Sunday, January 17, 2016

Today I Learned How to Say "I Hate Myself" in Japanese

"KonMari." That's how you say it. I recently read a sentence in which "KonMari" was used as a verb: "KonMari anything that doesn't spark joy," someone said. Or something like that. 

Great!, I thought to myself. I have no idea what the verb "to KonMari" means, but I can think of LOTS of things that don't spark joy! Let's ask the Googles what this is all about!

Bad move, mama. 

A few keystrokes later, and I knew for sure how to say "I hate myself" in Japanese. And trust me when I tell you I'm the last person who needs to be multilingual in that phrase.

Turns out, the KonMari method is something invented by best-selling Japanese author and "organizing consultant" Marie Kondo. Long story short, she has OCD and wants you to stop hoarding shit, because you'll be happier. To do that, you need only find the possessions that "spark joy" and jettison the rest. But unlike me, Marie doesn't live with two feral piglets and one adult hoarder who owns a formidable collection of Star Wars Pez dispensers and an R2D2 trash can.

According to Wikipedia, Marie just had her first baby this past July. I'd like to see how on-board her soon-to-be-mobile baby will be with this explanation for the origins of her organizing empire:
I was obsessed with what I could throw away. One day, I had a kind of nervous breakdown and fainted. I was unconscious for two hours. When I came to, I heard a mysterious voice, like some god of tidying telling me to look at my things more closely. And I realized my mistake: I was only looking for things to throw out. What I should be doing is finding the things I want to keep. Identifying the things that make you happy: that is the work of tidying.

So the God of Neatness spoke to Marie Kondo in a dream, and as a result made her a millionaire many times over.  Marie and the Neatness Gods also gave me a single Japanese word for "I hate myself." I want to employ the KonMari method, but the problem is the huge disparity in joy-sparking in my home.

See, what sparks joy in the rest of my family sparks in me the need to ignite a literal spark and burn down 75% of our possessions in a giant bonfire on the city-owned cul-de-sac at the bottom of our driveway, while I dance around the conflagration like a trust-fund hippie tripping on six hits of acid at Burning Man.

The whole "spark joy" analysis is further problematic because there are so few material possessions that spark joy in me. Maybe a few books, my iPhone, my adult coloring books and pens, a few scarves, a couple pairs of shoes, and that's maybe about it. Also maybe an old bandana or two. Everything else, well, let the motherfuckers burn as far as I'm concerned. 

The below photos are real-time depictions of my children's living and playing space. These spark something alright, but it's not joy. It's rage.

As I write this, I'm waiting for my family to come inside from riding bikes so I can bring down the hammer on them and make them KonMari the SHIT out of this disgusting pig sty. I can't wait to make them Sophie's Choice all their possessions under the "does-it-spark-joy" analysis. I'm sure there will be ZERO tears involved in that project. 


Marie Kondo, inventor of the KonMari method and Japaense language tutor to O.H.M.

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