Less

My mom and I both recently read the book The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. By “recently” I mean I finished it about two days ago.

In it, Flanders sets up a shopping ban for herself for one year. That didn’t strike me. I occasionally splurge, but honestly– I’ve got my budget pretty tied down right now. What did hit me was that in addition to buying nothing (or next to), she also got rid of things. Like 70% of her current belongings.

Oof. This one hit me. I have… a lot of stuff. I thought I’d kept it pretty paired down during my 20s because of all the moves I made, but somehow, sitting here in the home I own, all of my belongings that were strewn across states sometimes are all sitting in my possession. I have spent a lot of money on things I do not use.

So today, I made a pile. I really only went through wardrobe stuff, because when I got to my spare room that holds everything else, I got really intimidated.

less clothes.jpg

So from my closet(s), hanging rack, dresser, and other shelf full of clothes, I pulled things I haven’t worn in a long time, if ever. I ended up with something like 5 dresses, 7 pairs of jeans, and 4 jackets. *And a partridge in a pear tree*  I didn’t count the number of shirts, because I’m not even sure I can count that high.

I’m still left with an inordinate amount of clothes. For example, the category I have most of is “sleep shirts.” Which translates to “t-shirts I would not wear in public but are still nice enough to be worn so I wear them around the house and and night and stuff.” I don’t even know how to get rid of these. But I have nearly an entire draw full.

Next to tackle is what I call “Spare Oom” (Narnia reference). It holds everything from the day I moved in (October 2017) that didn’t immediately need placed to keep a house. So far, I pulled some papers to be thrown out and a Brita pitcher, a clock radio/iPod player, and an alarm clock to be donated along with the clothes. I don’t even want to think about what else is in the boxes that I’ve forgotten about. And don’t get me started on shoes.

Should I keep the red strappy high heels, for example? Have you ever done a huge purge? Read Flanders’ book? Felt an urge to GET RID OF STUFF?

A hole with no wifi

Where have I been? I’ve been in a hole. It’s been dark and a little damp, maybe. But it’s been cozy and for a long time, I didn’t mind. Then I remembered that there’s a whole world outside of my hole and for the first time in a long time, I told someone “I’m not doing so well.”

I’m not out of the hole, but I’ve got plans. I’m poking my nose out. I’m seeing more light that I had seen for a while. It feels good. But honestly? Also exhausting.

Because I think I do okay with challenges (only ones I present to myself)– I’m going to try something. I haven’t been writing, not because I didn’t have anything to say, but I guess my hole has poor wifi reception? Anyways, I read something about someone else trying to post on their blog THIRTY DAYS IN A ROW. So I’m going to try.

At first I thought, I’ll do it in January. But you know what? That’s just as arbitrary a date as today. Plus, it gave me a few weeks to back my way out of the challenge. I really won’t be going for quality, here. Just sheer quantity. And that’s supposed to be the opposite of the way you do this, but I think I need to get my butt in gear. I need to open my laptop and log in to this blog every single day. It’s like an exercise routine, but for my brain.

So my apologies for the short posts, the random thoughts, and for the silence before this. Join me in my arbitrary month of posts!

Self Care: Reaching out

Sometimes, telling people you’re having a hard time is the hardest thing to do. Especially when you know everyone is busy and dealing with their own stuff.

But it can be the best thing for you– and maybe for them, too. My friends and I call it the “Bat Signal.”  Tell someone you need help. Mine usually goes like this: “Hey, I could really use some people time.” And just like that, friends hop into making dinner plans.

Last week, all it took was an hour long dinner with friends, just chatting away. As we walked away, one friend asked “did this fulfill your need for people time?” And you know what? It did. All I had to do was reach out.

I am often alone. I live alone (and have for almost 7 years), I’m single, my job involves people but there’s not always a connection. Add in weeks or months of busyness of my people, and I start feeling a bit unmoored. Even we introverts need people every now and again.

When’s the last time you put out a Bat Signal? Maybe this evening is the right time?

What I read in August

Yes, this is a bit late, yes, I thought I’d at least get this in before October. But… you do what you can, you know?

ESPW

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

What I liked/didn’t like– this book is full of a culture I know little about, but I loved getting to know. It’s a Punjabi population in London, filled with their own stories, idiosyncrasies, fears, and traditions. A writing club turns out to be so much more– surprising the modern Punjabi female teacher, the women in the club, and the community at large.

I LOVED this book. I rooted hard for the women finding their own voices, their own enjoyment, their own… lust for life? It was a thoroughly enjoyable book. My only quibble was that the climax (*snicker*) happened rather quickly and seemed a bit rushed towards the end.

Rating- 4.5/5

 

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (and A Wind in the Door)

What I liked/didn’t–   This was actually a re-read for me. Or at least, Wrinkle was. It was required reading in sixth grade and I remember thinking it was weird. But I have some friends who are still huge fans, and I’ve become much more open to fantasy/sci-fi, so I thought “Why not give it another shot?” As it turns out, my friends were right- A Wrinkle in Time is delightful. Charming in every sense of the word, from baby Charles Wallace to Aunt Beast.

