minimalist in the making

Over the past few months, my life has changed significantly. I, myself, have changed even more. My life has shifted to a modified minimalist lifestyle.

“What is a minimalist lifestyle,” you ask. Well, there are people who believe that the world is being overrun with consumerism. If Sally McSparklepants has the latest and greatest gadget then Penny Von Pufferschmidt can’t be outdone! She has to go out and get the even better latest and greatest gadget than even Sally has. There is a constant need to have, to buy, and to obtain stuff. Frankly, I’m sick of stuff.

There are some minimalists who don’t have a TV, a couch, a bed frame, or even more than one bowl, one plate, and a single utensil to eat with all because they don’t feel that it’s necessary to have more than any one person should need. I am not to that extreme, nor will I ever be (I don’t think). I have minimized the “stuff” in my house over the past 8 months significantly though.

This is such a 180 from how I used to be. I was the kid growing up with multiple collections, every inch of wall space covered with magazine pages of celebrities, and always looking out for what other people had and how I could get it so I could be just like them. No more. I’m not completely changed though. Of course there are things that I still want or desire, but if they aren’t absolute necessities or a “treat” for saving and doing something in order to get it, then I don’t until I’ve actually earned the right to get it.

This all came about due to anxiety. Yes, anxiety. Okay, and maybe a tiny smidgen of OCD. I used to only clean when I was upset about something or pissed off. Then in February, my entire world was tilted on its axis and my anxiety skyrocketed. I would clean to calm my anxiety. I was cleaning to the point of obsessing over it. If I couldn’t clean, I would have an anxiety attack. The cycle of anxiety and obsessing just kept going and going to the point of exhaustion until I finally had to get on a system or I was going to go crazy.

Since I am OCD, I like for things to be organized. I am very much a perfectionist. I love lists. I love having things exactly where they should be. If I can’t have things perfect, then it would be total chaos. My house was majorly chaotic and I was to the point that I honestly didn’t give a shit about it or myself. I felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel so I wouldn’t even try. I was overwhelmed.

Then I found FlyLady. I can honestly say that I don’t follow everything word for word or exactly as she says because, let’s face it, I do what I want. Yes, I implemented what she teaches, but in my own way. She teaches you that you can do anything for 15 minutes. I would always try to tackle a huge mess all at once and then I’d end up giving up because I didn’t think I would ever get it done. Well, I’m here to tell you that yes you can! You just can’t look at it as a whole. Only do what you can within a certain time frame and eventually small progress turns into completely clean! I was well on my way to getting my house clean and decluttered, thanks to FlyLady.

Then I just felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I felt like I still just had way too much stuff in my house, in my way, and I still wasn’t happy even though my house was looking amazing for once in my adult life. So, I got on my Kindle and searched “organization.” I’m pretty good at organizing, but you can always learn a trick or two. Well, in my six degrees of separation type Kindle search I found the book “Miss Minimalist: Inspiration to Downsize, Declutter, and Simplify.” Hmm, interesting. It’s 99 cents. I can spare that from the budget. So, I read it. I’m inspired. I’ve found what I didn’t even know I was searching for!

I am currently reading “The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life” and I also bought “Frugillionaire: 500 Ways to Live Richly and Save a Fortune.” I will read it next and then I’ll have an amazing house and then I’ll be rich, bitch! Ha! Just kidding. Not kidding about the reading it next part though. That part is very much true.

The author of the three books I’ve mentioned also has a blog called miss minimalist. I would tell you to check it out, but I still haven’t even checked it out. I’ve been too busy decluttering my house! Check it out though for real. Do it. I promise I will too. Maybe. Okay I will!

I honestly have no idea how much I’ve actually pared down and moved out of my house, but it’s substantial. I still have so much more to go and my home is nowhere near where I’d like it to be, but it’s getting there and I’m happy with it, my life, and myself. Finally.

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There’s no text that can replace a loving touch…

Quote

This gave me premature ventricular contractions. (Also a partial line from the movie. It means it made my heart skip a beat.)

“I was shooting a scene in my new film, No Strings Attached, in which I say to Natalie Portman, “If you miss me. you can’t text, you can’t email, you can’t post it on my Facebook wall. If you really miss me, you come and see me.” I began to think of all of the billions of intimate exchanges sent daily via fingers and screens, bouncing between satellites and servers. With all this texting, emailing, and social networking, I started wondering, are we all becoming so in touch with one another that we are in danger of losing touch? It used to be that boy met girl and they exchanged phone numbers. Anticipation built. They imagined the entire relationship before a call ever happened. The phone rang. Hearts pounded. “Hello?” Followed by a conversation that lasted two hours but felt like two minutes and would be examined with friends for two weeks. If all went well, a date was arranged. That was then. Now we exchange numbers but text instead of calling because it mitigates the risks of early failure and eliminates those deafening moments of silence. Now anticipation builds. Bdoop. “It was NICE meeting u” Both sides overanalyze every word. We talk to a friend, an impromptu Cyrano: “He wrote nice in all caps. What does that mean? What do I write back?” Then we write a response and delete it 10 times before sending a message that will appear 2 care, but not 2 much. If all goes well, a date will be arranged. Whether you like it or not, the digital age has produced a new format for modern romance, and natural selection may be favoring the quick-thumbed quip peddler over the confident, ice-breaking alpha male. Or maybe we are hiding behind the cloak of digital text and spell-check to present superior versions of ourselves while using these less intimate forms of communication to accelerate the courting process. So what’s it really good for? There is some argument about who actually invented text messaging, but I think it’s safe to say it was a man. Multiple studies have shown that the average man uses about half as many words per day as women, thus text messaging. It eliminates hellos and goodbyes and cuts right to the chase. Now, if that’s not male behavior, I don’t know what is. It’s also great for passing notes. there is something fun about sharing secrets with your date while in the company of others. think of texting as a modern whisper in your lover’s car. Sending sweet nothings on Twitter or Facebook is also fun. in some ways, it’s no different than sending flowers to the office: You are declaring your love for everyone to see. Who doesn’t like to be publicly adored. Just remember that what you post is out there and there’s some stuff you can’t un-see. But the reality is that we communicate with every part of our being, and there are times when we must use it all. When someone needs us, he or she needs all of us. There’s no text that can replace a loving touch when someone we love is hurting. We haven’t lost romance in the digital age, but we may be neglecting it. In doing so, antiquated art forms are taking on new importance. The power of a hand-written letter is greater than ever. It’s personal and deliberate means more than an email or text ever will. It has a unique scent. It requires deciphering. But, most important, it’s flawed There are errors in handwriting, punctuation, grammar, and spelling that show our vulnerability. And vulnerability is the essence of romance. It’s the art of being uncalculated, the willingness to look foolish, the courage to say, “This is me, and I’m interested in you enough to show you my flaws with the hope that you may embrace me for all that I am but, more importantly, all that I am not.” -Ashton Kutcher

