No More Stuff

In the last several months I’ve become hooked on minimalism.

I’ve always loved travelling and having experiences, and whatever stuff I collect have to be unique to those experiences.

However, over the years, I’ve kept a hold of a lot of things for various reasons. Some, for sentimental reasons, some because I believed they would eventually be useful, and others because I would feel bad about throwing them away even if they were broken because I felt it would be wasteful.

Then, it all came to a head.

One morning, I had been especially stressed. I’d had multiple flip outs the past week, I couldn’t seem to make any head way in unpacking and putting together our house. It had been a good six months already and we were still drowning in things without a “home” that just cluttered every surface we had. The stuff was an ever present mental trigger for me, and it would send me into spirals of anxiety attacks and freak outs.

So on this particular day, I was tired, frustrated, and so incredibly done with working hard all day and accomplishing nothing but shifting piles of belongings from one space to another. That was when I came to the realization… I didn’t need all of it. I didn’t have to keep the stuff. If I wasn’t able to clean my house in one day and have everything put away in that time, I had too much stuff.

I didn’t broach this new discovery with my husband until we were in the car the next day. He agreed with me right away, and I grabbed a hold of this new found plan we agreed upon to half our possessions and began what I do best when hooked on a new project or goal. I researched it.

I looked up videos on youtube, documentaries on Netflix, books at the library. I dove in with an absolute passion. This idea of not owning a lot, and what we would own would only be things we truly loved or used on a regular basis, was inspiring to me.

I was not raised to have an obsessive need for stuff, I did not grow up with a “if I want it I need it so I’ll buy it” mentality. I was raised with a buy secondhand, recognize a good deal, and waste not want not mentality. But I found that I hadn’t come to a balancing point between spending little, saving what’s useful, and being able to recognize when things are no longer useful, will never be useful, or that it’s not a good deal if you don’t need it.

I especially struggle with this because my husband and I are in a constant struggle of making enough. We have variable incomes, both going to school, so it’s really tight almost constantly, and it’s so hard not to splurge on some things we “need” for the house on a month we make a decent amount. Especially if it’s also on sale.

You may recognize the term minimalism from all the hype and hoopla lately. Between Marie Kondo, The Minimalists, and the Tiny House movement, the term has gained a lot of attention in a very short amount of time.

The first thing to realize about minimalism is it has a lot of different meanings, and therefore is a very personal term that means something different to everyone.

For some, it is white walls, three chairs, a table, and not much else.

For others, it’s replacing cluttered space full of heavy curtains and Knick knacks with open concept and shelves, and green living plants in the corners.

For some it’s about focusing on the hobbies and not the supplies, for others coming closer to nature and experiences versus collecting.

For me and my husband, it’s first and foremost a survival thing I think.

We got to this point because the amount of stuff we had and were trying to house in our small two bedroom (technically three, but third bedroom is an office, so…) was in-housable and giving me mental fits and anxiety attacks.

It started as survival because the stuff that was supposed to help us survive was destroying me mentally, and this had a range of negative impacts on the rest of our lives.

So I told my husband one day,

“If I spend an entire day cleaning, and by the end it’s not clean, than we have too much stuff.”

He readily agreed.

Since that day, we’ve made at least 5 full car trips to salvation army, pitched an extra 6 bags of trash not including our everyday kitchen/bathroom trash, and have finally gotten to a manageable amount of belongings.

I don’t dare to dream this is it. Just this week I’ve once again purged my makeup and such to half its size. This will most certainly be an on going thing.

However, it no longer has to be an everyday thing. Now I can enjoy my home, and enjoy tweaking the “homes” of my belongings, playing with décor, and just enjoying actually being home without the weight of stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Why Can’t I Write?

I once wrote in a journal of mine that “Happy people don’t write in journals”. I stand by this statement. I’ve only ever been able to write about my life when I couldn’t stand it. The worse my life was, the more devoted  I was to recording my pain.

I have no idea if this is also applicable to my creative writing, all I know is I can’t get a single word out. I have at least one story idea, but no real motivation to write it right now. Any other stories I’ve previously had have fled to parts of my mind unknown, and seemingly unreachable.

I love writing.

It’s such am amazing feeling, weaving together words into something other people can actually experience.

