Happy Old Year: How to Declutter with a Cold Heart

Writer’s note: Dearest reader, this piece was supposed to be my post for the end of June 2020. However, my unstable mental health could not handle the pressure of regular posting and writing last year. Now that I am back with a *better* brain and heart, I want to post it as the first blog for my reintroduction to this site. I hope you are still with me in this journey.  

This is not a film review. I was trying to write one, I swear, but I ended up writing about myself.

When Netflix recommended this movie to me I was thrilled. A breakup movie that was inspired by the Marie Kondo movement of decluttering and led by the star of Bad Genius? Okay, I’m sold. So, I started the movie thinking this a breakup movie where the main character has to throw away the things her ex gave her and then she’ll have flashbacks of the happy days and she won’t be able to throw the mementos and she cries and I will cry with her. However, Jean (the main lead who is played by one of my favourite Thai actresses) subverted my expectations. She is a cold-hearted woman who decides to turn her family’s home into a minimalist house by throwing everything away.

I want to be like her. I want to have that ability to toss away the things that I simply do not need. I think of all the boxes of academic papers, essays, and school projects I stored under my bedroom back home. Now, they are home to spiders and cockroaches but to me they are reminders of the years where I felt that I was good at something. I think of all the movie tickets, MyBus tabs, and restaurant receipts, their prints slowly fading as they breathe and hold each other inside an ice cream tub that I turned into a memory box. Why do I still keep souvenirs from people who cannot even remember my name?

I watch as Jean puts everything she owns in black trash bags with a blank expression. It was exhilarating to see her put away things without any drama or remorse. I was proud of her and I bet the queen of decluttering, Marie Kondo would be too.  But an incident (which involves a friend and a CD, and a brother and an old sweater- just watch the movie so you’ll know what I mean) compelled her to take a step back. She realizes that to trash to pieces of her history, to cut them loose is to lose parts of her autobiography, and to declutter is to delete. And so, begins Jean’s process of digging into her own past especially the unfinished episodes concerning her ex-boyfriend whom she dumped without any explanation when she went to Sweden, and her father who unceremoniously abandoned them when they were kids.

This is Jean amidst the ‘trash’ that she has to let go.

Now, dear reader, this is the part where I have to pause the movie and I have to admit to myself the main reason why I watched it. I just ended a relationship with the love of my life and I am looking for a good cry. I could write a whole other piece about this breakup but it is too fresh and I am still in my ugly crying face.

Another writer’s note: Dearest reader, I have failed to finish this article and I totally forgot about it. I came back to it after six months. Come December 2020, I was not crying on trains anymore.  

In the last drawer in my new tiny new bedroom I hide all the love letters and special trinkets he gave me. I keep these things because sometimes I want to look back and hold on to the bittersweet feelings. I let go of the people but I cannot let go of the sentiments and what they represent to me. I gave myself six months to be restored and refurbished. Perhaps, after six months of hibernation, introspection, learning and decluttering in my heart, I will be able to create a version of myself someone would want to be with. But who am I kidding? No matter how many times I try to reinvent myself I will never be modern. I will always be part of someone else’s history as they were with mine.

Next year, I will be turning 25. I will continue to keep inside my body the remnants of the people whom I have loved and lost. Their lives will continue as they carry a piece of me. And I will continue to live, my body may be older but my heart is whole and complete.

I am blooming again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: