Can you Marie-Kondo your wardrobe?

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I am soon to embark (and by soon I mean in 8 months) on a year-long adventure wherein I will upend my life and reupholster it in New Zealand. Please don’t think too much about that last sentence.

As this goes to press (haha) I am in the modest stages of mental-downsizing–an oft-overlooked but, I am sure, crucial step in the shot put event that is me heaving my brain over the concept of getting rid of my possessions. (In all honesty, it’s not a sentimental hurtle as much as it is a sheer lack of motivation when it comes to physically moving these belongings from one locale to another. Also, SO MANY TRACK-AND-FIELD METAPHORS, MY MY.) I have made a list of furniture to be sold, where I will store my bouncy-as-all-get-out mattress and who I will bequeath my Under-the-Tuscan-Sun-esque teal blue desk with the mismatching drawer knobs to; in my mind that was the bulk of the work.  But this morning I woke up to my clothing wall, which is literally a full wall in my room hung with clothes (because I live in an actual wardrobe–like a small moth!) Five pairs of overalls, numerous structured velvet jackets and 2 cubic feet of various garments that make up my ‘red section’ alone told me there was still work to be done.

My real fear here comes in thinking about the dreaded ‘capsule wardrobe’: ideally a suitcase worth of go-with-everything quality pieces, fashion’s antidote to maximalism always seems too reliant on the color beige and I am not comfortable with that. Enter the Marie Kondo wardrobe experiment: I will get rid of any and all clothing articles that do not bring me joy.

  1. Yellow sequined drapey cocoon dress that was probably intended for wear at an elegant museum gala? MAKE WAY, SUITCASE-DWELLERS, V.I.P (by which of course I mean very important piece-of-clothing-all-one-word) COMIN’ THROUGH.
  2. Fluffy yeti cardigan-jacket that could never in a million years be considered utilitarian? Jump in, my love!
  3. “Staple” sweaters and thin layering tee’s in an unflattering skin tone? No joy here. Off to Goodwill.
  4. The pair of low-cut skinny jeans I bought because I felt morally obligated? Uh-uhn.
  5. Boring work button downs and their boring black skirt counterparts? Do those sound like the physical adornments of a free-spirited adventurer living in Oceania to yooou?

So even if I have to wear an oriental silk blazer and faux-fur slippers (sans underwear, they don’t bring me joy) to the Auckland equivalent of 7-Eleven, my heart will be clothed with content as I traipse around in a capsule wardrobe specific to who I am as an individual.

Stay tuned for more on this case study as it progresses, in the name of science.

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Becoming a Yes Person

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I find myself expecting life to open doors to me–doors that will lead to surprising opportunities, adventure and change.  Maybe this is sometimes how it works but I read the phrase “being a yes person” recently and it stopped me in my tracks.  As outgoing and free-spirited as I am (or think I am), I’m not sure I’d call myself a Yes Person, per se.

1. I am a thinker.

I have come to recognize a very prominent duality in my basic nature: I need to be organized in order to be spontaneous.

GO WITH ME.

My bedroom studio space must be clean before I am able to begin a creative project (the end result of which is never not a full-on chaotic mess) and here, my room studio space is a symbol for my mind. Accordingly, when I go out, I like to know where I’m going and what will be expected of me in said place. Though I rarely adhere to these preconceived guidelines (ask me about the outfit I wore to a bowling alley in central Massachusetts, IT INVOLVES VELVET BELLBOTTOMS) I like to know what’s what–clearly and organized-ly– before I attempt to wow you with my exceptional maverick tendencies, haha. I think it helps me mentally prepare for the possible interactions I’ll encounter, to which I will be able to react with confidence (and less from a feeling of being out of my depth.)

2. A part of me still wants to convince the world that I have a plan.

You know that feeling when you are walking down the street and you pass an interesting flyer on a window? I have A REALLY HARD TIME turning around to go read it.  I think this stems from my hatred of tourists (come on, you hate them too; the way they meander unsurely down the sidewalk, wait for the wrong door to open on the T, and in short form an impediment for anyone with a place to go.) If an acquaintance stopped me on the street and said, “Hey, want to go to this new platypus habitat?” I would very probably say that I was busy even if I wasn’t. I had, after all, expected to go straight home after work, so this is the equivalent of asking me to make a U-turn on the sidewalk. Twenty or so steps later, I would begin to rethink my out-of-office autoresponse. A platypus habitat might be something worth seeing…

**Now there are extenuating circumstances. If it was Ruth Bader Ginsburg who stopped me in my tracks, or if I was literally over-the-moon about platypuses, I would DEFINITELY respond with a quick Yes. I think my point is that unless the opportunity is wearing a pink feather boa and yelling at me in Yiddish, I probably won’t recognize it as an opportunity.

Hence, I am resolving to be a Yes Person–the kind of person who says yes by default and then considers whether the decision was a good or bad idea.

The Magic of Handstands

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Do you ever feel like a walking lightning rod for crabbiness and hum-drum-ity? I do, I have my days, it’s a fact, I’ll fess up. Just as the world was once a vibrant and thriving amalgam of tropical biosystems, woodlands, forests, and plant life in general only to be paved over by concrete and astro-turf, SO TOO HAVE I BEEN. I do the same job every day at the same time in mostly the same way. Due to “fiscal responsibilities” I eat the same lunch for weeks on end and barely ever turn sunlight into energy anymore (this is a plant-based joke).

My life right now is mainly about making it in the real world, and I’m not bitter about it most of the time. But in “getting by” I sometimes find myself getting stagnant, and that leads to trouble.green-cups

My immediate reaction is to escape–jump on a train and don’t ask where it’s heading with a small (okay, large) bindle over my shoulder packed only with cheese wheels and a toothbrush. Someday maybe that will be the answer, but for now I’ve found that handstands work too.

handstand-2

I’m a little tea pot, AVERAGE HEIGHT AND WITH A GREAT PERSONALITY. When things get to be too much, it’s actually going to be okay! I will just tip myself over and pour it all out. This is a metaphor!