But the thing about any artistry composed entirely of words is that they become real only through the unbridled and raw emotions that the author inserts into the narrative, echoes of their own emotional turmoil.

Maybe this is then the answer as to why I can find no ability to write.

I’ve lived through a variety of emotional lows and highs.

I’ve spent at least half a year in the throes of depression, and other months I’m happier than a baby with his favorite toy.

But when I sit and try to write I feel as dry as an unused ink well.

I feel, in every sense of the word, nothing.

I miss writing.

 

 

The Freedom to Call this Whatever I Want, and Other Points of Amendment #1

Typically I try not to adress extremely political issues, but then I realized that I am an extremely politically minded person and NOT addressing these issues bothered me more then potentially offending someone.

So here it goes.

This weekend is the almost perfect embodiement of an American Summer. BBQs outside, fireworks, parades, outdoor fun and down home patriotic celebratin’.

However, this year, there are certain groups and individuals who, rather then taking the time to honor this time of year and and this Great Land of Freedom which Men and Women have Lived and Died to protect, they see fit to attack and take advantage of what they do have while gripping and straight out vocally assaulting others because of what they don’t.

The first issue I’m going to address, one that has been tossed about so freely I’m not sure who actually knows what it means anymore…

The first amendment of the United States.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – Bill of Rights

If you actually read it and look at the words themselves, what do they say?

The first part of the amendment actually makes no mention of “freedom of speech” which is what this particularly amendment has been immortilized as protecting (which it does, just later on).

Actually, it first addresses religious freedom. It has two main points. One, that congress will make no Law respecting an Establishment of religion. Look carefully at those capitilized words. It does not prohibit congress from Practicing religion, only Establishing their own. If anyone has seen Purge: Election day, basically what they did there was unconsitional because they created their own religion based around the Purge, which they made into law. The second part is that they can not prohibit the Free Excercise thereof. This has been a major issue in recent years, especially following the passing of the Affordable Care Act which infringed on the religious rights of many individuals.

Now, the third point of the amendment.

Where to begin with this one.

I have a right to speak freely. I do not have a right to threaten to murder someone (this is actually illegal, yes), or convince them to commit suicide when they are mentally unstable.

You have a right to speak freely, same as me. You have the right to tell me you are offended by what I say, and I have the right to freely ignore you because offending someone is not illegal.  Let me say that again for the back. “Offending Someone Is NOT Illegal.”

The same goes for the press, except things are slightly more complicated. The press have certain obligations in communication that surpasses what little me has. They are expected to provide truthful coverage of major news stories, yet they have to do this while remaining non-biased and without comprimising any military actions that could affect national security or endanger American lives.

The press corp is kind of screwed up these days.

Now, the freedom to peacably assemble.

People tend to forget that pesky little “peacably” that kind of implies you don’t actually DO anything. No flipping cars, no physical assaults, no fire bombing cars or shops. That is criminal activity.

“But it falls under freedom of speech!” No, not really. Freedom of speech says the government will not restrict your speech, it does not mean you can go around burning cars, and flags, and assaulting people. Again, this is criminal activity because it goes against acting with human decency as well as disregards respect of life, liberty, and property for anyone else’s but yours.

None of these violent actions fall under “freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances” either. Call your congressmen.

Having taken a semi-close look at the first amendment (I reccomend a full course of study on the constitution however) I would like to bring up a story I read recently, the bulk of which occured a month ago.

I would like to speak on one Holly O’Reilly.

Apprantly, and she openly admitted this because it was her own writing I was reading, she would actively troll the President on twitter. Anytime he posted, she would post rude and insulting comment back. Then one day, she finds out that the President blocked her on social media, along with dozens of other people who like her would post derogatory comments.

This she believes is an enroachment on her 1st amendment right. O’Reilly alleges that “How could the president systematically block dozens of people who simply didn’t agree with him? This is an elected official trying to silence an entire sector of the dissenting populace. This is what dictators and fascists do. This isn’t what we do here in America.”

Sweetie, he blocked you on twitter, he didn’t send the FBI to your house. What he did was what any human being who was being harrased over the internet would do.

