I was married for 17 years. It was during this time that I started becoming interested in minimalism. It was at this time that I started giving stuff away. I would give away dishes. I would give away curtains. Pillows. Throws. Christmas decorations. Rugs. Dining room sets. I even gave away my mom and dad’s couches.
I threw away clothes and shoes and belts and purses. I tossed all my high school dance pictures. I chucked all my yearbooks. In childhood and throughout those years, I often would write in a journal. Those are gone too. I tore them up and dumped them into the garbage. In fact even today…I will write in my journal…get all my thoughts out. Then….a few days later, I will tear those pages out and get rid of them.
It is very possible that this blog will cease to exist in about 3 months.
Whenever I look back on what I wrote…I am always embarrassed. I am embarrassed that I cared about this thing or fretted over that thing. I am embarrassed to have felt this way or that way…to have been excited about something or the other. I am embarrassed and ashamed of me.
So, I toss things that are…..part of….created by…..purchased by…..written by….me.
I don’t have yearbooks because I am a minimalist. I am a minimalist because I get rid of things because I am ashamed.
So during my 17 years of marriage. I changed my rooms around weekly. I tossed out things and gave things away.
My husband, on the other hand, would buy things. He accumulated stuff. Not hoarding, not even clutter, but stuff that took all his time to maintain and care for them.
Dirt bikes for the kids
A big yard for his riding mower…a riding mower that had snow blowing attachments. A riding mower/snowblower that he loved to use to help all 10 houses on our street with their grass/driveways each weekend.
A big garden with lots of fresh vegetables that he was constantly weeding
Tools (he bought some new tool almost every week) to maintain all the aforementioned stuf and putter around our big yard and garden and the yards and gardens of our neighbors.
All this time, I would ask my husband to stop buying stuff. I would ask him to stop fixing stuff. I would ask him to stop puttering. I would ask him to come inside and sit down and talk to me. Just visit. Current events, debate, people, plan vacations…anything. Talk about anything.
But he was always too busy with his stuff.
So…I started getting rid of stuff.
Mind you…I never got rid of his stuff. It was his…it belonged to him.
I got rid of “my” stuff.
I started changing rooms around every week. Always trying to make the room look better. Different. Because it wasn’t right. Then I started taking away accessories. Who needs a vase? Or moss balls in a bowl? Just more stuff to dust. Then I started taking away lamps. There was an overhead light and a window. That was enough light. Then rugs. There was a floor underneath that I had to keep clean too.
I started getting rid of stuff. All this stuff until all the rooms of my house had just the bare basics. A bed to sleep on in the bedroom and maybe an end table.
A couch and chair in the living room
A dining table.
I kept getting rid of stuff.
Do you know why I kept getting rid of stuff?
Because if everything was gone, the only thing left in the room would be me.
He would have to notice me then, wouldn’t he?
He would have to pay attention to me then.
If there is no chair, at least he would ask me where he was going to sit.
If there is nothing in the room….then he would look at me. He would pay attention to me.
So am I truly a minimalist? Did I find the minimalist lifestyle because it is the lifestyle that spoke most to my soul?
Probably not. It is the lifestyle that found me…it is probably the only way I feel I can exist…be seen….if there is absolutely nothing else around me.