Stories and Trust

Last night I was in downtown San Antonio and I saw two cops with a homeless person. I and the riders I was with began talking about the homeless people and one of them used the term ‘professional panhandler’ to explain why they wouldn’t give money directly to a homeless person.

First, that’s their choice and I can respect that. But as I got to thinking about it, I realized that ‘professional panhandler’ is more of a means of survival than anything. Yes, I’ve heard stories of panhandlers on street corners getting into nice cars and driving off. But what if that nice car is all they have and they’re actually living out of it, or if there is some other circumstance that makes panhandling a means to survive? There is an old saying that appearances can be deceiving, or as I like to say, a single appearance doesn’t tell the whole story.

I was reading an article recently about homeless shelters in which homeless people described the shelters as shittier than the streets they were living on. They said these places were unsafe dumps with rules and people who were more focused on enforcing rules than making these places safe and secure in order to build trust and find solutions. And that got me thinking about how to make these places work better:

Listen to the stories people have to tell and are living, then work to earn their trust by creating a safe environment of people who will listen, and help without shame and guilt.

Because as bad as life on the streets can be, communities can be formed there, too. I’ve read interviews with homeless people who won’t leave the streets because they have people there they can trust, and because the people trying to help them haven’t done anything to earn that trust. Safety isn’t built on four-walls and roof, but from the people that live inside those four-walls-and-a-roof and take care of the people inside. It’s also people not forcing others into a box of their own choosing without listening to what that person needs or wants. And yes, homeless people can have both needs and wants because wants are hopes and dreams. Some people can spout beautiful bullshit about people needing hopes and dreams but will only apply that to people who they deem worthy.

Now another criticism I hear is how people are given a million chances and still piss on them. I know addicts can break trust repeatedly and there is a question of how many chances someone should get. That’s not a question I can answer. But I’ve read how a lot of addicts try to hide their relapses because of the shame and guilt they feel. So if someone is feeling shame and guilt because they’re human and make mistakes, I don’t think we need to pile more shame and guilt on top of that. No one can go back in time and do things over so why do we think that people who fuck up are supposed to do that? Instead, I say focus on the present and move forward because all we can do is learn from the past. We sure as hell don’t need to force someone to stay locked in the past when they’re right here now.

Now I will admit there are people out there who refuse to deal with their issues and use substance abuse or shitty behavior to avoid doing that. This to me is an absence of emotions such as empathy, compassion, and conscience. Because I feel that if you care about the world around you and the people in it, you’ll care about yourself. And caring about yourself does mean dealing with your issues and not projecting your shit about them onto the rest of the world. People who won’t deal with their crap because they can’t feel any empathy, compassion, or conscience may have to be avoided in the need for self-preservation because of that. Emotions and the ability to feel them are what makes a person human, and makes them understand their actions have consequences. So if I can sense emotions in a person and the ability to feel them, I say there is hope, and with enough time and patience, help and solutions might follow.

I think the age-old question of whether we are our brother’s keeper doesn’t have a single answer, or an easy one. But I feel we have to keep asking it, and keep working to find answers to it on an individual basis. And that’s why I always say everyone has a story to tell, a story that they’re living. If we truly listen to these stories then I think we can start to find solutions to some of the problems out there. And in order to help, we need to keep that story in mind and take patience from it when obstacles come onto the road to the answers. Because as long as we can feel empathy, compassion, and conscience in ourselves, and in others, then we can learn to trust. And with trust comes what I believe may the greatest gift to anyone: hope.

Far Enough

Last night I was with a passenger and one of the questions he asked was where I was from. I told him I was born and raised in San Antonio and his reply was, “You didn’t get very far, did you?”

Now I was in traffic so I didn’t have a way of replying to that, and in reality I’m sure for him it was an attempt at humor that he probably forgot about a minute after he said it. But I will admit here, it ticked me off. And just because I haven’t been really been too far from San Antonio doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten very far in life.

My definition of ‘far’ is not physical, but mental and emotional. Those are two things that can’t be measured in miles, or dollar signs, or by any other material means. Yes, I want to see the world and travel but if I don’t, I’ll be just fine. But I know not everyone feels the way I do, and I’m sure a lot of people view themselves as failures for not amassing wealth or travel.

This morning I woke up to the news that Anthony Bourdain, the writer and former restaurant chef had committed suicide. My heart breaks for him and his loved ones but I wonder if his immense travel was a way of trying to run from something. Because years ago, I thought about running away and never coming back. I wasn’t suicidal but thought that I would just be better off by myself as I felt like I was a failure in terms of being around people.