Another reason it does not go against your constitutional rights is because he didn’t make a law that you couldn’t post on twitter at all, he didn’t make a law to confiscate your computer and phone. He blocked you. You are still free to say whatever you legally would like to on any other plateform, including the Washington Post, you just can’t say it on his twitter account. (BTW, as a side note, since when is this kind of behavior in regards to communicating with elected officials considered admirable, when if high schoolers do it it’s considered cyber bullying? Think about it).

So you and the dozens of other people he blocked can go about your days and respond to the President’s actions on your own pages knowing you are still perfectly free to do so. Just as I am perfectly free to block you if you post anything insulting about me on my twitter (which I don’t actually have, but if I did…).

Not to mention, he was acting as an individual, not as the government as a whole. Congress did not have a special session to discuss blocking you.

People tend to forget that while the President is the Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces, and the leader of various government groups, he does not write the laws and he does not sit on the court to decide what is constitutional. Congress writes laws that the president will sign or not sign. Congress writes the budget, the President can communicate with them about what he would like to see done, but they are under no obligation to do any of it. And of course the Supreme Court can undo any law made if it is found to be unconstitutional.

Therefore, when you read the constitution, understand that they say “Government” not “President” not “Speaker of the House”. The government as a whole can not pass any laws that represses 1. Freedom of religion 2. Freedom of speech 3. Freedom of the press 4. Freedom of assembly

And 5, the freedom for an individual to block a harrassing troll on their social media.

Happy Fourth of July

What To Do

So my attempt at keeping a regular posting schedule died an inglorious death of rotting away and falling deep into the floorboard cracks of my forgotten little online home.

Oh well

Today I realized I have no idea in hell what I want to do.

I have a ridiculously long list of things I SHOULD do.

Call my new parish about registering as parishioners, call my marriage prep councilor, plan wedding, make hair appointments.

But guess what, surprise surprise, I don’t want to do any of it.

Which makes me wonder how do we distinguish what we have to do, what’s actually worth doing especially when we don’t want to do it, from what we just think we have to do.

Now, the majority of my list is actually pretty important stuff with a fast approaching deadline. But, it’s not an IMMEDIATE deadline…

I know, this is just sounding like a lazy 20 year old trying to justify her procrastination right?

Well guess what, my procrastination in the past has worked fairly well. Whether or not this is because of an over exhausted angel that probably would like to strangle my stupid neck for being, well, stupid if they weren’t so angelic., or perhaps a time set by God that I was supposed to being doing exactly that, I suppose I’ll never know.

But that is my question today.

When is it lazy procrastination, and when is it God simply trying to let you know “Hey, this isn’t meant for you right now. Do something else with your time, this will come later.”

I mean there is a precedence.

Remember Abraham?

God promised him that he would be the father of nations. And then made him wait for decades until he was very much an old man before bringing that about.

It was so long after this promise had been given that Sarah his wife laughed when she heard the angels who came to Abraham tell him she would bear a son. She laughed at God’s message because, quite frankly, it was coming very late and sounded down right ridiculous at that point in time.

Before all this though, Abraham tried to fulfill God’s prophecy of fathering nations himself, and had a son with his wife’s handmaid. Of course, this was Sarah’s idea, one she’d later regret as I remember the story. That all went very badly very quickly. God clearly had a set time in mind at which Abraham would have Isaac, and that was not a near future plan.

So what if when we feel really anxious or stressed about something, it’s not us that’s the problem? I’m not saying this is true for all times that are stressful. Some you do have to push through, but what if occasionally that little whisper we think is temptation telling us to put things off, is actually a gentle message from God saying “Wait for me”?

Is there a way we can tell the difference?

I haven’t the faintest clue, but boy I wish I did.

Today I am going to take it as a message from God that I’m supposed to relax, tomorrow I’ll work.

There’s an old saying that everything has its season.

I get a feeling today wedding planning is not my number one priority.

But now that makes me wonder what is.

What am I supposed to be doing?

 

 

 

 

 

Me First

This has been a really hard and new year for me. To be honest it been the year of “new”.

New life goals, new life, new home… lots of new.

Though some things seem to have fallen perfectly into place, others have been a series of trials and error.

In this time of experimentation and learning, I’ve learned a very important lesson.

Me. First.

I was recently working a really crappy job for less then minimum wage, on top of wedding planning, school, and a special physical condition.

