I recently watched a video where some women talked about the life-changing nature of KonMari-ing their closets. How their wardrobe reviews boost personal power, and made them happy.
I haven’t read the book, but I get the impression that it is a method of systematically removing extraneous matter from your home by keeping only those things that make you happy. Or maybe just the ones that make you VERY happy, I’m not sure. The women in question were talking about how the method gave them permission to get rid of things that they not only didn’t love but didn’t like in the slightest.
And there were two things  that really bothered me about the discussions:
- These women were treating their own desires as irrelevant, making decisions based entirely on what other people wanted.
- They were allowing themselves to be treated like children who are incapable of making appropriate decisions for themselves.
So how does it come around that you willingly give up your power to someone else?
I want you to imagine a different time. Imagine that your early life was devoted to training you to make other people happy; to sacrifice your happiness for the overall benefit of your family. Well not even that really, but to completely fail to recognise that you have any desires other than to make other people happy. Historically, that’s not unusual, women have been sacrificing for thousands of years whether by choice or not. Sometimes these are big sacrifices like permitting people you don’t like to hug and/or kiss you just because they are family or family friends, or giving up the last fancy biscuit to your brother. Sometimes little things like particular chore sets, talking quietly or not running in the house.
I don’t think things really started to change until the 1980s. The notion of marriage as a form of prostitution (trading sex for security) was breaking out of academia and into the mainstream media. Katy’s recently divorced mother was in vehement agreement while my own thought it was a load of tosh, I’d like to think things have improved, but I am afraid they haven’t. For more or less the same reasons as I talked about International Women’s Day, and marriageable men.
Anyway, I think that this early training and wanting to be liked is where it all starts. Pretending to be dumber than your boyfriend, that you don’t mind that he expects you to buy his family gifts and that you really do want to stay home and watch sport rather than going out for dinner and a movie . All small meaningless sacrifices that give away your power and cheat him from knowing who the authentic you really is.
Once the wedding is over, Bridezilla goes in the box along with your wedding dress and bouquet. She sits silently on the top of your closet. You emulate mother’s example, fully embracing your training by taking it to the next level. You lay aside your maiden’s clothing with your maiden name and start dressing more modestly so your husband doesn’t need to worry that anyone else might be attracted to you and waste his energy getting jealous. You stop cutting your hair because he likes it long. Sacrifice by sacrifice you allow the central core of yourself to fade away and disappear. And then your husband looks at what you have become (as Katy’s father did). He trades you in for a younger more exciting woman leaving you with a closet full of clothes that aren’t really who you are.
Now I can testify to the value of a good closet clean out. My post-transplant review was an eye opener in terms of who those clothes belonged to. I’ve mentioned this before relating to the virtue of beauty. Particularly relating to your personal presentation, but to your home and garden as well.
And I know how easy it is to fixate on what you think are your physical “flaws” and stop seeing yourself as a whole. Now that I think about itm that probably doesn’t help in the personal power department either.
Where do you go from here?
How do you get to know yourself again? How do you recover your lost power and teach people who know you as a doormat how to treat you better? More importantly, how do you teach your daughters to grow into their authentic selves and never let them go?
Bit by bit. Start with one little thing, hold that line and keep moving it forward.
And KonMari-ing your closet is a pretty good place to start:
- take your yes/no gut reactions as a guide, and learn how it feels to want and not want something.
- learn how to have a conversation with your partner/parents/whoever that says. I appreciate the thought behind this (crappy) gift but it doesn’t make me happy and I don’t want it in my house.
- think about what you need in your life to make you happy.
What do you think? Could you learn who you really are and what you really like by discarding things that don’t fit anymore?
 There were actually a LOT of things that bothered me, but we don’t have time to go into them all.
 I know, there are women who do really prefer the sport, I’m just not one of them.