A Wind in the Door? Now that was a bit weird. Less charming, more made up words. Honestly, it was a sci-fi/fantasy written in the 60s, so I can’t knock it too hard. I guess. I have the other 2 books left in the quartet, I’m hoping they get a bit more palatable. If not, L’Engle still throws some gems in there to be plucked out. I see you, Madeline.

Rating- 3.5/5

LF

Little Feminist by Galison and Kleinman

What I liked/didn’t like– I bought this little box of cardboard books to keep at my house for my niece. We read them several times, I think she liked the pictures. I know I did. They don’t get too in depth (duh), but tells a tiny bit about each woman. There could have been more WOC.

Rating– 3/5

Wake up, dig in

My goal for September has been to wake up. I’ve talked about why recently, and I’ve talked about a few things I’m doing to push through this sleepy/self-cloistering period.

Another phrase that has popped into my consciousness is dig in. Not like “gut it out” like we hear in exercise (was anyone else a runner?), but like in putting in roots. Going deeper. Getting stronger. Connecting. It feels like time.

We had a “Community Conversation” this evening at the church I call home, and I was pleased to hear that a lot of people are feeling the same way. Maybe it’s the end of summer, which feels free and transitory. Maybe it’s the beginning of “cuffing season,” but people are looking to invest, to dig in, and I’m here for it.

I’m excited to see where it leads. Myself, I have a newly set-up walking date with a friend with a new baby. I’ve messaged an out-of-state friend about having monthly Skype dates. I’m ready to pour into and be poured into. I’m looking for ways to connect and deepen. I feel a craving that not even mac-and-cheese can fill.

Anyone else feeling a shift in the weather? What are you digging in to?

The Struggle is real: Anxiety and a wide-open schedule

I’ve talked about it quite a bit– going out on my own, ditching the 9-5 office job. And you know what? I haven’t looked back, on that part. But let me tell you– sometimes my lizard brain has a mind of its own, you know? In the month that I’ve been a free bird, anxiety has been NO JOKE.

One of my biggest responses to both depression or anxiety is to SHUT IT DOWN. Meaning,  I don’t do anything. I sleep, sometimes 16-20 hours a day, if I can. Yeah, not healthy. But it’s been my go-to method for a long time.

And in the month of September so far, I’ve been woozy and dizzy, and I’ve fully passed out (twice!). Sound crazy? Feels even worse, I can assure you. A few years ago I had heart tests run, and I’m fit as a fiddle. But those psychosomatic responses aren’t here to play– so I have heart palpitations and fits of blackouts. It’s a great time.

I think all this stems from the fact that I don’t transition well and I have so much free time and what if clients stop booking massages and I don’t make any money?! You know, the normal stuff.

So what am I going to do about all of this? Here are my actionable plans:

  1. I have already emailed my therapist to get back on her schedule
  2. I have to get out and do more– I am running a 5k in 2 weeks and I think I may go (alone!) to one of my favorite comedians who is coming to town
  3. I’ve been taking slow walks daily, about 20-30 minutes. Slow enough so I don’t get dizzy, but enough to get my heart rate up and hopefully keep my heart healthy
  4.  I need to start advertising and reaching out more. Know anyone in Indianapolis who could use a massage? Refer them to me!!

 

What do you do to combat your anxiety? How to you populate your free time? Do you have a walking buddy (where did you get her?!)?

What I Learned- Summer 2018

Here are a few things I’ve been learning lately:

  1. God cares about the small things. By small things, I mean my cat, who was lost for over 20 hours outside and for whom I prayed for about 20 hours straight. She’s home, safe, and healthy. I am sure God heard those prayers, as trivial as it may seem.
  2. Speaking of cats– it was Iris doing the “mystery wees” I blamed Sammy, my boy cat, for the mystery pees throughout the house. Only to have Iris, girl kitty, hop up on my bed (while I was in it), happily wee, then cuddle with me until I realized. Hm. Mystery solved. Sorry, Sammy!
  3. Good body mechanics are vital! Full time massage therapy is no joke! I’ve learned rather quickly that I CAN’T be too lazy to hold my body correctly, or I’ll pay for it dearly in the coming days.
  4. It’s good to have connections. So my sister’s friend’s boyfriend works for an HVAC company and as a result I got a pretty sweet deal on an air conditioner! My Grey Cottage is about 98 years old this year and never had central air– until now! It’s going in to the off season, by the way– now is the time to give your HVAC people a call for discounted work!
  5. Show Up. This one meant a lot, and seemed to be a theme from about mid-July through August. I kept showing up, and my schedule filled with clients. I kept showing up, and went deeper with friends. I kept showing up, and have new opportunities coming up as a result. Sometimes, it’s not anything big– just keep showing up!