I’ve come to realize that my failure wasn’t entirely my fault. Yes I was, and am still a klutz verbally sometimes, especially with expressing my feelings. But I’ve come to realize that everyone else isn’t perfect either. Yet I wonder how many people struggle so hard to maintain a veneer of perfection, or a certain persona when they don’t feel that way at all. For years, I didn’t know how I was supposed to be in this world. I felt like everything I tried to do I inevitably failed at. But I look back and see that I wasn’t failing, but moving forward from things that weren’t working for me, and leaving some things behind that could have permanently harmed me.

In the eyes of certain people in this world, I’m a raging failure right now because I haven’t been anywhere, and I haven’t done anything really successful. I disagree with that because my definition of success differs from the generally accepted definition and standard, which is an accumulation of property and wealth with a healthy dose of travel thrown in.

And in addition to accumulating wealth, traveling the world doesn’t make you a better person because I’ve met people who have traveled the world and they’re still uptight, self-righteous, judgmental pricks. When they travel, they don’t see things as they are, but as they want them to be, as they think they should be. Anthony Bourdain didn’t see the world that way so when he talked about people needing to travel, it was about learning about other cultures and food. It was about seeing the world as it really is, and not what we think it should be.

And we need to remember to see ourselves as we really are, and not what some assholes in this world think we should be. We need to define success on our own terms, and stand against the voices that tell us otherwise even if we’re scared, hurting, and alone. Because that is far enough to see the light, and live for that.

 

Keep Trying (Even When It’s a Pain In the Neck- Literally)

WARNING: Bad language here today

A few days ago I kinked up my neck muscles and it’s taken me days to fully un-kink them but I still have to watch what I’m doing. This is the long-time consequence of having a seriously-crooked back like mine. Problem is, when the pain is that bad I can’t get comfortable and I can’t find a position to write in. And couple that with having trouble getting a grip on what to write… yeah, I’m sure you can see where this is going.

By the way, my neck is doing much better now.

I’ve told myself sometimes it’s hard to listen to my own advice and not think it’s total bullshit. But ‘Keep Trying’ isn’t bad advice because it’s not promising me anything. I’m not saying ‘Keep Trying and Things Will Get Better’. Some things may get better but shit will still happen. It’s getting through that shit that really counts sometimes. And I sure as hell don’t know all the ways to get through that because sometimes what’s worked in the past doesn’t work in the present.

But somehow I find the strength, fortitude, or just plain old stubborn-pride to keep going. Maybe it’s also the fact that I like a roof over my head and food in my belly that keeps me going, too. And that’s okay, in fact I think it’s more than okay to keep going out of sheer survival sometimes and not some high-and-mighty purpose. I think people should be recognized for just getting through each day in one piece because sometimes that’s all you can do. After time, though, I do believe that moments of clarity will come to show possible changes in direction. But keeping on through each and every day is momentum despite what some a-holes might say isn’t. And it’s not just that we’re all on our way to the grave together, but that until the Earth stops turning and or the sun eats our planet, that’s the way it will always be.

There is a criticism leveled at people who work long hours or multiple jobs for low pay for not doing anything other than just working so hard just to survive. Criticism is leveled at them for not going to school to get more skills, or getting a job that pays more, or not working so many hours to spend more time with their children, or not being involved in political or social activism.

To those critics I will say one thing: Fuck You.

That criticism is such a slap in the face to all those people who just are trying to get through one day at a time. Because trust me, they know there is a world beyond their own and yes, they want to be a part of that, and they want more out of life in general, and they want to do better. But running your mouth at them, hammering them with guilt or condemnation isn’t going to solve their problems. All I can do is just say ‘good job’ with the survival and keep trying to get through every day in one piece. And this is why I feel my advice sometimes is total bullshit because although my words might bring a bit of support to somebody, they’re not really doing enough to solve problems.

Maybe I’m not meant to be a problem-solver on any kind of scale, and that’s a hard thought to deal with sometimes. It’s also hard to deal with the fact that I honestly don’t think I’m reaching anyone outside of a very tiny circle of people. And I’m still afraid some critical-asshole will go after me and say that I should just keep my mouth shut and write stories or work a dead-end job then die. And worst of all, that I will back down. I hope that I won’t in the face of that bullshit but I will have a hell of a fight on my hands.

