma lies in my desperate longing to hang on to my innocence so I can pass it on to a potential child I call my own later down the line. A teddy bear that transforms into a Cowboys football, for example, was the prime theme among my childhood. That bear has been with me forever. I’m unlikely to ever willingly part with it, no matter how messy it gets and how many times I have to toss it into the laundry as a football. I don’t even like football. The only Cowboys team I care for are the cheerleaders, but give me one person attracted to women who doesn’t enjoy watching the cheerleaders.

I know they’re all just things.

Cluttered closets haunt my childhood. A closet was meant for storage space, and not just in regard to your clothes. They’re in-house storage units you don’t gotta drive to or pay extra for. So I have layers of boxes and reusable bags full of junk I’ve managed to live without for months to years — and I feel guilty tossing it without going through it, but then I continue to feel guilty tossing it even after I’ve looked through it.

I feel obligated to keep my crap and continue to collect even more crap.

I feel obligated to be the person I used to be and continue to be the person I am now, even though there is no room for both persons to exist.

I come from places where no white space exists, where every wall must contain something on or against it or else you’re doing it wrong — living life wrong, doing life wrong.

I feel suffocated.

The pressure to keep being the me I was before — before my depression, before my PTSD, before Jane — is real. So real, in fact, that my family members maintain their judgment. A joke about seeing the name on birth certificate filled the air, for instance.

I’m not even trans, but it’s not something I haven’t considered due to my dissociative identity disorder and the dysphoria I experience around the time of my menstrual cycle, whenever it decides to grace me with its presence. Generally, this tidbit is unimportant to the whole shebang, but I empathize greatly with people are trans, because I view my legal first name as a dead name.

It is a dead name, in that the alter for Sarah no longer exists. I struggle to believe she ever existed in the first place sometimes, but dissociative identity disorder is a complex thing, and the medical term for her existence is that we merged.

But my name was never supposed to be Sarah. I just got it because my maternal grandmother didn’t like the name my dad chose, and my mom no input because she didn’t even want me until someone else did.

It was supposed to be Portia Alexis.

I’ve considered doing Portia Jane Elizabeth Lawson, because I don’t mind Portia. Some of my friends call me that, exclusively, because they think it’s a cool name that fits me better because I’m badass. But I don’t want a long name. I don’t want a name with two middle names, because that was my mom’s goal for me if her husband had been able to adopt me — to have four names as my own on my birth certificate, because their children have four names.

I feel suffocated by who I’m supposed to be, so I get these moments where I’m like…I just want it out. So I open my closet — that I will sometimes sit at my desk and stare at like there’s something rotting in it and I need it out ASAP — and grab a box or bag that I’ve gone through, or need to go through, and just ruthlessly rummage through it. And then I put it on the porch and tell Charlise to tell Amber, our go-to clutter grabber who then sells this shit, there’s more crap on the porch for her.

Because I want it out of my room, my vicinity, my fucking life.

I have nothing to move on from; I have no need for it.

I am so determined that I’m typing up whatever writing is worth keeping that isn’t already typed, putting it into a binder, and tossing the rest — because I don’t even want that. I haven’t used some of it in even a decade; the ideas I had were naive, written with the limited vocabulary and experience I had to work with. The perspective of an adult, of my whole life experience up to this point, writes better than I used to — especially for the points I was trying to make.

And I just want it out.

I want to start over, but I can’t start over — the butterfly effect and all that, plus reality.

So I declutter.

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