November 11, 2013

Stuff is Just Stuff.

I have issues with clothing. 

There, I said it. When I think of clothes, I flashback to being in high school, standing in my closet, staring at rows of colorful clothing and starting to cry (yes, cry) because I had “nothing to wear”. Ridiculous? Yes. I know. 

I really did have a neurosis. I felt like people would remember my outfits and that I could not wear the same thing two days in a row, including shoes, because for some reason I felt like it would make people think less of me, like me less, or put me down. 

Thinking back on that time in my life, the reasons for my reaction to my closet had nothing to do with the quality of my clothing, it was so much more about me questioning who I was, questioning the choices I was making, and not being satisfied with myself. Picking out an outfit made me feel like I had to choose a character and decide on who I was. Would I wear a colorful shirt today and look preppy? Would this make the art kids think that I wasn’t cool? If I wore those boots and an oversized sweater would I look artsy? What would the preppy kids think? Clothing exposed me because choosing an outfit seemed to make me feel as if I was defining myself, and I was in no way ready to understand who I was. 

And then something happened. I was accepted to college and my entire outlook shifted. It took me out of the present and helped me to stop thinking about the people that were around me, focus on the future.

With the transition of my outlook came the transition of my wardrobe. It quickly turned into one pair of black skinny jeans, three oversized black shirts, an oversized black sweater, a pair of loafers, and black socks. Without really understanding why, I started to reduce what I had. I was donating what was in my closet and felt myself becoming happier. I didn’t have to think about what I was going to wear to school the next day because it didn’t matter as much anymore. It seemed that with fewer distractions and fewer options came more acceptance, and with more acceptance came happiness. I realized that clothing really had very little to do with the type of person I was, it was in fact just clothing. That doesn’t mean one can’t have clothes that they love, it just means one might not need 75 t-shirts to be happy. 

I went to an event at Etsy Labs on Friday that talked about hyperconsumerism and the sharing economy. I learned that there is a studied inverse correlation between the amount of stuff you own, and your happiness. My experience in high school really supports this. As I stopped focusing on clothing and began focusing on myself, I started to change. I was calmer, did not get angry as easily, became happier with my body, had less conflict in my life, and became genuinely happier with myself. 

I have held onto the idea that less is more over the past five years and am now, at 22 years old, attempting to have as little excess as possible. That means having a small wardrobe, holding on to fewer sentimental objects and holding on to more memories. 

Of course sometimes I forget this and regress to the 17 year old me standing in my closet wanting to cry and my boyfriend has to remind me that no one will even remember what I am wearing and that it really doesn’t matter that much because if I am myself, the only thing they will focus on is my personality. Even when I doubt him in the moment, after the fact I realize that he is... right. It’s so not about the stuff. 

It’s not as easy as it sounds though. I am a hyperemotional person and attach faux value to stuff because of a connection to a time it represents. I still hold on to things that are absolutely unnecessary and I really want to change this aspect of my personality and learn to value memories, not things.

7 comments:

  1. Lovely sentiment! I'm big into curating my closet, but even so, sometimes it can seem overwhelming. And I always feel guilty whenever I donate a bag of stuff. Like, why did I buy it in the first place?

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree. I think part of my problem was that I was not creative and, because I had so many choices, I forgot how to rework things. I think that is something that I have become much better at doing as the size of my wardrobe has decreased. It is then easier for me to realize gaps. If I find myself thinking "I really need a sweater" a million times, than that means if I invest in that item, I will get great use out of it.

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  2. Hey there,
    I recently discovered you and your amazing lifestyle in the past couple of days, namely because of your upcoming kickstarter (the simple co.). Good luck btw, I think you're off to amazing things.
    I just wanted to say that I am absolutely so inspired by you and have been reading your blog obsessively ever since I found it. (which is literally 2 days ago)
    I'm 18 and a recent high school graduate and this post really embodied what I've been feeling these last couple of months being at university.
    Just thought I'd let you know that you are truly inspiring people and, for me, portraying values that are so important for young people (specially girls) to think about!
    best of luck and thanks for the amazing blog <3

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  3. I have only recently found your blog and saw your struggle with "stuff". This is an article I read about a year ago on the minimalist mentality, it changed my life. I found so much value in freeing myself of stuff. I look forward to expanding this journey with minimizing my waste. Thank you for your blog.

    http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/6079745/list/7-tips-to-get-with-a-new-minimalist-mentality

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  4. - Ngươi không cần phải xen vào việc của ta, ngươi chỉ cần nói cho ta
    biết hắn ở nơi nào là được rồi.

    Vẻ mặt Đoạn Vân vẫn rất nghiêm túc như trước.

    - Hừ, ngươi muốn biết ngài ở đâu, ta nhất định không nói cho ngươi. -
    Andrea cười lạnh.

    Nhíu nhíu mày, Đoạn Vân chỉ vào đám Thú nhân võ sĩ đang đi tuần tra bên
    ngoài, vẻ mặt dâm tà nói:

    - Tướng sĩ của ta rất nghe lệnh ta, cho dù ta bảo họ tự sát, họ cũng sẽ học kế toán tại bắc ninh
    dịch vụ báo cáo tài chính
    kế toán cho giám đốc quản lý
    học kế toán tại quảng ninh
    học kế toán tổng hợp tại bắc ninh
    học kế toán tại hà đông
    eco city long biên

    học kế toán tại tphcm
    trung tâm kế toán tại quảng ninh
    học kế toán tại thanh xuân
    khoá học kế toán thuế
    trung tâm kế toán tại long biên

    luyện thi toeic

    không chút do dự vung đao cứa cổ. Nếu ta sai một trăm hay cả ngàn Thú
    Nhân uy mãnh thủ hạ tới thay phiên "âu yếm" ngươi, ta nghĩ nhất định đám
    người đó sẽ làm ngươi sướng hơn lên trời! Còn nữa, ngươi đừng tưởng vẫn
    còn được hưởng thụ như trước, cũng đừng nghĩ đến chuyện tự sát. Chỉ cần
    Đoạn Vân ta còn sống, muốn chết xem ra tuyệt đối là một hy vọng xa vời.

    - Vô sỉ!

    Nghĩ tới cảnh kinh khủng đó, Andrea thấy ớn lạnh. Nàng không thể tưởng
    được, tên nam nhân nhìn qua đạo mạo như vậy thế mà nội tâm lại độc ác
    đến thế.

    - Nói đi, việc này cũng chẳng mất công ngươi bao nhiêu. Nếu không nói,
    trong đám thủ hạ của ta còn có không ít Ma tộc, để cho họ cũng tới tham
    gia náo nhiệt, lúc đó thì vui rồi...

    ReplyDelete