Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Letting go of the clutter, but holding on to memories of lupus hairstyles past

Now that we're back in our house after nine months in a rental, I've been reunited with the stuff we kept in a storage container in our driveway during the renovation. I can't believe how much we had, and how much of it we don't need anymore! I intentionally didn't do a lot of purging before we moved - a) because I didn't know what we would need once we moved back into a new and renovated space, and b) because I wanted the time away to dictate what stuff we could get rid of. Now, almost a year later, it's abundantly clear what we can live without. And it's a lot! Since our house is fresh and new, I'm able to objectively see that some of the old stuff I was holding onto doesn't have a place in our house. Let the purging begin!

The best part has been tossing stuff into the donation pile as I unpack. I'd say every third or fourth box has been donated. I'm going through every single thing, but I'm glad I had the forethought to pack many of the items I thought might be obsolete together. Thus, choosing stuff for the donation pile has been more about keeping the momentum going, rather than feeling torn or sentimental about things we really don't use, need, or want anymore.

I did find one thing that I was very sentimental about - and that's a hair magazine I've been holding onto since 2005. I actually remember packing it up nine months ago, and I had every intention of keeping it then, just as I do now. Here's the cover - and here's why I'm keeping it:

Almost 10 years ago, I had a bout of hair loss that completely wiped out my thick head of dark, lovely hair. I had only strands left to wrap around my head...and it was a pretty dire situation. You can read about the whole ordeal here, and see pictures of what I looked like (and felt like) after I cut off those strands. Once I mustered up the courage to cut off my hair, I must have looked through this magazine 20,000 times over the course of about a year. Each time I flipped through its pages, I grew increasingly comfortable with my short new 'do, and quickly learned to enjoy the benefits of short hair ( e.g. going in for a "trim", and coming out with a whole new look...simply because you can!) Of course, along with my "look", I was coming to terms with my illness and the idea of embracing the disease, rather than wasting so much time and energy fighting against it. The moment (and I mean, the moment) my hairdresser cut off those strands, I felt like a whole new person. It was one of the best things I've every done.

So when I flip through this magazine, with its tattered pages and folded-down corners, I literally tear up. It was such a cathartic time for me, physically and emotionally, and it really was the beginning of a whole new era. As I pored over those pictures, I learned how to celebrate the fact that I had reinvented myself in the face of lupus - gaining wisdom, self-awareness, and inner strength with every page I turned.

So while this magazine gets to stay, many other things in our household don't, and I'm thrilled about it. This, too, is the mark of a whole new phase of our life, and I'm happy to be starting it uncluttered!

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