I was looking at this project as a decluttering (which it is, let’s be honest.) But when I started questioning the aesthetics—I hate bare walls, bare space—I decided to do some research into why other people minimalize. I know a big part of why I’m doing this is mold: I need to clean every surface, every object constantly to keep mold at bay, which means less is the key to my survival. But at the same time, I’ve been realizing a lot of the things I’ve been holding onto isn’t because I value them, but because I’m afraid to be without them.
This is the survivor hoarding mentality left over from my PTSD brain and I think it saw a mild resurgence when the mold took over my room and I found myself living out of the car. In one breath, I realized all I needed was so little to survive, but in the next breath was this fear to lose anything was to never get it back. I didn’t need it but I might never get it back! @[email protected] How funny the mind when we’re in crisis.
So, after a little research, these are some interesting reasons other people declutter. A big one is to remove decision fatigue from their homes! Like, no choosing a million outfits or meals to eat or notebooks to write in or bags to use. There’s a few options or only one, and it’s enough. I have to say, I love this idea cuz I was always the weird kid who wanted to wear the same clothes every day… and I’m the weird adult who wears the same 5 or so outfits a month. I don’t think of it as decision fatigue so much as knowing what I like and being comfortable in it though. It takes a certain number of holes for me to throw an old outfit out, which this week I’m working on to just get anything damaged or doesn’t fit or isn’t comfortable thrown out or donated.
Another reason people minimalize that really struck a cord with me is mindfulness. Being surrounded by things you value, and removing the things you don’t. Not only in your house, but in your entire life. That’s something I want. I want to be present in my life enough to appreciate what I have, and be grateful to have the space between those little joys and values instead of cluttering it up with stuff I don’t value. I’ve been doing this a lot mentally. it’s just been difficult to actually remove those unvalued things from my space. Again, it’s that survivalist mentality of ‘omg, what if I need 10 mason jars with no matching lids some time in the future? This has a purpose, a reasonable, useful purpose, and I must hoard!
Lol, right now everything feels like decision fatigue of what to keep. I threw out a giant pile of old coats last night along with empty bags/backpacks and a pile of scarves that we were holding onto just in case. Just in case we need a musty, worn out jacket instead of the ones we have that actually fit. Just in case we want a bag that has so many holes, it probably wouldn’t be useful anyways. We buy everything second hand already, and then wear it out to the point of destruction, and yet, it’s so hard to let go. It amazes me the perspective PTSD creates that makes you cling to useless shit because of this fear of never being able to get it back. It’s a clinging to an idea of security (security being a total illusion) instead of seeing reality as it is.
If I could literally throw away my mailbox and never get another piece of useless mail again, you would not even understand the joy I would feel. I am so done with mail. It’s wasteful and it clutters every fucking surface of my house. We got a shredder for the mail like a year ago, but we get so much mail and refuse to sort it that it piles up and shredding becomes this giant ordeal that no one wants to do. I need to find a mail solution for peace of mind.
The hardest thing to minimalize has been my art books. Well, actually, it’s been very easy because they’ve all been infested with mold and I can’t go near them. :/ But on an emotional level, it’s been difficult. I value art. I think I value other artists’ art beyond just the beauty they create, but also the creative spirit it inspires within me. Art has saved my life in so many ways, and it has brought value to the life I live. I want to be surrounded by art all the time, but the mold situation has made it near impossible (unless I want to start painting on metal… which I’ve made a few pieces, actually…)
I think I’ve come up with a solution for the books, at least. I don’t want to give the books away or sell them for fear this mold will hurt other households, but what I can do is scan/photograph the books and have the digital files display on one of those photo frame monitors. That way not only are the images preserved but they’re actually being viewed instead of being hidden away in the books.
As much as I loved those art books, I didn’t open them much. I didn’t find the time. There was comfort to have them there, to know creative worlds were there the moment I needed them, but was I really valuing them when I wasn’t looking at them? These have been cool questions I’m asking about a lot of these ‘things’ around me as I take on this project. What do I really value as a person, and how do I reflect that in the items I choose to have around me and in how I live my life? Figuring out these answers is really eye opening, and makes me feel more at peace with less doubts or indecision or fear. When I understand I’m clinging to things not because I’m valuing them but because I’m afraid to be without, it’s far easier to face that fear and let it go so I can appreciate what I do value.
