Coming Clean

Dear Reader,

This is my last post. No snazzy picture. No clever quote. No tags.

Just me and my words.

Let me begin by saying that I am so grateful for all of you. Strangers, mostly. A few, distant friends through blog comments and emails – physical strangers nonetheless. Yet I am still grateful for you. Thank you for sharing this part of my journey.

You walked with me at a time when I really needed company. You shared words of encouragement. You helped me get more bold about putting myself out there. I had not realized just how fearful I had chosen to be before I started to post. I felt the need to express myself, but I held back some pretty important information. When I look back at my posts, I see just how guarded I was. How fearful, insecure, and cautious.

Before my thoughts became words, I anticipated negativity and criticism. So afraid that someone would see all the holes in my logic or disagree with my life choices. Someone I love very much helped me give this a name: Preemptive Defensiveness. In being guarded and fearful about what strangers might think about my life choices, I didn’t give them a chance to see me, my family, or my god. I didn’t give myself a chance to be open and honest with group of people I would probably never meet in person.ย  I wrote with chains I chose to wear.

This is how I’ve lived my life for over thirty years.

But lately, things have been different. Very different. So different that my path is brighter, my soul feels lighter, and my life in general feels more full of purpose than ever before.

I’m going to tell you two things without apologizing. Please don’t take this the wrong way but I don’t care what you think.

1) I have been in a committed relationship with a brilliant, beautiful man for over fifteen years. After all this time, I’m still crazy about him. I wake up every day profoundly grateful that we are still together after all these years. He is my rock. Our relationship is…legally (and culturally) complicated.

2) I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe in His message of love. I believe he was the son of God, that He came to fulfill his purpose, performed miracles, was crucified for his radical beliefs, and I honestly believe he rose again.

I’m taking baby steps on a path of unashamed personal truth. I tread carefully. When I put my foot down, I find firm ground beneath my feet, light on my once-dim path, and voices of love and acceptance. So I take more steps.

And this is where we part ways, friendly strangers. I’m headed somewhere. Call it a spirit quest. When I get there, I’ll have things to share. Stories to tell. Stories about telling my story. If you’d like me to give you a shout out from wherever it is I’m headed, just leave a comment with your email address. It won’t publish. Only I will see it and I promise to never share your email with anyone.

Thank you.

Love,

Ginny

PS I want to extend a special thanks to a group of women who have encouraged me along the way, took the time to leave the most comments (gotta love WordPress stats!), and inspired me with their writing:

Nancy, B, Kathy, Rose, Muhala, thank you. Thank you for being so supportive. You are beautiful beyond words. You are my favorite strangers.๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

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Not Today Boys

Not Today Boys

So there I was.
Standing on the edge.
Feet scuffling pebbles
into the abyss below.
One shift.
One tiny shift in weight
and I would fall.

My life is not a movie.
There would be no
superhero to catch me.
No resilient awning
to bounce me back.
Just the hard, cold surface
of rock bottom.

In a way,
it called to me.
So much easier to fall than to fight.
I could lose myself…
and gain nothing.

In the not too distant past,
I would have let myself slip;
welcoming the familiar
pain and self-satisfaction
of mini-martyrdom.
As if falling into self-pity
was somehow noble,
wise,
deserving.

But today,
I am different.
I step back,
hug myself,
thank God for all the good in my life,
and walk away from the edge.
As my heart proudly whispers
“Not today boys.
Not today…”

This is a part of my “I can write/post whatever I want” freedom. Self-pity is a pit. A deep, dark pit of unnecessary negativity. I don’t step away from the edge every time but it sure feels great when I do. Do you know this edge? Have you heard the endless echo of the rocks falling beneath you into the darkness? What did you do? What stories do you tell yourself to back away from it? What stories do you keep in your heart to keep away from the edge altogether?

I’m not asking because I’m trying to get you to leave a comment (and therefore make my blog look more appealing). Please leave one if you have something to offer. I’m new to this kind of self-awareness. I’m mostly just curious about how other people stay sane.๐Ÿ™‚

As always, I’m grateful for your time. I’m grateful that you read my words. Sincerely. Namaste, my friend.

