My wonderful college roommate Meg runs a blog about minimalism, and her recent post about passions really hit home for me. She talks about our need to display our passion for others, with things like graphic tees, nerdy accessories, mountains of stuffed animals, and piles of unnecessary equipment for activities we want to do but don't actually do. I'll probably talk about this in more depth another time, but I started something of a light minimalist journey last year when I implemented the oh-so-trendy Marie Kondo method. I'm not joking when I say that it really has changed my life. I wasn't a hoarder, exactly, but I liked having things. I liked collections. I had a guilt-inducing pile of Tsum Tsums and more stuffed animals than I had space for, among lots of other things, and having a hardcore clearout really helped me feel more focussed and relaxed, more appreciative of what I have, and even less anxious. But there's one impulse that still gets to me a lot, and that's to buy things that are branded with characters and stories that I love.
It's Harry Potter tees that don't fit well, but I buy because I love Harry Potter. It's a Pusheen weekly desk planner that I don't need, because I have a bullet journal. It's my BB-8 bag that is completely impractical, and I never use, but that I can't get rid of, because it's BB-8, and BB-8 is adorable.
And then there are my bookshelves. I used to keep every book I bought, even if I ended up hating it. Now I have more of a conveyer belt of "buy, read, donate." But every now and again, I still feel that pull. That need to be the sort of person who has A Library. That can go, "Here are my bookshelves. Look what a big reader I am."
And reading Meg's post really helped me figure out that impulse. It's the idea of wanting physical proof of our passions. We're displaying them for other people, to some extent, but we're also, I think, displaying them to ourselves. Helping define ourselves with things that we can look at and go, "Yes. I am this person."
The trick, of course, is finding comfort and confidence in ourselves without these things. Not erasing them from our lives completely, but only buying them when they serve us. Perhaps it's the difference between the Hogwarts scarf I've worn every winter day for over two years, and that BB-8 bag that I never use, but keep because I'm a Star Wars person, and a Star Wars person needs their BB-8 bag!
I'm definitely still figuring all of this stuff out. But if nothing else, reading Meg's post helped me resist buying a sparkly Jigglypuff tee from Primark the other day that was totally "things Rhiannon loves" and not at all "things Rhiannon will actually wear." So, you know. Baby steps.