Things I Actually Like, 3-8
It's not quite spring yet, but I'm doing a massive spring cleaning this weekend.
See, I've lived in my house for over four years now. It's a good little house and I'm so happy I've been here so long. Four years of backyard parties, fires in the fire place, dancing in my kitchen, and piling up junk in my garage. Oh yeah, that. Piles of junk.
I'm a pretty tidy person.
My mom once said I didn't have a sentimental bone in my body when it came to keeping stuff. I have a file in a drawer labeled "Sentimental Crap" where I stash birthday cards and amusing items from friends. And every once in a while, I sort through it and get rid of most of it. I try to keep little, helpful bits of my past around, but focus mainly on my present. I routinely share and trade out of my clothing treasure chest. And it actually makes me happy to spend a Saturday morning reorganizing my bathroom closet. What a weirdo, right? I love organization.
But stuff has been piling up in my garage. An old vacuum cleaner, disorganized camping gear, a bulletin board I thought I may need someday but haven't touched in 2.5 years, some free household stuff that never really fit my decor, oh yeah, and a box of old clothes I said I would drop off at a charity last summer, but never did. It's like a To Do list that I never actually work on. (I was going to include a photo of that, or of me cleaning, but maybe I'll try that next week, when it's done.)
I read something a few weeks ago about creating a space for creativity flow in your life. Since writing is pretty much my part time job now, I'm trying to invite more creativity into my home. It's like an extra housemate, really, but one that pays rent in ideas instead of cash.
So I'm trying an experiment this weekend: I'm pretending I'm moving far away, and I'm going to get rid of everything I don't want to move. This may or may not be partially inspired by my friend Allison Vesterfelt, who wrote a book called Packing Light. It will be out this September and you won't want to miss it.
I don't think I'll totally accomplish my goal this weekend. I've got a list a mile long. (Do you do this? Set a goal you know you won't meet, but you need to try for the stars anyway?) But I plan on making a big hit in my stuff-ness and clear out space for more creativity and love. And in a few months, I'll do this paring down all over again, letting go of more things and inviting others in.
If I were moving across the country, if I had to toss out everything but my favorites, could I do that? I would have to decide what I actually liked vs what I used to like or thought I would like or was told I should like. And then I would act on those delineations.
Obviously, some obligations and mundane tasks (washing dishes, ugh) are required in life. There are seasons for girding loins and getting it done and letting the rest of life pile up in places. But that shouldn't be the way we center our lives and hearts. My life and faith, and even my writing, aren't built on obligations right now. I'm in a season of playful love. It's really challenging sometimes, but it's a challenge I'm choosing because I like it. And it's time for my house and closet and garage to reflect that.
What would your house/wardrobe/life look like if it only contained the things you actually liked, right now?
Speaking of Things I Actually Like, check these out:
Penny & Sparrow
I cannot stop listening to this duo. They play exactly the kind of music I work to: beautiful, harmonic, and awesome lyrics. Especially when I'm writing, I need good words in the background. Even their love songs are sad and stretched and gorgeous. You should know that I love a good super sad love song! Seriously, check out "Duet." I've listened to it about 500 times, not even kidding, and it makes me believe in love just a little bit more each time, even with all it's mournfulness.
Protecting White Kids from History by T.F. Charlton aka Grace
"It’s a bit sad that this needs saying, but many books that are worth reading can be profoundly unsettling and scary, even traumatic to read. And this is in part because many unsettling, scary, traumatic things are part of the human experience."
This is a fantastic and challenging article about censorship. I'm really sensitive to violence and have to be careful to protect myself from written and visual images I can't handle. But this doesn't change the fact that so many of the things I get to choose whether or not I take in happened to real people, without their choice. I'm learning to be self-caring but also brave and not hiding behind my own discomfort. And learning about the things that were and are still being done to my brothers and sisters because of their skin color or social status or sexual orientation is part of that. Because of bold thinkers and writers like Grace, I am learning. I read this article weeks ago and can't stop thinking about it. It's important.
The Thing About Christian Unity by Zack Hunt
"This need to be perfect, or at least to be seen as perfect, is a temptation that goes all the way back to Adam and Eve’s need to be like God – to be perfect. Like Adam and Eve we still listen to words of the snake and believe that being less than divine is somehow a flaw.
So, we do everything in our power to maintain the myth that our leaders, our churches, our theological systems, and, by extension, we ourselves are perfect. This is what is at the heart of so many of the recent cries for Christian unity. But the righteous indignation of “Christian unity” that runs rampant today has is more often than not nothing more than propaganda for sustaining a false and unnecessary narrative of perfection. A collective effort to sustain a lie."
Honestly, I think Zack's words speak for themselves. Read this whole piece, please. As someone who feels compelled by the Holy Spirit/my own truth-telling urge to speak up, especially about issues relating to unhealthy Christian culture or control-based faith, I'm grateful for this clear understanding of the difference between unity and uniformity. I know there will be consequences. But I also know that we can't ask Jesus to come in and help us if we can't even name our broken systems and need.
Portlandia: Allergy Pride Parade
Okay, so I'm from Portland, and I'm telling you right now: ALL OF PORTLANDIA IS TRUE. Especially this Allergy Pride Parade, which I'm rather fond of because A. I adore parades. They make me so happy and someday I will be in one and I will wave to you all and throw candy and B. I'm a girl with weird food allergies. Fortunately, I live in a city where it's so easy to live with weird foodiness that we can like, actually make fun of ourselves without it being mean. Gluten free scones for everyone!
Spring Nail Polish Colors!
I love painting my nails because even if it chips off doing dishes in a day, (I really need a dishwasher, for the sake of my manicures, guys!), it's a tiny bit of beauty-making. Also, I've found that buffing my nails first helps the polish stay a little longer. My favorite colors right now are:
Master Plan, an amazing neutral that goes on in one coat. It's mostly gray tending towards the blue hue. (I can't say Lavender because Lavender is such a weird word. It's so ladylike and elegant and I am neither of those things. So we'll stick with gray tending towards blue.)
Midnight Cami, which is the navy you've been waiting for your whole life.
I haven't found my perfect coral/orange/pink yet, but when I do, I'll let you know! Because that stuff is like, serious.
There is no hoarding, there is no saving the best for later. There is only right now, this moment of creation, and so I’ve learned to use it up.
Art doesn’t lend itself to perfectionists and misers. I’ve found that my creativity responds to generosity."
All of this, right here. I've been storing up stories for years in journals, and losing even more of them in my fear of speaking up, even to myself. I'm scared to tell you all what I actually think or what happened, because I'm afraid I'll spend my best tales here on the beginning of a useless blog and then I, too, will become lost in archives. But this simply isn't how we work. The best stories will keep telling. The more living I do, the more speaking up I practice, the more words I am finding. And that is beautiful. So yeah, I'm going to be careful and tell my stories when they're ready, but not hold back. I want to learn how to trust that the manna will be there tomorrow, too, and that I won't be lost.
Right after my clean out my garage.