Love and Light,

Ginny

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Growing Pains

I cannot believe how difficult it is to actually write this. I’ve had a post screaming in myย  head for days now. Like a loud, beautiful piece of music that won’t go away until I DO something about it. So here I am and you know what I hear in my head? Nothing. Silence.

Whatever. I’m doing this anyway.

When I started writing and posting on my blog last year, my intention was to build something from which I could eventually figure out a way to monetize. I was in love with the idea of minimalism. I read stories from other minimalists who made money from writing about getting rid of their junk and I thought “Hey, I can do that. I love writing and I love getting rid of stuff.” Instant, easy, awesomness, right?

The more I wrote, the more I wanted people to read (and like and comment on) what I wrote. I needed that daily dopamine fix. I sacrificed sleep and time with “real” people in my life to get that little rush of feel good. My WordPress app on my phone became my lifeline to how many people had actually read and decided to follow my blog. As the readership increased, so did the time I spent on my blog and reading other blogs.

Looking back I see it now: I had become a blog junkie.

Then something happened that I could never have predicted. Ever. In a million fear-filled years of my life.

First, I took this set of pictures for The Closet Countdown project:

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This is where my life ended and began with a rather innocent thought. Something deep inside me bubbled to the surface. Ancient. Powerful. Dangerous. Here goes…I thought that I actually looked pretty in these pictures. I felt pretty. For two whole seconds I tasted that freedom that only comes from self-love and fearless living. I even attempted to write about it hereย  in a post about the morning after The Closet Countdown ended. Then Nancy (please go check out her awesome blog My Year[s] of Sweat if you haven’t already) posted a comment pointing out how I had grown in confidence since I started my little experiment.

A perfect spiritual storm poured down. It broke me. And inside I began to walk a new road.

It was beautiful and horrible all at the same time. Beautiful because I needed to begin to learn to like myself. Horrible because I was so afraid…

Writing and posting and commenting and responding to comments began to seem distasteful in a way that I could not explain. So I gave myself permission to quit. I used my time to dig deep. To learn to say loving things to myself. To forgive. To dream. To love. I found so many beautiful things hiding under a lifetime of fear and self-loathing.

The result has been nothing short of amazing. I will tell you more about it. But not today. Maybe not even tomorrow. But I will. Not because I feel like I have to. But because I want to.

I make no promises about this blog . I can’t afford to right now. That means I may not even respond to your wonderful comments. I may not read or follow your blog – even if you read or follow mine. However, I do promise to send sunshine your way. I’m not doing this to make money. I’m doing this to increase the light in the world. Simple but true.

If you are still reading, I am most grateful. It is not quite the rush that it once was but it adds joy to my day to know that someone read and enjoyed what I wrote. I’m fascinated by the connection we make as writer to reader…

Here is my sunshine for you today:

I wish you warm, beautiful light. The kind that fills your heart and makes you want to make the world a better place. I wish this for you with my whole heart…

Love and Light,

Ginny

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The Closet Countdown: The Morning After

It’s over. My one hundred day adventure in minimalist-style clothing ended yesterday. I’m relieved and a bit overwhelmed. I doubt I will repeat The Closet Countdown any time soon. But I grew. I feel it. I see it in the pictures I posted.

I have my “lessons learned” post in the works but in the meantime, I thought I’d go ahead and post a few initial reactions while they are still very fresh in my mind.

Last night, I pulled down my two bins of “unchosen” clothing. First thing this morning, I opened them. Right after feeling joy at seeing some of my loved items, my heart sagged a bit. There were literally piles of clothes around me that needed to be sorted.

I felt buried.

So I put on the dress I’d missed the most: my Merrell Emery in Manganese Ikat. Honestly, I didn’t like it at first. I felt like the color was “wrong” or the fit felt “off”. The dress was fine. I was just in a strange funk.

I thought about how I felt the last weekend of The Closet Countdown. Brave. Bold. Creative. Beautiful even. Immediately my posture changed. My face brightened. So I decided to wear the dress for the day and take a few pics (see for yourself at the end of this post ;)).

Flattering clothes – fit, color, style, hem length, etc. – matters very much. But the real style is inside. The moment we choose to see ourselves as someone worth looking at, we become more attractive. Our confidence and freedom from fear of what others think makes our smile brighter, our posture straighter. When I feel beautiful, the world around me is more beautiful. Brighter. And I feel connected to that beauty because I have found a tiny grain of it in myself.

