Thursday, March 31, 2011

Making Connections.

I really love the blogs that invite comments with questions. They give me an opportunity to "dig deep" and make connections that I wouldn't necessarily make on my own. This was my answer to Miss Minimalist's question: "What’s your one-sentence definition of minimalism?"
...I love what you say about “It’s uncovering who you are when all of the logos, brand names, and clutter are stripped away.” Although I have been anti-brand-name-as-status-symbol for as long as I can remember, it was a sudden realization when I read that that there are many other ways that we “brand” ourselves, through subculture, lifestyle & such. I spent a few years hiding behind my passion for mid-century vintage, thinking that made me into a certain kind of desirable person. I unthinkingly collected dresses that didn’t fit, furniture that was in poor condition, and knick-knacks that meant nothing to me aside from being funny & old.

Now that I have cleared a ton of that “vintage” clutter, I feel like my true self is able to manifest, and I no longer depend on the fragile & never-enough identity of a vintage collector. I am sooooooo much happier!

Until I was writing this, I never made the connection between my former vintage-collecting tendencies and the discomfort I felt then. There was always an imaginary competition between myself and other collectors. And there was never enough. Recreation was shopping for "something cool." There is a lot of cool old stuff out there! I could never bring it all home.

The idea of minimalism has allowed me to accept myself exactly as I am, and as I am most comfortable. I've let myself off the hook for perfection in pretty much every situation. I accept what I have; I know that my needs are met. It's wonderful.

ps. The new banner is from a monotype print I did in 2004. I like to switch up the look of this place now & again.


Cat's Meow said...

I love this. Way to have "ah-hah!" -moments!
I am so over decorating and dressing for "personality". Whatever physical thing it is that we define ourselves by, it's never enough. More hip funky thrift store outfits, artsier home, home full of design classics or vintage treasures. I feel so happy and free with my minimal clothing (both in quantity and looks) with NO visible brands, and my bare necessities home. I gave up first fashion magazines and then decoration magazines and I thrift shop only for kids stuff that we NEED. I've also let go of "cool" and "neat" stuff that was just sitting there because it was cool and neat, but had no purpose.

Funny thing is, for years I wanted to have really long hair but I never had the patience and I got tempted by cute trendy cuts.. well guess what, my hair is nearly to my waist now ;) I feel like my true self is slowly emerging.

Liina said...

Cat's Meow, that's a really neat story about your hair!

deb -life beyond stuff said...

Nice post Liina and I love your new look banner. I agree with what you say whole-heartedly. You're lucky you have found such wisdom at such a young age. It's taken me a lot longer.

Liina said...

Thanks Deb! I do feel lucky to have these realizations, and they pretty directly result from contemplation of the content all the inspirational simple living blogs out there, including yours!

Megan@declutterdaily said...

I just recently have been able to appreciate something in a store for it's aesthetic value and then walk away. I always felt the need to have everything that I ever saw that I thought was clever or hip.

Jenny @ exconsumer said...

Good for you Liina! I was well into my 20's before I let go of brand names as a way to express myself. You're doing great. :)

My husband and I used to shop for home goods for fun. That was pretty much what we did all weekend! Once we had kids that slowed down, and over the past couple of years it has stopped all together.

The one thing I think about sometimes is the possibility of trading one label for another. For example, now that I'm a non-consumerist and identify more with a minimalist lifestyle, I have to be careful not to box myself in to another label (minimalism).

I love your new banner too!

Tanja from Minimalist Packrat said...

How funny that you're "brand name" stuff was all vintage retro. That in itself is so different than the typical brand name stuff these days.

I commiserate though. I used to have a serious yard sale/thrift store addiction going on, always on the look-out for the next "awesomely cool" retro knick-knack I could find.

(I solved that by not letting myself go to thrift stores or yard sales for 3 years. Now I've been cured. :)

I did an experiment recently when we moved with just what fit in our car back in 2009. Upon settling in again in a new and sparse home I didn't let myself buy anything "just for the looks". No upgrades allowed. It was interesting to live for a year without my definition of a beautiful home. It made me look deeper into the impulses behind decorating and I learned that I could live with mismatched sheets that I didn't love. Life didn't end! A beautiful realization coming from some damn ugly sheets (which are still on my bed as I type.)

Liina said...

Jenny - Well, I am definitely "well into my 20s", so it's high time for me! ;) You are so right that we have to be cautious not to trade one label for another.

Tanja - Those are some really interesting ideas about living without your definition of a beautiful home and exploring impulses behind decorating!