creativity

My Barbie Doll Was A Minimalist

The ugly duckling is a misunderstood universal myth. It’s not about turning into a blonde Barbie doll or becoming what you dream of being; it’s about self-revelation, becoming who you are.
Baz Luhrman

Greetings! While on my simplicity quest, I often take tiny detours down memory lane. It’s part of the process for me. It helps slow me down a little because I have a tendency to rush ahead at full speed.

Sometimes, I remember things we lost in the fire. The memories skitter across my mind in random moments of thought. In this case, I was pondering a wardrobe that could go from day to night with only a few, minor changes. (Shocker that I would think about such things, right?).

Then I remembered my favorite Barbie Doll. Day to Night Barbie. Since I’m pretty sure she’s gone on to Barbie heaven, I did a little Google searching. Oh. My. Word. I think it was an early sign from the universe. An unexpected teacher with plastic skin, blond hair, and painted blue eyes…and an outfit that went from work to play in a matter of seconds.

Let me put this out there before I go on. With as much flak as Barbie gets for creating unrealistic physical goals for young girls I stand on the other side. Firmly. It’s just a doll. Just like my cloth baby doll. I learned to dress her and change her diaper. It’s a toy.

I’m in my thirties and have no desire to change from brown hair to blonde or hazel eyes to blue. In fact, I want more muscle tone than my Barbie had :). (I also had an early eighties fitness Barbie – bright blue body suit, legwarmers, and headband. Oh yeah…)

If anything, playing with my Barbie Dolls helped me decide what I liked about me. What colors and styles I preferred. What life I might choose to have. And like the Baz Luhrmann quote states, it’s not about becoming her, it’s about becoming me.

How was my Barbie Doll a minimalist? She could go from a day at the office to a night on the town by removing her jacket and hat and reversing her skirt. Genius. I’m still totally inspired. To help you have a better idea of what I mean, I’ve gathered a couple pictures and commercials I found. I had both the doll and the home and office set. Seriously.

20130910-060335.jpg  20130910-060310.jpg

Did you enjoy those? I know I did! During my search, I found another Barbie from my past that I had quite forgotten. But now that I see her – and the many ways she can wear one dress combination – I’m not surprised that she was mine as well. Dream Date Barbie.

20130910-060354.jpg 20130910-060421.jpg 20130910-060443.jpg 20130910-060541.jpg

One skirt, many options. Oh yes! See that sequined tube top thing? I made it into a skirt and added a tank top. Yep, early signs of a versatile wardrobe addiction…

Thank you, dear reader for taking this tiny trip down memory lane with me. I’m a bit of a nutter but if you can stand it, then I’m glad you are here. Cheers to you, wherever you are and to your wardrobe – may it always reflect who you are inside. 🙂

Advertisements

Confessions of a People Pleaser

20130816-141631.jpg

‘You want to know how I did it? This is how I did it, Anton: I never saved anything for the swim back.’
– Vincent (Ethan Hawke’s Character) from Gattaca

Writing about minimalism has been quite an experience for me. It’s like my soul needed to get rid of all the physical crap covering my dreams. There were reasons I buried them. Deep, personal reasons. I didn’t know it until I started digging and purging and writing. The more I pull away the clutter of my life, the more I must deal with those reasons.

In keeping with my commitment to remain transparent in my writing, I have a confession: I have this constant, inner-nagging to start a money-making blog. “Do what you love” they scream from flashing banners and obtrusive adverts, “and you can be rich.” I constantly go back to my own post about Making Money Online to remind myself that it takes time…and money does not pour in from the sky as I write about my personal struggle with releasing boxes of junk from my attic.

Still my little brain continues to buzz with ideas and strategies.

Which brings me to my second confession: I’ve been holding back. I have ideas and topics I want to write about and decide to “save them for my someday blog.” (You know, the one I’ll create and from which I will instantly get millions of viewers and huge commission checks?) And here is where I argue with my teenage self (my self-righteous, know-it-all teenage self who thought I should always have a very “noble” job) and tell her that I want to write about clothes.

Yes, clothes.

Not saving children in third world countries or how to live without plastic. But clothes. And not just any clothes. Adventure clothes. Clothes that can go from home to work to play. Clothes that travel the world or to the grocery store and still look great. I believe that all of life is an adventure.

It’s one of those dreams I found while digging. Letting it lie dormant was an early lesson in impressing people. When I said I wanted a career in fashion, people often nodded and smiled. When I changed my answer to “lawyer” I got a lot more interest and encouragement. So from then on, I dedicated my little soul to making sure my answer impressed people. Even if my heart wasn’t in it…and I intentionally hid my desire to do anything with clothing as a way to make a living.

But here I am, surrounded by people who choose to read what I write. Encouraging, wonderful, beautiful people. People like you who love to write and explore and discover the dreams we left behind. You don’t seem to mind my strange hue of sunshine. It’s a new, beautiful place. I love it. I don’t have to impress you with my words. I just have to be sincere.

Clothes sincerely fascinate me. I love how lines, and fit, and color, and fabric can highlight our best (or worst) features. I love discovering new ways to wear a sarong. I love figuring out how to coordinate five items into twenty different outfits. Versatility. Quality. Comfort. Function. Style. I love all of this about clothes.