That’s how I decided to feel this morning when I put on my “other” Merrell Emery Dress. That’s how I hope to feel every morning.๐Ÿ™‚

If you are reading this, know that you are beautiful. Maybe your hair isn’t “perfect”. Maybe your shape won’t ever be in a magazine. Maybe you’ve had a few bad days in a row that kept you from smiling. But inside you is beauty. You carry it with you wherever you go. I know because today I walked out into the world and I felt it. It’s all around us. Inside us. We just have to have the courage to show it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my words. I’m honored to share your company here on My Simplicity Quest.

Shine On,

G

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The Closet Countdown: DAY 100!!!

This is it. The final day of The Closet Countdown. Wow. Lessons learned will be posted soon. So strange how such a “silly” experiment has taught me so much. There are beautiful lessons all around us. We only have to look for them to see how many.

My heart fills with gratitude when I think of all the encouragement I’ve received along the way. Even just the “likes” on days when I thought my outfit was lame or my writing was lame (or both) really lifted my spirits. Thank you to everyone who stopped by along my one hundred day journey. I appreciate it more than I can say.

For the last day, I almost went with my Merrell Lily. But I decided against it because I will probably wear it again soon – regardless of all my new options. It is a tried and true favorite. I went with my super versatile Cameleon Rosy Pink Convertible Skirt/Dress/Poncho instead. There is more to the story on this interesting piece but that is for a different day and a post. Gotta keep it brief (right Nancy?๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

Day 100 Tuesday, October 8

  • BCG Black Cami
  • Long Black Leggings (forgot the brand)
  • Cameleon Pink Convertible Thing (worn as a poncho in the cooler morning and then as a skirt in the warm afternoon)
  • Merrell Black Barefoot Mary Jane Shoes

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Today is a light three mile run day for my half marathon training. When I started this, I didn’t know I would “get back into running” so I didn’t choose my running skirt or my leggings with a pocket that fits my phone. Looking forward to little things that that for sure…

Afternoon Run

  • BCG Black Sleeveless Top
  • BCG Black Legging Capris
  • inov8 RocLite268 shoes (with socks)

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Thank you again for stopping by. I wish you joy and eyes to see the lessons all around you. I encourage you to challenge yourself in some small way. Start with your closet like I did or with something else. Give yourself some boundaries. Dance inside them. Learn. Grow. Shine…

Cheers,
G

 

The Closet Countdown: Day 99 of 100

One. More. Day. Then it’s over. Tomorrow is my last full day of wearing items from my chosen 55 articles of clothing in The Closet Countdown. I’m excited. I cannot wait to open my two small bins of “unchosen” clothing that I stashed up on a shelf in my closet.

The Closet Countdown (should have called it The Closet Countdown Challenge) has been a beautiful part of my quest for simplicity. A one hundred day reminder that I must wade through some complicated issues to get to the “simple life”. I have no regrets.

Monday’s activity for my half marathon training is “Stretch and Strengthen”. So I chose an outfit that included leggings so I could catch a session of yoga later today without a full-on change up. That is one of the things I had hoped to accomplish with this fun experiment in the first place. If you missed yesterday’s outfit, please go here.

Day 99 Monday, October 7

  • White Cotton Tunic
  • Black Leggings
  • Merrell Black Barefoot Mary Jane Shoes
  • Multi-Colored Scarf

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If you are reading this, I am grateful for you and your time and your willingness to read my words and see my attempts to find my simple style. I wish you great things for your small act of kindness.๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers,
G

The Closet Countdown: Day 98 of 100 (So close…)

Two more days. Just two more days and The Closet Countdown will be over. Yesterday’s post is evidence that I’ve decided to ignore my insecurities and play a little with combinations I haven’t tried before. This little experiment has definitely helped me get more comfortable in front of a camera. Though the poses feel so redundant…๐Ÿ˜‰

Another one outfit day. Just me and my Merrell Emery…and a big black leather Gap brand belt that I scored at a thrift store in Austin for pennies.

Day 98 Sunday, October 6

  • Merrell Black Emery Dress
  • Gap Black Wide Leather Belt
  • Merrell Black Luxe Strap Sandals

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Thank you for stopping by and bearing with me as I face the final days of this strange yet very rewarding experiment. I’m grateful for your time as always.

