"I need to use my stuff - and if I don't, it's a sign that I'm not really the person that I think I am."
I read the quote above recently and it got me thinking about what items I've been holding onto over the years and why that might be. Up until now I thought most of my clutter consisted of
- Tools and things I might need in the future
- Unwanted gifts I don't know how to part with without hurting people's feelings
- Paper, paper everywhere. From schools, bills, receipts, junk mail, it goes on and on
- Hobbies and crafts supplies
- Sentimental items
- Furniture that doesn't suit our needs anymore
- Clothing that doesn't fit or might fit later or is worn out
Just stuff that's collected over the years by itself that I haven't sorted out.
I certainly never thought that I might purposely be keeping clutter for my fantasy identity. I didn't even realize I had a fantasy identity, but as it turns out, I do and obviously have had for a lot of years judging by the amount of things I kept for it.
For example in 2011 I made a list of goals I thought I might like to accomplish and one of those was "to become more self-sufficient and grow most of my own food." A worthy goal you might say.
At the time I planted fruit trees in my back garden and planted pots of vegetables and herbs on my front deck. The trees did okay but I have black thumbs and the pot plants died, well, all apart from the parsley which the dog ate. Who knew dogs like parsley?
Anyway, gardening didn't take well then and after watching the cat pee all over the spinach that put me off growing vegetables again but I still thought of myself as becoming a self-sufficient home gardener someday and I kept a lot of plant books to feed that fantasy.
Another fantasy linked with the gardening one is that one day we'd own our own lifestyle block with chickens and maybe a couple of cows or sheep. Generating our own power and with our own water source. I'd kept home farming magazines and books for this one. The thing is, after my husband ended up in hospital for a week with bad cellulitis in his leg from a spider bite, I realized that I don't want to live out in the country with no public transport to get to the hospital (I don't drive) and far away from family and friends. I like being able to walk to places in town, I like being close to family and friends. I get hay fever every year and it's exacerbated by the grass seed in the fields. I know that I'm always sneezing worse when I'm in the country, talk about a fantasy life! I don't eat meat so what do I need the sheep and cows for? I do like chickens and I could keep a few here in town but really, I know that I'm not really that interested and probably never will. So why keep books on animal husbandry and permaculture?
The same goes for my landscape design books. I took a course to help me plan out our previous garden. I don't regret it for a minute and will use the skills I learned to plan the landscaping of our new entertainment area and garden but I don't need lots of books on the subject. I'm not going to make a career out of this so if I need to know something I can either google it or borrow a book from the library.
The same goes for scrap-booking. Fantasy me says I'm going to make this page and that page. I've collected paper and stamps and other things for this over the years but when I sit down to do it, meh. I have no real interest in this at all. Only fantasy me does.
I'm sure there are other areas in my life that are also affected by fantasy me like the cake decorator me that hates baking but has the cake making/decorating equipment and the fantasy sewing me that owns a half share in a sewing machine but has never used it. Why? Because it doesn't really interest me. I'm not sure I can even really remember when it did.
I'm never going to be a self-sufficient farmer type, landscape designing, scrap-booking, sewing and cake baking/decorating mum but that's okay. The real me has lots of real things going on. It's taken me a long time to find and acknowledge fantasy me but I think that once I remove all of her clutter I'll be able to clearly see what the real me enjoys doing in life and I might even have the space and time to find new things to try.