I love minimalism. I love everything about the concepts and the ideas of it. I enjoy doing it. Living with less - consciously- with gratitude. This is written mostly in response to a woman who asked me "What is this minimalism thing you're talking about?"
Minimalism is basically- Doing with less. Not substituting THINGS for our true inner desires. Not SHOPPING to stifle our VOICES or our NEEDS. Not cramming our houses and our shelves full to avoid LISTENING to our fears and wants.
Some of my very favorite bloggers are found on twitter as well - and whom I read daily. David Damron (daviddamron)
Everett Bogue, (@evbogue), Karol Gajda (@KarolGajda) are all powerful and beautiful and amazing writers. I adore them. They each offer amazing insight. There are many more as well - but these are the three that I read on a daily basis. The rest I generally read on a weekly or less frequent basis.
I also frequently DISAGREE with these guys. I do NOT LIKE some of their judgementS or their MYOPIC views or neglect at seeing how sometimes life gives you confusion, burdens, or an inability to TRULY streamline. (Medical needs are anything but streamlined). OLD AGE, families, sometimes you can have a true peace in your heart - but your life will be a cluster fuck. And that is NOT YOUR FAULT. You deal with it with good humor, grace, love, and TRUST that life will go one. The trees will shed their leaves and flower again. I've read far too many judgements (at themselves and others) to truly think there is ONLY ONE WAY OR ONE TRUTH. And yet-- I fucking adore these guys. I think THEY and others like them offer the world a wonderful way to live - a different way... a new concept many have never considered... unplugging, decompressing, chilling the fuck out. Making real life friends, having REAL CONVERSATIONS. Being alive.
Last night when I was UPSET - I wrote about it in my writers area. I just cried and wrote. And I accepted some of your love. And I was grateful. Then i went to sleep. I LISTENED to my inner demons. I spent TIME with it. I didn't eat it away or shop it away or even really TALK it away. I just LISTENED to my fears of being not good enough, being too much, being all the "blah blah blah" that comes up.
And it is that BLAH BLAH BLAH that the commercialism of our world latches on to - and we do too - we hook line and sinker it. "ohh- what if I am ugly- " and snap - we buy it! "Ohh - I'll DIE if I don't fit in"- and we get more more more of whatever it is we think will shove down all those horrific feelings. Sometimes we do it with food or all the different ways we can do excess.
Anger, rage, pain, self-loathing, shopping, consumerism, television watching, sports, online spending- all the mind numbing ways we can CHECK OUT - we do.
And yet-- one thing that some of the leaders of minimalism forget - is that for some of us- online time IS our connection. For me - I spend more time online because my outside community time dwindles. I USED to spend lots of time volunteering. I USED to have plenty of time to go to children's hospitals and nursing homes and to make food for the poor and distribute it. That was IN ADDITION to my neighborhood building and my job. But as my health deteriorated - online BECAME my community.
I now have "my lupie sisters" and my "poop shoot people" and "my cancer warriors" and any number of chronic health support groups who SUPPORT AND UPHOLD each other with phone calls and online twitters, e-mails, IM's, skype. We use social media like Facebook and blogs to talk about our day. Sometimes for the FIRST TIME our great losses are the first and only time our truth has been heard by ANYONE AT ALL. And sometimes our loss seems less horrific and can only now seem to make sense.
I once wrote to one of my minimalist hero's - and asked him about being ill. And he said something like, "Well - you then just get to focus on being well." And I thought - FUCK THAT SMACK -- I CAN DO MORE THAN THAT. I will BUILD MY COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE HERE. Online. I will have a family of choice just as surely as I had one on "real life flesh and blood."
Most of the miniamlism bloggers are MEN. Notice it. The women seem to be DOING THE WORK. They are gardening, sewing, making things from scratch. And the MEN are writing about it - telling people to do it. Following each other. And that is OK. It is often how it goes. I'm a sexuality and gender scholar. When the HIV/AID's quilt came out it was the feminist lesbian/queer women who sewed most of it. Did you know that? IT WAS THE WOMEN WHO DID MOST OF THE WORK. I am not bitching. Just pointing it out.
