music

Little Heart. Beautiful Courage.

You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it. – Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon’s Character) in We Bought a Zoo

My favorite man on the planet has many talents, and he gets to include “versatile, gifted musician” on his life’s repertoire of skills. A bar in a nearby town has become a pretty popular spot on Thursday nights because they host an open mic night. It’s not your usual gaggle of solo singers and wannabe guitar players. The guys and gals who show up to perform have some serious chops. On a whim, I decided to release my deep attachment to going to bed super early and go with him.

I don’t know how things are for you. But I have these weird days when my perception of myself is all wonky. No matter what I do, I feel like my hair and skin look like crap and my clothes look boring, old, and show off every flaw in my figure. That’s how I felt while getting ready that day. I finally settled on my tried and true Lily, no accessories except for my dry, summer locks, and a little extra eyeliner.

I’m a bit of an oddball. I bring a notebook with me and write my thoughts when I don’t know what else to do with myself. I use writing to help me push through my strange insecurities. Oh, and beer. Beer helps too. While I sat with my little notebook, I watched people and listened to the music. I noticed the beauty in all of it. A light began to grow in my heart. Here are some snippets of what I wrote:

  • I’m fucking in love with all of it. This place. The dirty hardwood floor. The smoke. The lanky cowboy dancing with his granddaughter. The chick with the super bright orange toenails.

  • It’s a gritty good time at its finest and I’m so in love with all of it.

  • None of these people give a shit about minimalism or running or travel clothing. But we are here, connected to the music and the beautiful noise of a good time.

  • I’m not a smoker but I inhale deeply. Let the air and the music of voices fill me.

  • I stand at the edge of the universe in complete awe of it all.

Then my eyes wandered to a rather overweight woman across the room. She was sitting with friends and seemed happy. There was a lovely glow about her. Then a familiar “knowing” came over me. It doesn’t happen very often. It requires a lot of courage on my part. Mostly because I’m still growing out of my insecurities. But I also know that I must do it or I will regret it forever.

I knew I had to go tell her I thought she was beautiful.

So here I am, bad hair day, running low on confidence, and I feel the nudge to walk across a crowded room, in front of the band, approach a stranger, and like a total kook, tell her I think she’s beautiful. Great. Just great.

At first, I really balked. No way was I going to do this. No effing way.

So I drank another beer and thought about it. My heart felt so full love for the moment. So in a break between songs, I gathered my courage and went for it. I walked across the room without tripping. I made it to her and here is how the conversation went:

Me: Hi. I know this is really random and you might think I’m crazy but I just want to tell you that I think you are beautiful.
Her: Me? Oh thank you. What a sweet thing to say! Bless you.
(She touched my arm.)
This is my first time to go out in years.
Me: Well you look great. There is just something about you that I noticed from across the room that glows and I knew I needed to tell you that.
Her: Oh thank you (with tears in her eyes). I was just telling my friend that I thought you were beautiful had such pretty hair.
(Then she hugged me.)
(I smiled.)
(Her friends were giving me some pretty strange looks.)
(I didn’t care.)
Me: That’s all I had to say really.
(I smiled and shrugged. Unsure of what to say next.)
(She hugged me again.)
Her: Thank you again.

Tears filled my eyes as I went back to my seat.

I pulled out my notebook and wrote about our conversation. Then I wrote this:

Now I’m the nerdy girl in her Lily dress writing in a journal. In a bar. Shit yes. This is who I am.

The memory of the last time I felt the urge to tell a stranger I thought they were beautiful came back to me. I’ll skip the details but the bottom line is that she hugged me too and told that her husband had been fading into Altzheimer’s and that she had been having a really rough time. She said it made her day to have someone tell her she is beautiful.

For the rest of the night, I didn’t care about my hair, or my dress, or just about anything else. I was alive and full of light. Completely on fire with life.

My favorite man on the planet played like a boss and on the way home patiently listened to me as I told him about what happened and how this moment made me feel so beautiful. It wasn’t about the damned dress or the hair or my nerdy little notebook. It was about being connected to the light inside and pushing past my personal barriers and feeling myself shine. He smiled and agreed. He already knows I’m a total kook. 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to read this, friend. I really appreciate your time and I hope that in some small way, it encourages you to listen to your heart, step outside of your comfort zone, and shine…

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This is me and my adorable friend Nikki on Thursday.

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The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #4

20130728-101007.jpgIt’s been four weeks since I started The Closet Countdown and the honeymoon phase is pretty much over. I still remain positive about trying it. Determined to see it through. A strange mix of optimism and stubbornness, I know. It’s working for me so far.

