Friday, October 19, 2012

A Very Valiente Confrontation

I believe that confrontation, like constructive criticism, can be good for you, within reasonable limits. One time my Friend Whom I Will Call Raw Sugar said to me, "Maybe you could try to make your actions match your words." I seriously carry those words with me everywhere my heart goes. I like to read about self-improvement, growth, minimalism, and God and from time to time I am confronted with an area in which I could use some improvement.
This week I started reading a new blog called Miss Minimalist and I basically devoured the blog in an afternoon and really enjoyed reading the posts. There is one that I am still thinking through and I've been experienced a bit of confrontation and discomfort (in the form of cognitive dissonance) as I mull it over. The post is about Decluttering Your Fantasy Self. Here's a lil' snippet of the post that keeps rolling around in my head: All too often, we hold on to stuff because it represents who we think we should be, rather than who we are. Sometimes our fantasy selves are meant to impress others; sometimes they’re relics of our past; sometimes they’re fantasies about our future.
Oh, how the concept of authenticity and intentional living eluded me in my early 20's!!
My fantasy self is a freakin' bad ass who has good hair, clear skin, wears classic-but-stylish outfits, has a minimally-yet-stylishly-decorated apartment on the Upper West Side, stays abreast of changes within her career field, regularly entertains and makes hand-made thank you cards, cooks a variety of delicious meals for the husband to whom she regularly submits and (enter sexual reference here, omitted in case my mom reads this). She has a well diversified 401(k) and is already planning how to pay for her kids to go to college, because she is already in her second trimester but has only gained 8 pounds so she just looks cute but not fat. Oh and my fantasy self can eat gluten and dairy and has no problem moderating a reasonable intake of dried fruit and candy bars.
Frump Girl,
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The real me, the authentic me, is Frump Girl. Gluten-Intolerant, takes her jokes too far every.single.time, recently found out she though "gentrified" meant the opposite of what it actually means, constantly has to apologize to her husband for going too far, just ordered burgers for dinner for the fifth time this month, could write in the dust collecting on her never-used wine glasses. The real me really really really loves her job and really wishes she could be as good at it as the excellent people she works with. And the real me is definitely not pregnant.
Minimalism isn't a decorating style or a long list of things you CAN'T own. Minimalism, for me, is about living intentionally and proactively. It's about eliminating all the crap and clutter- physical, emotional, and mental. It's about setting goals and pursuing them instead of waiting for the waves of live to crash over me and wash things away. For me, it's about freedom.
It seems to me that I own a lot of things that I don't use. Things for entertaining, for example. If my Fantasy Self entertains regularly and my "real" self doesn't, that doesn't necessarily mean that I HAVE to get rid of those items. Wouldn't it be more fun and fulfilling to just start entertaining more and actually have friends over, fill my home with company and laughter, and happily serve my guests food displayed nicely? 
I think this will be on my mind for awhile. Intentional living... authenticity... simplicity... wine glasses.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The One Thing I Regret

My mother tells me, from time to time, not to get too crazy with purging because I may really, really regret getting rid of something. The one and only thing I have regretted purging over the last 5 years has been my Topsy Turvy. I am not even kidding- I really, really wished I hadn't gotten rid of this- but not until it had been gone for about 7 years. Luckily, I found a new one at Target last week for $5.99 and didn't think twice about buying it. Since then, I have turved my topsy three times. It makes my pony tail and unwashed-for-three-days hair feel classy and glamorous. Dressy, even.
So, minimalism. I go back and forth about this idea. It seems so charming and elusive. And by that I mean I'm afraid someone will judge me if I tell them I am a minimalist and still own Snoopy Figurines. I'm obviously not comfortable labelling myself as such.
I found a new-to-me blog called Becoming Minimalist and I've been reading through the archives. The writer is a pretty down-to-earth guy, which I prefer to the confrontational-minimalist that I normally picture. Reading the archives gave me a bit of motivation to look around my home and purge, just a little. The Yankee is laid up with a cold and a good cold front came through on Saturday night, so it was a low-key weekend- perfect for a lil' cleaning and a lil' purging. When I purge, I always ALWAYS remind myself of the golden rule for minimalizing successfully when your partner is not a minimalist: do not purge your partner's items. Don't do it- seriously, don't. It's not nice and won't be  appreciated. I won't be doing anything but pissing off my husband by getting rid of his stuff.
Here are the items leaving my home tomorrow:
  • The textbook I used in my high school French Class
  • The workbook and CD's I used in my college French Class
  • The prayer journal with five entries in it
  • Three magazines
  • Three cook books
  • Five elementary-level chapter books
  • A box of Emergen-C that my cousin left when she moved in for a month
  • Five coasters
  • One wobbly, chipped, scratched side-table-ish thing
  • A large mound of recyclable paper
  • One red shirt that I have owned for over 4 years and literally never worn
I can write and write and write about my quest to declutter, unclutter, purge, clean, organize, and get the crap out of my home, but I'm not sure anyone would stay tuned long enough- it would definitely be longer than four paragraphs. I wonder if, when I am pregnant, I will have reverse nesting and really REALLY start throwing things way and be left with six articles of clothing.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Very Valiente Book Review

"Need a bit more simple in your life but unsure where to start? "

Last month I was a aprt of a book launch team for Simple Living – 30 days to less stuff and more life. This book was written by a blogger I like, Lorilee Lippincott, who write Loving Simple Living.
Lorilee and her family practice minimalism, which I admire and desire. Even if minimalism isn't exactly your goal, this is  still a great book for anyone who wants to pare down and simplify. if minimalism IS your goal, first, please email me because I really want to talk to you; second, this is a great resource for really assessing why you own what you own and why you choose what you choose. It's a 30 day primer with practical ideas for streamlining and organizing. This is not FlyLady, whom I do love, and Lorilee even states that this is not a book for housecleaning. It's more like a book for putting away, giving away, clearing away. It's not a "get rid of all your stuff and you'll be happy"; it's an "I tried this and it worked and here's why it made me happy." The book gives you a small job to do for 30 days- things like clearing your counters and creating a system to make donating/purging things easy to do.
The book is $2.99 on Amazon for Kindle and you can buy it in PDF format if you have a nook (I do) or don't own an e-reader. How stinkin' great is that price?! $2.99! That's less than a latte (btw, have you tried the salted caramel mocha from Starbucks? Because it's fantastic).
Take a look, give it a read- I think you're really going to like the ideas.