It is still so. They refuse to add people to their twitter - saying, "I am MINIMIZING MY LIFE." AND THAT IS OK. I do something SIMILAR. I only ad cautiously - for RELATIONSHIP REASONS. I only ad with people who speak to me and get to know me. And then one by one - we talk more and more- and I KNOW YOU. I TRULY GET TO KNOW MY TWITTER FRIENDS. Soon we ad phone conversations and outside support. We cry to each other. We laugh with each other. We know about surgeries and deaths and cancers and illnesses and ER visits. WE ARE STRONG FOR EACH OTHER when days are weak and we are vulnerable for each other because there is TRUST.
It is a REAL COMMUNITY. It TRUST YOU. I do. I don't "need" followers. I am not SELLING ANYTHING BUT MY LOVE AND MY TRUTH. And I don't want anything in return but that.
And I think that is MINIMALISM IN MY OWN WAY.
That is something that the young men of the minimalism movement has forgotten to discuss. Be grateful for your able bodied ability to move around the country. You aren't on dialysis. You aren't fighting cancers and illnesses like some of us. We fight being the "polluted and polluting" -- people hate us. Even our own families cringe at the sight of us. Our former friends are uncomfortable around us and we are forced to come to terms with WHO ARE ARE NOW.
We must hold on to our dignity and our love and our sanity. We must make SENSE of our lives. And THAT is what minimalism is about really. Finding balance, truth, honesty, claiming our OWN TRUE SELVES. LISTENING TO OUR HEARTS and not what someone tells us. Instead of just commercials and our own fears - we also have doctors and healthcare providers shouting at us - telling us "you are dying - your body has betrayed you"... and we have our spouses leaving us telling us, "You stink of death."
And we must go deep inside - DEEP INSIDE and come with the REAL TRUTH -- which is -- we are all divine - we are all beautiful. There is no ugly. And sometimes you bloggers - I love you for giving people options. I fucking ADORE YOU. And sometimes I want to snap you in half for getting so FOCUSED on your lives that you FORGET GRATITUDE. You forget that you have ABILITIES. You forget that you HAVE OPTIONS that some of us have lost.
I struggled with this for some time. And I have decided that I still adore you - because you offer answers to the world. You offer hope to some people who are still lost. And I realize that you would come to my house and sniff with disdain some days. I can no longer garden or dry my own herbs. Some days I am so sick I must eat *gasp* PREPACKAGED ORGANIC FOODS. I make more waste in one day using bottled pills and medications and foods and health care supplies than most of you do in two months. And yet in my heart - I DARE any of you to tell me that my LOVE or my GRATITUDE or my HEART CENTERED DESIRE FOR PEACE AND JOY is any less whole.
Nay-- I think we are all on the same path - it just leads to the mountain differently. We are all looking at the same beautiful horizon my minimalist friends. I'll just make more rubbish along the way with needles and tubes and plastic pre-packaged medical kits. And when we get there - I will be fucking happy to see you. I call you friend. I call you GOOD.
I also call you TOO FUCKING SERIOUS. Sheesh - let your fucking hair down once in a while. Life - I PROMISE YOU - is too mother fucking short. And you NEVER KNOW when a doctor will come into your room and tell you - "You have this dread pirates disease I'll give you some long ass name and nothing will ever be the same." And then you will NOT be able to couch surf or live anywhere. You will be STUCK with doctors and hospitals and people who take care of you and monitor your health. And then you will have to RE-FIND your minimalism. And you will have to say, "Ahhh- life - you are so funny. Thank you for your lessons."
And you can CHOOSE to keep going and LOVING and making SUPPORTIVE community. Or you can be a selfish whore. Or - you can find balance in life and just go at it every day - LISTENING to your true innerself and knowing that WE ARE ALL ENOUGH. We are. The greatest gift you can give the world is to be ALL OF WHO YOU ARE.