Cheers,
G

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Weekend Photo Challenge (and Day 97 of The Closet Countdown!)

It’s a combo post, folks! I celebrate the 97th day of The Closet Countdown (a 100 day long, self-imposed experiment in clothing minimalism) by participating in Esther’s Weekly Weekend Photo Challenge. She is a doll. A sweet, fun mommy who happens to be drop dead gorgeous. Please go to her website to learn more about this fun challenge. (Thank you, Eszter for inviting me to join!)

This week’s challenge: Love Those Outfits

After living with only 55 Items of clothing, you’d think I’d love the outfits less. Not true. While I do miss some articles, I’ve learned to love some of my chosen pieces even more. It is a good feeling to have a favorite dress (my Merrell Lily of course!) snuggle up even closer to your heart.

Here are a few of my outfits I love from the past 97 days.๐Ÿ™‚

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Please check out the other bloggers who are participating in The Weekend Photo Challenge:

Junette from http://mamassecret.blogspot.com/
Elle from http://an-ayla-a-day.com/
Tams from http://nakedbeautyblog.com/
Tisha from http://dailyeasyrecipes.wordpress.com/
Mary from http://contrarymom.wordpress.com/
Danielle from http://momseyeviewnyc.wordpress.com/
Katie from http://acuriouskatie.wordpress.com/
Fanni from http://theblackberryboys.wordpress.com/
Ginny from https://mysimplicityquest.wordpress.com/
Donna from http://thelondonmum.me/
Casey from http://veggiesandglitter.com/
Eszter from http://kukolina.wordpress.com

Last but not least, here is my outfit from today. My last Saturday of The Closet Countdown…

Day 97: Saturday, October 5

  • Merrell Black Lily Sleeveless Dress
  • Merrell Black Luxe Strap Sandals
  • Black “Packable” Hat (Sun ‘n’ Sand Brand)

Thought I’d show you the front and back of this dress this time. I love the crisscross design. And the “hat” shot is for you, B!

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The Closet Countdown: Day 96 of 100 (Yea!)

The end is near. So near. Feels like Christmas is right around the corner. I’ve missed my other dresses and other “superfluous” clothing. The joys and challenges of The Closet Countdown are things I will treasure for a long time.

Yesterday I only wore two different outfits. And I’m still quite proud of my sassy little pose.๐Ÿ™‚

Today is just one outfit. It’s a casual farewell to my Summer wardrobe. I’m also celebrating the thirteenth birthday of one of my favorite young ladies on the planet (I included a picture of her below). Since my decision not to have kids, she has been like a daughter to me. I’m blessed beyond measure for someone who has so little…

Day 96 Friday, October 4

  • Ann Taylor Grey Boat Neck Top
  • OP Pinkish Coral Shorts
  • Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals

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20130721-173415.jpgThank you so much for stopping by and sharing my journey. My heart is warmed. I wish you many adventures!

Cheers,
G

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The Closet Countdown: Day 95 of 100

As the final days of the The Closet Countdown slowly putter along, I find that I’m both excited and a teensy bit sad. I like challenge. But I also like it when the challenges are over and I get to reflect on lessons learned. Bittersweet.๐Ÿ™‚

Yesterday, I changed clothes three times and I posted pictures to prove it. Even included my running clothes for fun.๐Ÿ™‚ Besides a morning trip to the grocery store and perhaps a therapeutic run in the afternoon (it’s my Prozac), I plan on sticking to one, simple ensemble today.

Day 95 Thursday, October 3

  • Merrell Black Lily Wrap Dress (they don’t make it any more. sigh.)
  • Merrell Black Luxe Strap Sandals (love the almost retro look of these shoes!)
Took me almost one hundred days to finally get a little sassy in front of the camera. :)

Took me almost one hundred days to finally get a little sassy in front of the camera.๐Ÿ™‚

Here is another image featuring the Lily Wrap Dress:

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As always, I’m glad you stopped by. Thank you.

Cheers,
G

PS Here’s a picture of my afternoon run outfit (before the run of course…)

  • BCG Brown V-Neck Top
  • BCG Black Leggings
  • Merrell Barefoot Bare Access Arcs

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This is Snickers the Wonder Dog.๐Ÿ™‚