So this ‘Keep Trying Even If It Is a Pain in the Neck’ advice isn’t just keep going despite the pain, but also keep going as an act of defiance against critical-assholes. My father used to say it was pointless to beat the crap out of a drunk or an idiot and he was right. But I would also add it’s pointless to go after someone who runs their damn mouth at you then walks away and forgets what they said five minutes later. Being afraid to write this down and get that kind of shit is what holds me back. And it’s what I have to ‘Keep Trying’ to fight against.

So I’m posting this now before I can change my mind and edit this down any further.

Little Girl Lost and Found

This is just a bit from something I’m working on, a non-fiction book that’s like a memoire/self-help thing. I’ve been struggling with it for quite a while but I got a little something yesterday that seems to be working for me.

The book is going to be called ‘Breaking Radio Silence’ and this is about something that happened a little while back:

Chapter One:

Pride and Imagination Flashdance-Style

 

Little Girl Lost and Found

 

For the longest time, I couldn’t listen to the song ‘Flashdance (What a Feeling!)’ by Irene Cara. And here’s why:

When I was in elementary school in the early 1980’s, every day in gym class we started out doing exercises to this song. And since I was shy, fat, and so klutzy I gave new meaning to the term, I was always at the back of the class struggling to keep up. So after so long being at the back of the class trying to keep up and failing miserably, I grew to hate this song. But before those awful months in that huge gym, I loved that song and that movie in all its’ cheesy Eighties glory.

So for over thirty years every time that song came on the radio, I immediately changed the station. Because every time that song came on, I was thrown back in that awful gym struggling to keep up with everyone else.

But that all changed about three months ago when I was driving in heavy traffic one morning and I couldn’t change the radio station. The song came on and it brought a smile to my face because I suddenly remembered the movie and hearing the song for the first time instead of being in that shitty gym class. So when I got home I decided to play it again while I made breakfast. I turned it on and when I got to this line in the song, ‘All alone I have cried/Silent tears full of pride’, I lost it.

Yes, I stood over a plate of breakfast tacos listening to a thirty-plus year-old song while bawling my brains out. But that was a moment I needed to go through in order to find my love of this song again, and take back something that had been stolen from me.

And what was stolen from me?

The hope and joy of being a child and feeling like dreams could come true.

Back then, I was terribly shy, fat, and I gave new meaning to the term ‘klutzy’. Right there those three things were not a recipe for social success and from as far back as I could remember, I never fit in anywhere because of that. I knew I was different, and that different wasn’t good. Because no matter how hard I tried to fit in, I could never figure it out and failed miserably.

But in in my imagination, I wasn’t the shy, fat, klutzy little girl that I was. I was a bright shining star who was going to dance her way to a bright future though maybe not literally dance. I loved that imaginary me very much and her world was where I retreated more often than not.

Yet every day in that shit-hole of a gym, I began to lose hold of that imaginary world and that little girl who lived there quit dancing. The song became a daily reminder that I would never fit in, that I would never be a dancer, and that I would always be at the back of the class.

But after that fateful morning in my little kitchen after bawling over my breakfast tacos, I found that little girl inside me. She’d been still and quiet for a long, long time but eventually she trusted me enough to take my hand. I told her it was alright to feel like she could dance in her mind, and that there was nothing wrong with her. And as I began to get to know her again, I realized she had never given up on her dreams even though she’d been silent for so long.

I hadn’t realized my silence went back that far until that day I got that song back in my heart.

Chapter One Intro PDF

Keep Trying

Sometimes all you can do is keep trying, and sometimes that just means getting out of bed and going to work. It’s survival mode sometimes and definitely not how anyone wants to live. And I hate to say it, when I get in that mode it becomes a downward spiral of resentment that creeps into hopelessness.

Case in point: I didn’t make as much money as I wanted to this weekend and I don’t know if my mojo was messed up, or I wasn’t in the right place at the right time. But that was neither here nor there as I just had to shut up and deal with it. I packed it in on Saturday night and woke up early Sunday morning thinking I’d just bury my face in the pillow and wallow in my misery. But I saw the time and remembered the Monaco Grand Prix was on. So I turned the tv on and was so glad I did.

