I’m not quite sure how I came to follow Bettie Newell on Instagram but it quickly became clear that we were kindred spirits with a shared love of colour, tattoos and tiny dogs! I love Bettie’s photography and was lucky enough to meet up with her last year when I was in Portland and have her show me around her neighbourhood a bit (so many backyard chickens!!). I’m so grateful that Bettie agreed to share her thoughts and her photos with us today.
It’s been a year of letting go and starting over. I’m shedding layers, self-perceptions, habits, baggage and belongings as I discover truths about who I am, what I love, and how I want to spend my time. Embarking on a new adventure means I want to part with objects that no longer reflect who I am so that I can more fully embrace the present moment.
As I take my first steps on this new path, I’m putting my house in order. I’m finding that emptying my closet and leaving my career carry similar weight on my journey. Were the items I was clinging to somehow holding me back?
After reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, I tried on every single dress in my wardrobe, only about half of which still brought me joy. So many pieces, each one having served its purpose in shaping the woman I’ve become: dresses from a long line of celebrations and discoveries and heartbreak and mistakes, each representing some facet of my journey. Items I hadn’t worn in ages, they deserved to grace some other woman’s body rather than just languishing at the back of my closet.
Kondo understands the attachment we have to our possessions because they reflect our history. She suggests a ceremonial good-bye, a moment of gratitude for how each item made you feel, for what it taught you about yourself. For me, that was grabbing my camera and giving each garment one last moment in the light, one last breath of fresh air, one last chance to be that magic thing for me before moving on to do the same for someone else.
What do the objects you surround yourself with tell you about the journey that you’ve been on? What can you ceremoniously part with in order to move forward from here?