I miss t-shirts. I kept one of my man’s white v-neck Hanes shirts to sleep in or wear with shorts if I needed to. Love it. But I wish I had a few more. The tops I kept are versatile – I can wear most of them to work, work out, or go out. They are even comfy enough for just hanging out around the house. But I miss some of my girlie, fitted, soft cotton t-shirts. I may not get rid of t-shirts when this is over.

I also miss some of my other summer dresses. If you’ve read any of my previous updates, you know that my Lily Dress makes me very happy and is a GREAT summer dress. It’s everything I need in easy going clothing. But this week, I missed my vintage cotton dress. It’s a beautiful hassle: cotton fabric requires ironing, extra under clothing, and special washing instructions. But I still love it.

20130728-101048.jpgI think a big part of minimalism is discovering what you really need and what you don’t want to live without. There are things that hold us back and there are things that lift us up. I find joy in figuring out how that applies to each item in my closet – and my life.

On a different – and less whiny – note, I did not wear my Lily dress out this week (gasp. shock. suprise!). I did wear it to play outside with kiddos but for a change of pace, I went with another great travel gem: the Merrell Emery dress. Dinner at a friend’s house on Wednesday and then out and about to brunch and a movie on the weekend. I even slept in it because I was behind on laundry (and I don’t have any extra t-shirts). The fabric is so soft. I changed the look of the dress by adding a little thing I use to help keep my sarong in place. Not sure what it’s called but it’s made of coconut shell and has two holes. Changed the look of the dress and I loved it.

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I found another shirt I do not love. I want to love it. I really do. But it’s not a Hell Yeah. So I had to let it go. I’m down to 53 items now. Might have to go grab a couple of t-shirts to supplement. 🙂

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading, commenting, and encouraging. It helps keep me going. Cheers!

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #3

20130721-165933.jpgTwenty-one days of The Closet Countdown and I’m still doing okay. Still learning a lot. It’s how I roll.

Last week I did a little bit of walking/running and I already know I miss my athletic leggings with the nifty little pocket in the waistband. I did keep leggings but I chose a versatile style that could be used for athletics or regular apparel. No pockets. I’ll be fine…I guess. My teal skort has pockets but my black one doesn’t. Only two athletic items with pockets might get to be a little bit inconvenient.

While I’m on the subject of inconvenient, washing clothes in the shower is not working for me. I like to make showering as efficient as possible. I do not enjoy the extra time it takes to squish, rinse, roll in a towel, then hang my clothes. Lighter items like underclothes and tank tops aren’t bad but it becomes impractical when it comes to larger items like leggings and dresses. So I use the washing machine a little more frequently. I love being outside and that means sweat in the summer. I refuse to stay indoors more so I can keep my clothes cleaner longer. I have my priorities.

I continue to search for the “flow” of minimalism. Just enough simplicity to give me more freedom to focus on what matters most without creating superfluous work. I’m getting there. Slowly.

Though I do try to wear other dresses, I keep coming back to the Lily. I wore the black one twice this week. The first time was to an open mic night event at a coffee shop. I paired it with my favorite sarong as a long vest (as seen in my Mini Minimalism Experiment: Three Days One Dress).

On Saturday, I really tried to wear something different to an outdoor concert. I did that girlie thing where I tried on about five different outfits before admitting I just really wanted to wear my Lily. I was going see a band that played a combination of Motown and funk. Had to go classic little black dress.

I am so glad I did. When we got there it was raining. We set up our chairs to reserve our spot and hoped it would clear up soon. Eventually, the sun came back out and the rain clouds passed. Perfect weather for a summer evening concert. My chair, however, was soaked. I didn’t care because the Lily is made of a swimsuit-like material. I can’t say it was comfortable sitting in a damp chair but unlike a friend who came in white capris, I was fine. Especially since I love to dance. With the movement, the dress dried quickly. I seldom sat down entire night.

Next summer, I’ll buy a few more colors and wear the Lily to every event. It’s the perfect dress for travel and a life full of everyday adventures.

As always, thanks for joining me. I appreciate your time and I promise to keep you posted on my “progress”. Cheers!

P.S.

  • I’ve posted more pictures on The Closet Countdown Page.
  • The band we saw is Matchmaker Band from Austin, Texas. Excellent musicianship and super sweet crew. If you are ever in need of the best Motown/Funk band in Texas, please look them up here.

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