This year’s race was won by Daniel Ricciardo racing for the Red Bull Aston Martin team. Now Daniel had the pole position, fastest times in practice and qualifying and it looked like he was on his smiley-way to the podium. Then around lap 20 he comes over the radio and says he’s losing engine power. I of course screamed, “NO!” at the tv since previous issues with power usually took him out of the race altogether. But he and the team refused to take the car out unless the car died. Instead, they worked together to nurse the car to the finish and the win. It wasn’t the way they wanted to win the race but the result was the same.

So that’s a lesson here: sometimes life may not go the way we want it to, but if we get to where we need to go, or want to go, then it’s worth it. I know life isn’t a race and not all races are won. But the races that are won sometimes aren’t easy. I know hard shit is a pain the ass (pardon the pun here), but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

I’m proud of myself for not getting into a one-legged ass-kicking contest with myself over going radio-silent again and just retreating into a hidey-hole somewhere. I snapped out of that downward spiral last night and I’m feeling better this morning because of it. The boogey-man monsters in my mind aren’t real and I don’t need to give them any energy to try and take over. I live one day at a time with an eye on the future and that’s okay. Things don’t always go to plan but you have to keep on going. It sucks sometimes but I was told from as far back as I could remember that life wasn’t going to be easy.

How to Avoid Info-Dumping By Asking Why

A common problem among writers is info-dumping, which is putting a ton of information on the page that slows your story down. Two common forms of info-dumping are in descriptions and dialogue that doesn’t advance the plot or character development of the story.

Here’s an example of info-dumping that does nothing to advance the story or show the reader anything meaningful about the character:

The house was set back a ways from the road, two-stories of stone with cream-white walls and black trim. The lawns were expansive, lush, and green. In the driveway were two very expensive cars, a Lexus and a Mercedes. He stepped inside the house with its’ high ceilinged foyer and richly-patterned rug underneath him. To his right was a huge living room that was bigger than his entire apartment, and there was the man who had called him to come here in the first place with a job offer.

Why is this considered info-dumping?

It’s a very basic description that doesn’t have any real emotion behind it. The sentence structures are written saying this-and-that with no reason as to why the character notices these details. If the purpose is to set the scene, it needs to be done in order to give the reader an insight into the character.

So how can we rewrite that previous paragraph to keep it from sounding like an info-dump?

Let’s get into our character’s head and see and feel things from his point of view.

He couldn’t believe a house could be set so far back from the road in the heart of San Antonio as he got out of his car and stepped onto the grass, sinking a little into the lush green as he made his way up to the house. He stepped inside and looked up at two-stories of open space then saw off to his right was a single room that was larger than his entire apartment. And in that room was the man who said he had the job of a lifetime to offer him, and by the looks of the house around him, the job could come with more money than he’d ever made before.

 

But at what price?

 

He stepped into the room to find out.

As you can see with the rewrite I started off the first two sentences with ‘He’ so we’re in our character’s POV. So instead of saying ‘The house was set back’ we hear the character’s thought about that (‘He couldn’t believe a house could be set so far back…’).

This first sentence shows that this house won’t be like anything our POV character has seen before. And why would that be? The answer to that needs to be a part of your story and that’s why you need to have not only the physical descriptions, but also your character’s thoughts and feelings about what they’re seeing. And most of all, there needs to be a hook after the initial setup to show WHY the character is in this setting but without stating every detail of that, too.

Another type of info-dumping can happen is when there is a lot of dialogue that has very little to break it up like the example here:

“What’s your name?”

“Mark.” He replied without looking up at her.

“So, what were you doing here?”

“Guarding a group of executives visiting the oil fields down here.”

“Oh, so where are they?”

“They’re safe.”

Here’s a rewrite of the previous set of dialogue to break it up a little and put a little internal reaction to it.

“What’s your name?” Jillian asked as she studied her rescuer.

“Mark.” He didn’t look up at her as he rummaged through the backpack he’d been carrying.

“So, uh, what were you doing here?”

“Guarding a group of executives visiting the oil fields.” Mark sat back a little but still didn’t look up at her.

“Oh, so where are they?”

“They’re safe.”

Well, that was good, Jillian thought to herself. And even though she felt like Mark was being honest with her, she wasn’t sure how much he might be holding back, either .

In my rewrite, I wanted to show was that Jillian was trying to learn more about the situation and Mark was barely cooperating. And though she felt like Mark was being honest with her, she also has a suspicion he might not be telling her everything either. And that suspicion creates a question of WHY that would be, which in turn will keep the story going for the reader.