I thought I could handle it, I needed money so I was convinced that working was my only option as I tried to juggle all these other commitments.

I was constantly stressed. wedding planning wasn’t getting done, I couldn’t concentrate on school, I felt like an outsider at work most days. My fiancé and my mother were constantly telling me to rest, and not to stress. They even tried to get me approval for a medical leave my health was suffering so much from this one stupid job.

In the end, I quit.

And it wasn’t until after that I realized I was a whole lot happier.

I was still busy with school and finals, and I still had an entire wedding to plan.

But I was a lot less stressed.

More importantly, I was happy.

I am so much happier.

And so I learned, with all the ups and downs my life has taken, I need to be happy.

I don’t have to rely on someone else or for the right circumstances, I need to make myself happy.

Even if it means giving up the extra $400 a month I was making, the money we’ll probably save on medications, both mental and physical, and just how much easier and nicer life is now that I can enjoy it again I think will make up the difference…

So this is my advice.

Put you first. Your health and your happiness.

Sometimes that may not be completely feasible, I know… but just find something, some small thing to make the days brighter and life a little more pleasant.

Nonsense

 

Down to the Water I go again

Hoping to wash my sins again

Hoping I’ll finally be spotless

 

But lo the line is long

The water running low

I receive glares instead of sympathy

 

I tremble and hide

In the bushes hide

And feel invisible to all

 

I am not welcome here

The others make that clear

So I slip away silently alone

 

Why do they scorn me?

Why do they dispel me

Out into the cold and the dark?

 

I look at my hands

see nothing but red

and the rags I wear are dark

 

Is it the colors they hate?

The appearance they hate?

No, I saw others darker than I

 

I don’t belong here

This pond is not mine

My eyes become falls and I’m blind

 

I hear a soft noise

A calming noise

I look up and see above me a lamb

 

It’s soft white wool

It’s little felt ears

and eyes that look into mine

 

It turns its tail

Its little white tail

And clambers up a rocky trail

 

I follow it slowly

Tired and worn

I have no where else to turn.

 

Then at the hilltop

I stand on the hilltop

And feel a playful breeze

 

I look down at a valley

Full of strangers I know

And it is here that I belong

Dealing With Pain

I never really suffered from grief as deeply as other members of my family. Death has just seemed a natural part of life. I miss people who die, of course, but I’ve never felt severe depression or grief because of death.

Loneliness is my pain.

I don’t mean being at home alone, or out somewhere by myself. I like my quiet moments alone, and goodness knows I have very few of those now and in future will have hardly any at all.

I mean loneliness as it deals with the isolation of a soul. Feeling like you have no one with you or to talk to or who you can share things with.

Loneliness as it is when you have no friends, no one who likes you or likes spending time with you.

When I was little I didn’t have a lot of close friends. We’d move a lot, and often lived a ways away from other homeschoolers or parish members.

But there were people who’d talk to me.

There weren’t exactly no cliques, but they were more like people who just knew each other really well but could still socialize with other people outside their small group. They knew how to be nice to everyone, even if they knew only a select few people really really well.

Now, no one talks to me.

I have two very close friends, one of which I’m beyond happy to call my fiancé.

But here, where I live and the places I go. Church, school, work, Friday nights I’m free… I have no one.

After church on Donut Sundays I sit in the basement with my donut and my juice or milk and watch the little kids run and play, the adults talk and mingle at table after table, and the young adults get in their small groups, heads together, discussing things only their group knows, things only they understand. No outsiders allowed.

At school all the kids know each other already. They’ve all been at this particular school for years, possibly went to high school together. I’m the weird transfer student who missed friend making year and the intro classes. Those who are older and returning to school don’t really care about making friends with the tiny college students ten years young than they. They have jobs, businesses, families, their own circles.

Who am I supposed to talk to?

Am I supposed to talk to someone?

Well, I’d like to… I’m not a crazy social person, but there are days I feel an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. A feeling of not belonging.

I have no one, and no activities or clubs here that I can enjoy and make me feel like I’m a part of something.

There’s so many things out there, so many medications for grief, counseling options…

What do you do when you’re only a twenty-something and feel more like an abandoned grandma whose kids never visit and the community thinks is an anti-social nutcase?