I got rid of all my bras
I had originally planned to write a post about how I get rid of stuff but then I realised I have already published that, but I still wanted to stick to the subject of minimalism so here are some of my most recent cogitations.
Over the past couple of years I’ve changed my mind a lot about what minimalism means to me. I don’t define myself as a minimalist (I’ve stopped calling myself anything really, all these labels are restricting and come with too many sides effects), but I definitely agree with the philosophy behind minimalism: to let go of the burden of physical items that stop us from doing what really we should be doing in life.
Now, up until a while ago I didn’t fully understand this. I felt like all I was doing was getting rid of stuff, and I couldn’t see the end of it. With every trip to the charity shop I told myself, Wow, now I’m gonna have so much time. But then a couple of days passed and there I was, still thinking about what else I could let go of, scanning my closet in search of pieces I didn’t like or wear enough, going through toiletries and kitchen supplies, obsessing about downsizing.
It felt like the time I was supposed to be freeing up was quickly being filled by more pressure to downsize. But at the same time, while rummaging through my makeup collection, I would ask myself, What the heck am I supposed to do with all this time anyway?
All the minimalists whose videos I obsessively binge-watched seemed to have a similar background: they were working 70 hours a week, making six figures a year, buying flashy cars and splurging on expensive holidays, purchasing their way to happiness - only to realise that buying more and more stuff couldn’t fill the void. Then something dramatic happens, which makes them reconsider their whole life; they decide to get rid of stuff and puff! Now they live in empty, immaculate apartments, they work less but still somehow manage to make a bunch of money, and spend most of their time hiking, painting, meditating and making podcasts.
I have never experienced that. I’ve never overworked myself to buy stuff that I couldn’t afford. I was never at a point where I felt like I needed to acquire more things in order to be happy or to prove to the world that I had made it. Back in London I did feel like I didn’t have enough time to read and write and travel, but that was because I had to commute for 2.5 hours a day and had an office job that would leave me exhausted at the end of the day, not because my flat was cluttered with possessions. I had possessions I wanted to use, but never had time or energy to.
Yet, the itchiness for living on less still got me somehow, and I let myself spiral into this vortex of decluttering that has most recently been reaching its climax.
In the past month I’ve managed to free up a lot of space in my wardrobe and let go of a bunch of other personal possessions. (If it was for me I would also get rid of the bed frame, desk, rubbish bin and a couple of chairs, but alas I don’t live alone.)
I have to say, I do feel… more free. Having more physical space around me does mean that my mental space is stretching, too.
Coincidentally, at the same time all this was happening I was also offered the option of getting fewer hours at work, which I accepted without thinking twice. I later realised that as part of my downsizing process I was starting to let go not only of material items but also of whatever was cluttering my mental space.
As a consequence, now I have more time.
But also, time is not the issue.
You don’t have more time once you get rid of a bunch of stuff. You have more SPACE.
Inside and outside.
I started to understand what those minimalist YouTubers meant when they said that getting rid of stuff allowed them to put more energy into connecting with people and cultivating human interaction.
I feel like I’ve been doing so much of that since I started to let go of things. Because if letting go of things means letting go of whatever doesn’t serve you, you can learn to let go of stress, anxieties, activities that you don’t enjoy, toxic relationships, thoughts that are stopping you from doing and achieving and growing.
I have been focusing much more on spending time with people who I respect and support, and who respect and support me. I have been building strong friendships with humans who are incredibly inspiring and who motivate me to go and do and think and learn. And I can do this because I have the mental space to do it.
Minimalism help me realise that it’s ok to detach ourselves from both physical and mental clutter. That we are constantly changing and growing and that our priorities can shift - and that's super duper ok.
So that's why I got rid of all my bras.
I never liked bras. They are uncomfortable and the truth is, I quite enjoy I flat chest, and I prefer how my boobies look in a bralette or a sports bra.
I like to see this as a metaphor of my shift in priorities. It’s not the bras themselves, it’ what they represent. I'm no longer someone who "has to" wear a bra because that's what women are "supposed" to do. I am also no longer a person who holds on to something she doesn't use or enjoy just because you never know.
It's ok - and extremely liberating - to let go of things. If you can let go of something, even one just small thing, either somewhere in your house or inside of your mind, do it. Now.
Ps. Here are some cool minimalists I've been binge-watching!
Amanda Round the Globe
Living the Life You Love
The Fairly Local Vegan