And that single question, WHY, is the most crucial to ask with anything you write. Because in order to get a reader interested in your story, you want them to be asking WHY things are happening in the story. You want to show them through the character’s actions, thoughts, and feelings what’s going on in the story so if you put something on the page, it has to be the character’s POV, not yours (the author).

In conclusion, here are some points to remember to avoid info-dumping:

Keep things in your character’s POV at all times. Read your sentences back and if they are basic declarative sentences with no POV insight from your character then rewrite.

You can ‘show’ and not ‘tell’ by letting dialogue and your POV character’s reaction set the scene and not inject yourself (the author) into the scene as a third-person narrator.

Make sure your scenes will get your readers asking WHY. This will make them want to know what happens next, which is how you hold your reader’s interest all the way to the end.

How to Avoid Info-Dumping By Asking Why pdf

Not Giving Up, Or Giving In

I had this thought when I got into my car this morning after a trip to HEB (to get a few things and come out $2 under the budget I’d set for this trip). And the reason I started with ‘sometimes’ is that I want anyone reading this to know that it’s okay to have shitty feelings even if you’ve gotten through whatever crap life decided to throw at you. I don’t ever want anyone to feel like they can’t have negative emotions at all, or that they can’t call ‘bullshit’ on the crap that life likes to throw out on a regular basis, too.

But I will say this: don’t gorge yourself on the bad emotions either, or feel like you have to have them more than the good ones. If you feel something good, don’t try and kick it out yourself or let anyone else do that to you. You can’t control anyone else’s mood so don’t let anyone else do the same to you. And don’t feel like you have to be a certain way to fit in with the crowd because the crowd is made up of imperfect people just like you even if they act like they never make a mistake, or take a shit that stinks up the bathroom on occasion.

I will say that in the last few days I’ve been very tired, hurting, and all-around pissed off at damn near everything. And I hate feeling like that even though I know it’s perfectly alright to feel that way and it means I’m human. But I don’t want to walk around feeling like that forever. So getting up today and not feeling so bad helped me and I decided to run with that instead of moping around. My life is far from perfect but it’s on a track I can change speed and direction on, too.

And changing direction and speed was the catalyst to the thought I had for today. My mind doesn’t really ever shut down except if I’m in a deep sleep. It’s a major pain in the ass sometimes to have thoughts and ideas constantly tearing about in my head along with my over-active imagination. But from time to time, a thought of clarity comes out and I really like that feeling.

So it’s okay to think and feel like shit. Just don’t give in to it, and don’t surrender to it either. That’s not an easy thing to do but then my father always used to tell me, life would never be easy for me but it’s worth living through.

Faith: It’s What You Put Into It

I was feeling a bit down this morning because of things like a perpetually-tight bank account and some body aches and pains that just didn’t seem to want to go away. Of course I told myself to have faith that this crap won’t last forever, followed by the thought that I just needed to keep working towards my goals despite feeling like I’ve gone ten rounds with Godzilla and lost. Then I had this thought: Faith is what you put into it.

My grandmother used to say you either had faith your didn’t, no two ways about it. For a while I didn’t quite agree with that as I thought it didn’t take into account the gray areas of life. I still see those gray areas, but I also see there aren’t many of them. I’m beginning to think that gray areas are mostly indecision, fear, along with pessimism and cynicism where there shouldn’t be.

I want to do better in my life, and I know that I have to work for that. I just can’t curl up in bed and sleep it off like I want to. And by the way, I’m feeling better now that I’m working on this and have gotten up and moved a little. But understand that I’m NOT saying that just getting up and moving is a be-all-end-all solution, either. Those absolute solutions don’t exist at all but faith in finding a way to solve problems does, and that does take into account those times when you just have to sleep it off.

So faith is not only the effort you put into it, but not being too hard on yourself either. Temper that faith with kindness and generate hope and optimism, but keep the cynicism going because there are people and things in the world that deserve to be called out for their stupidity and bullshit.

But as I’ve thought about this idea this morning I’ve begun to realize this is a part of that ‘breaking radio silence’ thing I’ve got going on. In fact, I think I might have found the sub-title for the book with this ‘faith is what you put into it’. The subtitle I’m considering is ‘finding faith in myself through the past and present for the future’ (a bit wordy but worth considering).

This is definitely something I’ll be thinking on for quite a while so stay tuned.

Four Seasons of South Texas (article)

I have heard many times that there are only two seasons in South Texas: hot and not so hot. I don’t believe that because it does get below ninety degrees after September and the trees do change colors.