The secrets I can’t tell are told by you.

A few years ago my friend Julia told me about PostSecret. Since then I’ve read the secrets on their site and I’ve even gotten some of their books. I can relate to some of the secrets and have even said, like many others out there, that “hey, that’s my secret too.” I’ve even thought of my own secrets to send in. I have never sent one though.

I’m scared to send in my own secrets. Why, you ask. When they’re in my head, inside me, they’re mine. If I were to get them out, put them on paper and make them real would be just that, making them real. I’m not prepared for that. I’m not prepared to emotionally accept the secrets that I hold within. I’m not prepared for the world to see them and possibly say, “hey, that’s my secret too.”

I know that I’m not the only one out there with the same secrets I hold. I would be completely naive to think that. I just really don’t want to let go of my secrets and know that someone else may have the exact same one as I do. Keeping them within allows me to ground myself and also self chastise in a way. I know, I shouldn’t do that, but I’ve done it for so long now it’s just second nature.

I have written in previous posts that I don’t love myself. Some of these secrets that I hold inside are a root cause as to why I don’t and possibly never will love me. Maybe if I were to let go of some of them then I would begin to see what others see. I also think though, if those that see me as such an amazing individual and who love me were to know these secrets that I hold, then they wouldn’t love me anymore either. That terrifies me.

Here’s what I’m going to do though, start writing down my secrets. (I literally just let out a huge breath that I didn’t even know I was holding.) I’m going to find a notebook and write them down. I’m going to start small, but I will start with one today.

Who knows, maybe you’ll see one of my secrets on the PostSecret website, Facebook, or in one of their books one of these days. Until then, enjoy some of my favorite secrets I’ve saved from the site:

Fourth of July

I’m sitting on the beach at my dad’s house. It’s the fourth of July. Independence Day. It’s raining and the sounds around me are all a mixed symphony of beauty.

There are children laughing. Ooohing and aaahing at the fireworks that are exploding around me. Echoing in the surrounding cove. Thunder is clapping trying to drown out the fireworks. Rain is falling and tapping at the leaves above my head. Splattering as it makes contact with the water at my feet.

I’ve never felt more at peace than I do at this moment. Even with all the noises surrounding me. Consuming me. It’s completely peaceful and so beautiful. I’m in love with this moment in time.

Ell. Oh. Vee. Eee.

Washington, Washington

It doesn’t matter what I’m doing or where I am, but all I have to do is watch this video and text my friend Blake a line from it and I’m laughing so hard it’s ridiculous.  I love having guy friends to do that with.  Of course I love my friends that are girls, but there are just some things that I find funny and/or obscure that girls just don’t get.  I’m so glad that I have guy friends to share this with.

PS – If you are a girl who finds this as hilarious as I do too then maybe we’re meant to be best good friends. =)

The plastic bag

Have you ever seen American Beauty??  You know the part where the guy had filmed the plastic bag just floating around in the whirlwind between buidings??  I witnessed that the other day.  I was leaving work and right outside there was this plastic bag just dancing on the breeze.  It was so beautiful I stopped caring that I was trying to get home and I stood there and just watched it until the breeze died and it fell and was once again just a piece of trash.  I smiled and walked away.  It was amazing.

The Nole

Seminole, Oklahoma.  Population: 6,899

 

The place I call home.  It’s strange that when I was there, growing up in the small town atmosphere, all I wanted to do was get out.  Just go somewhere and live out my dreams of living in a big city and becoming someone that no one knew I could be.  I wanted to go anywhere bigger than a town where when you went to drive around to “clear your head” you were at the place you left off within 5 minutes.

 

Now that I’m older and live in a larger city all I can do is wish that I was back there.  Back in that small comfortable little town that I still call home.  Because it is home.  It will always be home to me.

 

Seminole, or “The Nole” to those from there, is a place where I can go to get away from my troubles.  It’s a place where I don’t have to be doing anything and have the greatest time of my life.  It’s a place where I can sit around a bonfire with my closest friends and shoot the shit all night while listening to country music from somebody’s truck stereo.  It’s a place where I don’t have to be afraid that my twangy accent will slip when I talk.  There are no pretenses.  No one judges you when you show up in your t-shirt and jeans with muddy boots and worn out Carhartt on.  Because they understand.  It’s not a popularity contest.  You just have to sit there and just…be.