Nothing Worth Having Comes Easily

June 19th, 2017

Moving has to be one of the most stressful things to do in an adult’s life. You have to pack up everything you own, organize how to get it from one place to the next, find a new place to live, organize leaving your previous location and transferring all of your services; I could keep going on for a very VERY long time – but I won’t! What I mean to say is that it’s exhausting, and if you’re familiar with Be You. then you’re familiar with my journey to minimalism, so this has brought a whole new shade of shitty to the situation.

Even once you’ve given away most of your material items, or you think you have, you can’t really be sure until you have to move them. Once I started packing it hit me like a dump truck that I either had an obscene amount of stuff or, well, I guess I just had an obscene amount of stuff *sigh*. As a very organized and meticulous person I like to start the move-out process a full month, to month and a half, before I actually have to be anywhere. So this whole month I’ve just been basically throwing things away. It turns out that although I had given away a lot of my clothing I still have a ridiculous number of shoes and other miscellaneous items. It also turns out that I have literally kept every piece of paper I’ve ever been given or printed since 1912, so who really has room for all of that or a place to keep it properly organized?

I feel like most of this moving process isn’t just taking things from one location to another, but deciding what really matters to me. Again, I am faced with not what on the outside matters to me, but this time, what on the inside matters to me. It has turned out to be a completely different experience than when I was deciding which shirts said “Alexis” versus the ones that didn’t. I have to decide which parts of my life are important to me. Which things hold the most emotional and practical value? The question isn’t who do I want people to see me as on the outside, but who do I want to be on the inside? And some days I just don’t know, and I sit on the floor looking at everything out of its place and wish I could just go back and never begin the process. But if there’s one thing I have learned in what seems like the longest 23 years ever – with a sample size of 1 opinion – is that there is nothing in this life that’s worth having or achieving that isn’t, at least at the beginning, and most of the time even at the end, a monumental pain in the butt…And remembering this I continue on my journey. Until next time, my friends – Be You.

Unmasked

April 10th, 2017

This week has been a weird week for me. It seems like the past few weeks I’ve started to realize I’ve been wearing masks. Not literal masks, but through my clothing. I’ve been wearing what everyone else wanted to see me in. I was wearing things I was expected to wear, styles I was expected to like, but now since I’ve started selling all of my clothes I’m stuck. I’m left with things I truly love, but those things aren’t enough to make a full wardrobe. Many of them are basics: basic long-sleeves, basic crop tops, basic one pieces, basic flannels. Just basics. Everyone needs basics and everyone loves their basics, but no one, or very few, have a whole wardrobe of just basics, right?

So now I’m left with essentially rebuilding from the bottom. I’m faced with the task of deciding what I want people so see me as, and building a wardrobe that reflects that. I tried, previously, to use the Nordstrom money for work clothes, for my new graduate school position, but I’m still lost. I look at everything I used to throw into my shopping carts and no longer find myself in any of them. I’ve realized I don’t like frilly shirts. I don’t like things with crazy patterns. I don’t like floral designs. I’m not a huge fan of the off-the-shoulder. I don’t like short shorts. I don’t like boob revealing shirts. I don’t want those 3-quarter length pants everyone is wearing now. I don’t like peplums. I don’t want anything with a huge graphic on it. I don’t like most things, now that I’m making this list, and this isn’t even the whole list!

But I do like basics. I guess it’s weird. I went through a preppy stage. I had a punk stage. I was a hipster for a while. But now I’m starting from the beginning and all I want are basics. I just want white shirts in innovative shapes. I just want long blazers in neutral colors. I don’t want shorts that cling, but shorts that flow. I don’t want pants with designs, but neutral colors in a pioneering style.

I started this piece to talk about how I feel like I don’t know myself anymore, but I guess I do know myself. I do know what I want and what I want to see myself in. I am an understated person. I’m chill, but I have a bit of flare. I’m calm, but can be very sharp. As I write this I realize that’s the exact style I’ve described. I’m not lost. I just need to become comfortable again with doing what I want, and wearing what I want. I need to feel comfortable not doing what people expect, but doing what I love. I guess that’s all I’ve got to do – Until Next Time My Friends – Be You.

Underbudget

March 17th, 2017

Through one of my returns I managed to acquire about $400 in store credit. Usually I could blow through $400 like someone had just given me a quarter for a candy machine, but I used this moment to challenge myself. Usually I pick out everything I’ve ever wanted on the site and then dwindle it down to the few things I feel I really really enjoy. However, the things I end up wearing and the things I find pleasing to my eye are two completely different things a lot of the time. I now have a total of about 10 shirts, in my closet and about 200 ready to be sold. I know, I have a problem; I have completely and totally accepted it!

