Over the weekend I took the time to clean out my closet. I expected to feel a sense of relief at the end of the process, but I did not expect the sense of catharsis that I experienced in the last 24 hours.
In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that my mom was the sole provider for our family. While I have said before that we had everything we needed, my mom struggled to get that across to me as I watched my friends receive cars on their 16th birthdays while I’m begging my mom to buy me a pair of Abercrombie & Fitch jeans from the clearance rack.
Throughout the majority of my teenage years and into my early twenties I was wildly insecure about my financial state. I spent an entire decade from the ages of 14 until at the least 24 always comparing myself to others and thinking about what everyone else had that I did not.
When I was in high school, my mom would do her best to give me those items that at the time seemed so luxurious like a MAC eyeshadow, a Lancome lipgloss, or an Abercrombie tank top off the clearance rack. These were all items that my friends had in abundance, and it made me feel a sense belonging to have them too.
The packaging felt luxurious compared to my Walmart clothing and drugstore makeup I was used to. I loved the feeling of that sense of luxury, and so I saved all the boxes and bags. For some reason, having the boxes to these items was a reminder that I had some luxury around me, that luxury existed and I was able to get my hands on it in small spurts. Seeing the accumulation of them over time made me feel like I wasn’t “less than” anyone, and that someday I would get to a place where these boxes didn’t mean anything anymore, and they were just part my lifestyle.
While cleaning my closet, I noticed that I have kept the same pattern and I didn’t even realize it until then. Looking into my closet over the weekend I had over 20 empty shoe boxes, some of the shoes I didn’t have anymore. I realized that I was holding onto these as an accumulation of what I thought was motivating me to succeed when really these were an accumulation of a decade of insecurity.
I then decided it was time to get rid of them. I took them all out, broke them down, and put them all in the recycle bin. Now, if you come to my home, I will still have an accumulation of some boxes. These are for the luxury items such as handbags or shoes that I have worked hard and saved up to purchase over the last few years. You might be thinking, “What makes these boxes different”? Well, these are items I can resell, and in the luxury goods community, the box helps increase the resale value a bit. But I will say, when I look at those boxes, I don’t see insecurity. I see beautiful items that I love and the fact that I have the financial freedom to buy things that I need AND things that I want.
Now looking at my closet I see an abundance of empty space, and it makes me happy. It reminded me that no accumulation of any item can define my success. Don’t get me wrong, I will always love to shop because I love fashion. But now, I recognize that shopping and fashion are something that I enjoy, not something that define my level of success or sense of self-worth. I feel good when I look good and it is as simple as that.
I would love to hear from others, what are you holding onto that no longer moves you forward? What are some habits that you have that do not bring you happiness, but only pressure? I hope that my story can motivate you to rid yourself of any of your metaphorical boxes of insecurity. It feels great to have all of mine in the trash!