I think anyone who reads for pleasure can understand the impact a great book can have. I can’t be the only person who has deemed some written words as life-changing. The first book I ever read that profoundly hit me was Milan Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” It resonated with me on a raw level; the novel version of a Bright Eyes song. It still sits with me. Since then, “Eat, Pray, Love” helped me through a breakup and reminding me to live my life for myself, and this year, I’ve stumbled upon two literary works that have definitely changed my year and potentially my life. (I know, I’m so dramatic.)
“The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo took the wisps of minimalism efforts in the back of my mind to the forefront of my life early this year. I was struggling with anxiety that manifests in clutter and the intense need to have a serene space whenever I was overwhelmed. Naturally, the whole idea of throwing most of your shit away seemed like a great idea. The next week I threw every item of clothing I owned on the floor of my bedroom, blasted a Spotify playlist, and chugged some wine while I put the majority of my wardrobe into the “get rid of” pile. It just didn’t bring me joy. And, yes, reading the book, the concept sounds so dumb. Bras and boy drama and bills don’t bring me joy, so let’s just chuck it out the window… yeah, right, we can’t all live the trust-fund-lesbian-hippie life. But, seriously…
Once I started applying the idea to things in my life that are easy to think bring you joy and happiness, you start realizing the physical, emotional, and mental clutter you hold on to out of obligation instead of enjoyment.
So, embracing a more minimalist lifestyle helped me deal with my anxiety and focus my life on things I actually care about. But when you’ve pared down your life so much that even your essentials are now shifting (see my job-quitting and failing love life) away from you, how do you cope? How do I handle that level of minimalism? Like, the I-own-a-toothbrush-and-could-go-to-California-tomorrow freedom that only comes with stripping everything away first?
“milk and honey” by Rupi Kaur. If you are a female, this book needs to be in your purse. Not just read (it will take you under an hour), not just on your bookshelf… this little black and white quad of poetry is essentially a manual for emotions during periods of hurting, loving, breaking, and healing. Every page I turned, my emotions seemed to be plucked from the absolute depths of my soul and smeared into words on paper by someone I had never met, yet somehow knew the intricacies of my confusing heart. I don’t buy books (the whole minimalism thing means the library comes in handy), but the second I saw a poem from “milk and honey” I bought it off Amazon, and read it the night it came in the mail. That was last night, and since then I’ve re-read excerpts this morning and thought about it all day. I’m not religious, but I am technically Catholic, so I feel a little guilty comparing it to a bible of feminism, strength, empowerment, and sisterhood.
When you are hurting, loving, healing, breaking apart, doubting, and building yourself back up, there will be a poem that speaks your heart.