I’m tired of letting my old need to impress people keep it buried.

So from here on out, I’m not going to hold back. Clothes are a big part of my simplicity quest and I have much to share on the subject. I read other blogs (about clothes) that I want to share with you. I want to learn more about the science of style and the beautiful differences in our body shapes and tell you what I find. I will continue to praise the Lily Dress but I want to explore other items I might consider essential. I’m so excited. I’m smiling as I type.

I come full circle with another confession (and a bit of surprise to myself): I don’t care if I make a dime writing about it.

It feels so much better when I don’t hold back. And when I don’t apologize for who I am, what I love, and what I want to write about.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this. It is my heart and soul poured out into words…

20130816-141528.jpg

Minimalism and Buried Treasure

20130801-101959.jpg

“It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.”
– Jane Fonda

As I sift and dig through the past, I find that I’ve collected a lot of things I don’t need – physically and mentally. Junk. Weighing me down. Slowing me down. Since my last big epiphany regarding minimalism and mental clutter, I’ve learned to enjoy the process a little more. For the first time ever, I’m living an intentional life. I’m less afraid of what I’ll find because I know that on the other side is freedom.

Recently, I found two bits of treasure in my digging. Little things to a stranger’s eye. But worth so much in my heart. After years of setting them aside, they just got buried beneath my busy life. I don’t know what to do with them yet. I’ve moved on so far that they are dusty and old. I’m older. But I believe that it’s not too late to live your dreams.

Both are from a distant past. But both remind me that my simplicity quest is not about getting rid of everything. That’s actually pretty easy. The hard part is deciding what to keep. Sifting through junk and dreams to find out what matters most to me. Belly dance matters. Love of writing poetry matters. I found the hip scarves in an old, unlabeled box in a cabinet this morning. The love of poetry I found in a coffee shop last week. Unfinished dreams worth keeping…

(Because of this post I decided to go ahead and post the poem I wrote. Lauren’s is the only blog I follow that is about writing. She is sincere, encouraging, and seems to know what she’s talking about. She inspires me to be a better writer. So Lauren, if you read this, thank you…)

Open Mic Night

I’m mesmerized
by this woman’s voice.
Whatever it is that real singers
with real talent have,
she’s got it.

Everyone knows it
in this tiny coffee shop –
a room full of broken souls.

So clear, so rich
her art reaches out.
It’s so pure…

I will never sing like this woman.

After twelve years
of public school choir
and many more years
singing Chain of Fools in the shower
I still don’t have what she has.
Even if I hired a tutor,
reserved an auditorium,
and sang with all my heart,
I could not come close
to what she brings.

Something inside me is angry.

Envious.

Not because she can sing.
But because she doesn’t have to look
to find her magic special something.
She just opens her soul
and there it is.

And me?
I’m still searching.
While I write.
While I run.
While I see the perfect beauty
in the faces of the people around me.

And someday,
when I find it…

I won’t hold back.
I’ll sit on a stool
on life’s little stage
in some remote corner of the world;
room full of strangers.

I will open my soul.
Whatever I’ve found
will shine out
and light up the night.
A reminder to all
to keep searching…

It’s never too late
to find your voice.

Beautiful Boundaries

The following is an excerpt from a Delancy Place newsletter that my SSS (Super Smart Sweetheart) shared with me. It struck something in my minimalism-hungry soul and I knew I had to share it.

In today’s selection — in any endeavor, whether writing a book, starting a business, designing a house, or creating a recipe, narrowing the options is one of the hardest things to do. Self-editing is one of the most difficult forms of self discipline:

“In this age of information abundance and overload, those who get ahead will be the folks who figure out what to leave out, so they can concentrate on what’s really important to them. Nothing is more paralyzing than the idea of limitless possibilities. The idea that you can do anything is absolutely terrifying.

“The way to get over creative block is to simply place some constraints on yourself. It seems contradictory, but when it comes to creative work, limitations mean freedom. Write a song on your lunch break. Paint a painting with only one color. Start a business without any start-up capital. Shoot a movie with your iPhone and a few of your friends. Build a machine out of spare parts. Don’t make excuses for not working — make things with the time, space, and materials you have, right now.

“The right constraints can lead to your very best work. My favorite example? Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat with only 236 different words, so his editor bet him he couldn’t write a book with only 50 different words. Dr. Seuss came back and won the bet with Green Eggs and Ham, one of the bestselling children’s books of all time.”

‘Telling yourself you have all the time
in the world, all the money in the world,
all the colors in the palette, anything
you want — that just kills creativity.’

-Jack White

Author: Austin Kleon
Title: Steal Like An Artist
Publisher: Workman
Date: Copyright 2012 by Austin Kleon
Pages: 137-138

Hope this inspires you the way it inspired me. I love the beauty of the boundaries we create for ourselves with minimalism and seeking out a simple life. “The right constraints can lead to your very best work.” I think the right constraints can lean to your very best life.

Cheers to you dear reader! May your boundaries ever increase your creativity…