Last Week #12 | Room to Grow

This week, I had the inexplicable yet powerful urge to clean out. Specifically, my bookshelves. My bookshelves have for a while been a source of pride for me, related to owning things. It was like, look at my shelves, look how full they are. A modern day version of Ariel's "look at this stuff, isn't it neat...wouldn't you say my collection's complete?" But recently when I've looked at them I haven't seen a complete collection but an outdated and no longer relevant one. The objects we own are often reflections of ourselves, and the things I had on my bookshelves no longer reflected who I am. So, I cleaned out.

 During the process, I found myself wanting to get rid of half of the books and stories I'd collected over the past three years. Finding myself a different person than I was then, and not necessarily wanting to erase that old version, but wanting to clear out the outdated remnants of her. I felt like I got a software update this week. I cleaned out those books that I no longer feel the need to hold on to. And while there were pieces I just couldn't let go of-- like my Harry Potter books, there are also pieces of me my body won't let me let go of-- like my anxiety.



 This week, for the first time in a long time, I got extremely anxious around people again. It was frustrating, disheartening, and ultimately uncomfortable, but I realized that it doesn't mean I'm the same person I was, just because I can't give away that part of myself as easily as I can give away a box of books. I've been seeing this theme lately-- that anxiety will always be with me, it may always affect me, maybe for the rest of my life. That is a distinct possibility I have always accepted. But there's a difference now. Just because it affects me doesn't mean it has to hold me back. I used to see each anxiety attack as a reason not to try. A reason to stop in my tracks, and take a turn away from the thing that gave me anxiety to begin with. Because that's what logical people do, right? When something hurts them, they stop doing it. But I've learned that courage is being afraid and doing it anyway. So I'm going to keep trying, even when it's hard. I'm going to move on and I'm going to do what scares me and I'm going to KEEP COMING BACK until those things doesn't give me anxiety anymore.

I looked at my shelves yesterday and didn't like how barren and empty they seemed. I felt like I had lost pieces of me. But this morning, I look at them and see that I've simply discarded the clutter, and given myself room to grow. Room to grow into myself. I made room for new this week. On my shelves, and in my life.

 -Fran