So through this exercise I began to try and separate the things I will really wear from the things I just think are fun. My goal was to become better acquainted with the things I love, versus the things I simply like. I was left with less than $200 in my basket and a face full of shock and confusion. This had never happened to me before – under budget. If there’s anyone you know in life that would not be under budget that person would be ME! This minimalist movement has really begun to change me, and this is the first time I’m really seeing it. I went from wanting and desiring everything to realizing it takes only a few things to really truly feel happy and satisfied. Surrounding myself with a bunch of things I like, be it people, clothing, objects, etc. just serves to fill a void. But to be surrounded by things I love gives me a chance to heal; feel real love and be loved by others!

It’s crazy how the most simple tasks, when seen under the light of minimalism, can teach you some of the most profound lessons.

Minimalism – Day 1

February 20th, 2017

I was looking at the pile on my couch in the living room of all the things I plan to sell and it hit me. This is really happening. I’m really doing this. My closets are becoming emptier by the day as I challenge myself with what I do and do not need. For a minute I felt like a little kid whose favorite toy had just been taken away. It’s hard to explain the real feeling, but it felt something like the true essence of greed. I had the urge to take everything and put them back on the hangers, restore everything to its original place. When I noticed that 4 of my items had already been bid on and were going to sell, I felt the same twinge. I didn’t want to let it go.

I think one of the hardest things about this processes is that I am essentially redefining myself by the most bare and real definitions. Neither the things that I own nor the clothes that I wear define me, but only the real person inside. It feels as though I’m naked, almost. What I wear tells you nothing now about who I am. What I own tells you very little about what I like. For the first time in my life I have to let my personality, my real personality speak for itself. I have to put myself out there and allow others to really get to know me. It’s actually a bit terrifying, if I’m being completely honest with you.

I’ve worked so hard to become the person I am today, but I never really had to show it. I could hide behind my clothing, or my preference of solitude, and be myself by myself. I could let other things speak for me, but now I’m forced to speak for myself. And not only an I completely exposed to others, but I’m 100% exposed to myself. I’m forced to see those greedy moments where I want to turn back. Those selfish moments where I want to keep just for the sake of keeping. I’m not faced with just the beautiful parts of me, but the ugly. I didn’t realize this practice would be so profound, but I’m ready and I’m staying the course!

The “Only What Brings Me Joy” Challenge

As you guys know, about a year ago, February 28th, I became a vegan. I gave up meats, dairy, and any products that were not plant-based. As I’ve embarked on this path it’s made me realize society has influenced our desire and subsequent need for material things. I successfully transitioned in one week from eating everything to eating only things produced by plants. Society tells us it’s unhealthy. Society tells us it shouldn’t be done and we need meat, dairy, and everything else mass-produced to live a healthy and successful life. But it’s just not true.

I have had my blood tested and gone to the doctor several times to make sure I am healthy, and have passed every test with flying colors. I, among countless others, have successfully debunked this myth that being vegan is not something humans were meant to do. Literature says that not being lactose intolerant is a genetic mutation that developed because human beings insisted on drinking cows milk. Cows milk is meant for baby cows, just like breast milk is meant for baby humans. We don’t drink breast milk once we grow-up, and cows don’t drink milk from other cows once they grow-up. It’s statistics like these that have engaged many in re-evaluating our ways of life and general consumption.

Big business has fooled us into thinking the only ways to get what we need are from foods and beverages that they provide. But now, with the world’s environment going to hell in a hand basket, to save the next generation we must do something different. This is no longer the time where you can say, “Well by the time this happens I’ll be dead,” because that is no longer true. Change needs to happen and it needs to happen now, and by us. We must take responsibility for our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren. We can change this world. We just have to realize it’s OURS, and no other generation’s responsibility to get the ball rolling.

Through becoming a vegan, and learning to cut out certain foods and supply myself with exactly what my body needs to be happy and healthy, I’ve also begun exploring this idea in other parts of my life. Minimalism is the idea that you only have what you need. You only buy what you absolutely love, and you only keep things that bring you true joy. I have, for a long time, had a love-hate relationship with clothing and fashion. Each year I find myself staring at my closet and wondering when is it going to be time for me to give this stuff away? A positive quality of mine is that I do keep things until I absolutely have to throw them away: they rip, or break, or are just plain unwearable. So, it’s not that I buy a lot, but I keep a lot. Over the last ten years I haven’t changed shoe size or height and have barely grown anywhere else. I still have jeans from freshman year of high school, because they still fit and I still love them. The problem is that 10 years worth of clothing, shoes, and accessories tends to add up. I have way more than I need or can even wear.

The Challenge

What I am challenging myself to do this year is to go through my closet once a month for the next 12 months and pick out at least 5 items that I no longer wear, and “no longer bring me joy” – As Gilmore Girls would say. Over the next year I should have given away at least 60 items in my closet.

I challenge you, ladies and gentleman, to declutter your lives as well. Provide both your body and your mind with only what makes you happy. Stop living by the societal norms that we are worth more the more we possess, and start living for you and what you enjoy. Find love and happiness within, and stop looking for it amongst other people and things. This year and every year to come are going to be the years where we change the world! They are going to be the years where we challenge both ourselves and others to just Be You. in both the happiest, healthiest, and most sustainable ways possible, so who’s with me!?