Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Loosening the Noose
The shift toward minimalism and detachment from things is a slow process. I speak from a knowing place as I have been moving in this direction for a few years now. A recent browse in a very interesting gift shop brought home the message loud and clear as I saw several things that caught my eye. Perhaps they were unique or creative or artsy items that attracted my eye and caused a momentary flutter of longing but not enough to make me open my wallet.
It helps that I am seriously considering getting rid of almost all of my possessions over the next few months. I have moved twice in the last 2 years and the weight of what I own feels more and more like a noose around my neck daily. I have stayed in some beautifully sparse accommodations in the past year and there is an awesome feeling of calm that comes with space and lack of clutter. The interesting result of such experiences is the realization of how very little we actually need to function in our lives.
You don't need most of the "stuff" that surrounds you. The thousands of items in your drawers, closets, basements, cabinets and cupboards are superfluous. There is actually a dude who has narrowed his life down to 100 things and if a new thing arrives, one goes out. Now there is a challenge! What 100 things would you choose? Shit, I bet there are at least that many kitchen tools in my implement drawer right now! Which ones would I keep? Which ones could I live without?
I am pretty sure I could not narrow my wardrobe down to 100 things, let alone my entire home. Or does wardrobe count as one thing? What about jewelry? Does that count as one? Not likely. This may be easier for a man. But even if a woman were allowed to double the number or even triple it, would it still be possible for the average gal? Just count your shoes. Unlike men, who have an average of 4-5 pairs, we all know that the fashion world dictates otherwise for us. But the truth is we allow it. We let the pressure get to us. We buy in. What's worse is we buy into labels and trends that require the constant updating or upgrading of wardrobes.
For many, this constant barrage of "buy, buy buy" causes anxiety and stress and ultimately debt. All in the name of fashion and keeping up with trends to what end? To impress our friends? To be like everyone else? To fit in? To define ourselves?
I have been guilty of all of these motivations. In addition to these, I have used fashion to express myself. I got angry last night watching this little documentary on Meryl Streep. All of these so-called "fashionistas" took turns picking apart her wardrobe faux pas over the years. They followed their criticisms with kinder remarks describing her abilities as an actress, but it struck me how shallow it all was. Here we have a woman who is considered one of the greatest actors of our time and instead of focusing on her exceptional talent, these "critics" chose to find something they could say to diminish her.
I have been just as guilty of this myself. But the shift that is taking place in me now is just this type of change of "mind-set". The good news is that I am sure Ms. Streep could care less what these "fashion police" have to say about her. I am quite certain her headstone will not mention the fashion crimes she made, but rather that she graciously shared her gift as an actor with the world and her love of her family.
The drape of her pants or the shoulders of her dress will be meaningless.
As they should.