Does This Haux Spark Joy?
How the KonMari Method helped me tidy up my hauxtation by Jennifer Eden
I'm a smart haux. I read books and watch documentaries and shit. I'm particularly attracted to the self-help and mindfulness genres. Plus I plan on being kept one of these days so tips on housekeeping and organization always feel useful to me. For these reasons, binge-watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix was a no brainer!
The first episode I watched started off slow. A "busy" young family struggling to manage their household responsibilities called on Marie's expertise to get their home in order. They claimed to be in such an organizational rut due to lack of time. This heteronormative couple with what appeared to be a three-bedroom house, two kids, a stay-at-home mom (with a part-time job), and a breadwinning dad seemed to be the embodiment of white privilege. They went down the list of who does what in the house, with laundry being a point of contention - so much so that they decided to pay a service to take care of that for them. And in spite of it all, they somehow managed to spend time with their kids. *insert eye roll*
I was over their privileged entitlement.
But when Marie came in she changed the whole vibe. After her tour, the first thing she did was greet the house. She picked a spot for everyone, including her Japanese-to-English translator, to get comfortable on the floor and instructed everyone to close their eyes and bring to mind gratitude for the home. This was genius! I immediately thought to add thanking my home to my morning meditation. But then I got to thinking about other things that keep me and hold me in the same way - my bed for instance. My bed has supported me through many restful nights and MANY haux activities. Its metal headboard has held handcuffs, ropes, and silk ties in place. Its sturdy base has held up to three bodies at once and withstood its fair share of shaking and sliding across the floor. Thanks, bed!
As the couple began to sort through their clothes, Marie instructed them to keep only the items that "spark joy." Now as expansive as my vocabulary may be, I can admit that I don't use the word joy very often. In fact, I think the last time I even heard it outside of this show was in church. And I haven't been to church in a looooooong time. That prompted me to think about what joy means to me. Marie described it as feeling like "all your cells are rising." That's how orgasms feel to me, so I could definitely relate!
The KonMari Method requires you to touch every item before you decide whether or not to keep it. If it sparks joy, then it then you must find a designated home for it within your space. If it doesn't, then you must thank the item before discarding it. This to me was a novel concept. Rather than highlighting the reasons why this item no longer serves you - it's out of style, doesn't fit, or whatever - Marie's method prompted a grateful reflection before taking out the proverbial trash.
In considering how to apply this to my own life, I thought about first about my closet. Having moved recently, I had already downsized my wardrobe significantly, but I knew there were a few things that could stand to go. But where else could this method be applied? I decided then that I should take inventory of my hauxtation.
It's not that I felt like I had too many hauxs. I just wanted to make sure they all "spark joy."
As I spent time with each of my physical and emotional partners over the coming weeks, I paid close attention to how I felt in their presence. Was it joy? Even when the answer was yes, it sparked further questioning. What was this person doing, or not doing, that sparked joy in me? Was this feeling of joy rooted solely in physical satisfaction? Did the joy I felt provide relief from opposite feelings sparked by this person?
Joy is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” Examining that definition gave me a whole different lens through with to examine my partnerships. With that in mind, I was able to answer some tough questions. I recognize that joy isn’t going to be a constant in most interpersonal interactions. There will be hard truths to face, differences in perspective, and challenges to tackle. In any ‘ship - friendship, relationship, fuckship, or otherwise - having to deal with some shit is kind of a given. But clear boundaries and effective communication, in my opinion, are what keep directing you back to that foundation of joy.
Now don’t get me wrong - incompatibility is a real thing. Some ‘ships just won’t work and not for lack of trying. No matter how much you try, you can’t fit a square peg into a round hole. That doesn’t discredit the moments of joy experienced between two beings. But when taking emotional inventory, does the good truly outweigh the bad? Does the joy outweigh the confusion, sadness, or anger?
Marie Kondo's approach to decluttering your life allowed me to step outside of my usual habits and patterns and see who sparks joy for me. I learned, in short, that a haux can give you many things, but if joy ain't one of ‘em, then that haux's gotta go - but not before thanking them.
Jennifer Eden (@slutofthemonth) is a poet, sex educator, and event curator from Baltimore who recently relocated to Philly to start over. Her work centers her identity as a Black queer femme and highlights the complexities of being a survivor, overcoming mental health hurdles, and healing from family and social traumas. She believes that gender is a social construct, that writing connects us to our ancestors and descendants, and that sex is a lot of fun! She produces burlesque and variety shows with The Haux Hive and loves a good, cheap white wine.