In the end, they’re just things. The people in my life, the cats currently cuddle up with me as I type cuz it’s rainy out, and the creation of joy and happy memories are what I want my home to be about. I think it’ll be easier to focus on that when there are less things cluttering it all up.
(…But seriously, can I throw the mailbox out? O_o)
You cannot decide the consent of someone else–that is the whole problem with rape. When you ignore the words of someone who says they didn’t consent, you are in the same sense committing the crime of ignoring their rights to consent, their rights to their body, their rights to their safety. No one consents to rape, that’s why it’s called rape. By ignoring that lack of consent as a public, we are raping every victim once again by saying they don’t get to decide the fate of their bodies.
No one gets to decide consent for someone else, because that alone is their right to have. When you decide for someone else, you are stealing their power away and oppressing them. Women are not weak victims and we have a right to own our bodies. Stop taking our rights away.
Ugh, so scene 14 is still slogging along. It feels so stiff and forced. I can’t wait to get my flow back. I was stung by a bee today and ended up with a giant welt on my back, bright red and two inches all around. I guess that means I’m allergic on some sort of level because they want me to carry around an epipen for anaphylactic shock just in case now. I think the whole ordeal wiped me out cuz I’m still dragging. But vacuuming the house–okay, like a room. Half the kitchen cuz it kicked my ass, but it counts, my fuck–has helped my spirits a lot. I might finally be gaining ground on this mold infestation. Very exciting.
I keep thinking I want to move somewhere terribly cold where nothing grows including mold. I would be so depressed, probably, but the thought keeps popping in my head. It might still be better than mold.
It’s been a difficult week for me, and I think the whole infection thing has masked a lot of it. The Kavanaugh hearings have been triggering. Not even the blatant lies–but fuck, so blatant–but the pain this stirs up to have so many just asking to be recognized, to be heard–that’s all these women and men who have suffered sexual assault and rape and molestation and harassment want from America is to be heard for what happened to them. And to have still so many coldly ignoring, or worse, denying just feels like this slamming wall. They can’t give them anything. They can’t melt, they can’t bend. Not because it’s a weakness, but because they’re so weak, they can’t bend without breaking, so they don’t move at all.
If you can’t open your heart for fear of breaking, you are the one already broken. It is not the suffering of others who is hurting you, it is how you are suffocating yourself so greatly that you can’t even allow yourself to feel for fear of losing all sense of identity.
That was one of the biggest, and hardest lessons of going through trauma therapy. Realizing that when I was tough on myself, when I told myself to suck it up and walk it off, that it’s a ‘weakness’ to feel, to care, to let the pain in, I was abusing myself all over again. I was hurting myself with every cruel thought I have ever had when I saw someone who appeared weak and pathetic and painful because I wasn’t seeing them, I was seeing the victim I was when I was a child. And then I blamed that child, myself, because it was easier to believe she had some control than to accept that victims are exactly that, without control. Control is an absolute illusion and we are monsters to ever demand we or others have control over what cannot be controlled.
All we have power over are our own actions, and the more we deny what is happening in our psyches, the more likely we will also lose even that little control. I watched it in my abusive father who beat his children in his need to control them, to control his life, to control the fact his own daughters were molested and he had no ability to stop it. The more he fought with reality, the more he lost his ability to not hurt his children. And then I saw it with myself when the more I fought with the fact that PTSD had disabled me, the more I acted in ways that broke my body and psyche more. And this week, as I fight with my perceptions of the cruelty of the world and these people who would rather speak of evidence and how important it is to get a judge in who will outlaw abortion than listen to the voices calling for help, calling for acknowledgement and understanding, I have lost myself in a whirlwind of painful memories and thoughts and rigid rules that change nothing of reality but tear at me and wear me out.
I’m coming back to myself and I’m glad to meet me again. I hope this week and the next, and the next can be spent with her, that centered, solid version of me instead of the one who keeps fighting reality and ending up bruised at every turn. I’m done fighting at my shadows. I want to write a story that can give something positive to the world instead of continue to beat myself up.
Fuck this fever. I realized what I did and I was just too tired. I slept, I returned, and totally remembered that handy search/replace plugin that can go through all the code and do this shit for me! <3 So much easier. When you have over 800 pages of content, little mistakes can tumble into giant work without the right tools.
I’m forcing my nose to the grindstone tomorrow once I’m fully awake. Just, if I make terrible writing mistakes I can go back and fix. Nothing is forever. It works.