But how do you know the seasons have changed?

I know it’s Spring when I see the first bluebonnets along the side of the road. Spring is a sea of wildflowers and trees budding out along with grass turning green. It’s mornings that have a bit of nip in the air and afternoons that are warm but not too hot. Though if you’ve lived in South Texas for more than a year or two you know to be on the lookout for that last cold front that drops temperatures fifty degrees in one afternoon along with a blast of cold rain. But once that last cold front moves through, it’s blue skies and sun all the time.

Then there is summer, the most famous season in South Texas. Summer is blazing blue skies with a side of haze, and humidity that makes you want to wring out the air. That first blast of heat ignites a burning desire for cold drinks, water parks, and fun. The grass is green if we’ve had rain and brown dust if we haven’t. You see yellow lantana blooms along with hibiscus and bougainvillea in every planter in the city. It’s the smell of barbeque, cold beer and margaritas at every party. It’s ice cream and raspas, shorts and flip flops. And if all else fails, you can find someplace with air-conditioning to get out of the heat.

Fall comes later in this part of the hemisphere though you know it’s here when there’s a chill in the mornings and the afternoons aren’t as hot. It’s traveling through the Hill Country and seeing the trees changing color and the grass turning to light-brown and swaying in the fall winds as you drive to the Hill Country. Then there’s that first blue ‘Norther cold front, and the burnt dust smell when you turn on your heater for the first time. It’s also time to put away the flip flops and pull out the socks.

Finally, Winter comes. Temperatures stay below burning-hot and above bracing cold unless a cold front has blown through. Winter is snuggling in coats as you shop or take in the lights on the Riverwalk. It’s also abundant sunshine on Christmas so kids can go outside and play with all their new toys. It’s bright blue sky, star-filled skies at night, and tamales and sweets at every party in town.

The seasons do change in South Texas in sight and smell, sound and delight. And all you have to do to see that is look at the changing colors and savor the delights of each season. And remember, the cold never lasts more than a few days.

Unlike the heat….

Four Seasons of South Texas

What Does My Stuff Say About Me?

Earlier, I made a comment elsewhere (www.facebook/superubergirl) about people and the types of cars they drive, specifically big pickup trucks and SUV’s. A lot of those drivers are jerks behind the wheel and I always say they have to be compensating for something, or a lack of something.

But it got me thinking about what my stuff might be saying about me? For the most part I think my stuff, and lack of, would say that I’m a poor slob who’s an idiot. I am a poor slob but if someone thinks I’m an idiot just based on my stuff (or lack of stuff), then they’re the idiot. Because here’s what I think my stuff, and lack of, really says about me:

My car: It’s a bright-red 2015 Ford Focus. For me, it’s about driving something that’s good on gas but roomy enough for people and their luggage. It’s also about having a little fun because of the color and size. Also, I like to think it means that I don’t need a ton of car around me on the road. I don’t feel the need to drive some huge-ass urban tank (as I like to call big SUV’s and pickup trucks). We don’t live in a war-zone and I don’t need that much space for people and stuff. I know I probably shouldn’t judge people who drive big vehicles but in reality I have to wonder how much of that space gets used on a regular basis. Because if it’s sitting empty most of them while that monster-truck wannabe burns enough gas to eat some atmosphere, then I think it’s a severe depreciation of value.

Lack of stuff: Right now, I only have my clothes, a few odds and ends, and my pets’ stuff with me and in storage just boxes of books, photos, and a few pieces of furniture. When I had an apartment full of stuff, I wanted to get rid of it all. Granted, a lot of it was way past its’ prime but even then, I still wanted it gone. For me, stuff seems to grow like kudzu and be an invasive species that wants to take over my space. Maybe some day I’ll feel differently but right now, any type of clutter or being in a place where I can bump into things makes me want to turn tail and run.

I won’t tell someone how to live or how to have a relationship with stuff. But for me, being without a lot of things hasn’t hurt me. I know that everyone can’t live like this either, and I didn’t know if I could until I had to but I’ve decided I like it. A lot. So much so I’m not sure if I’ll ever acquire a lot of stuff again. This is also why I do keep the idea of living in a box on wheels in mind because a small space like that would prevent clutter.

Because for me, I’ve come to realize that I want space and freedom more than a house (or apartment) with stuff again. I’m not ruling out the possibility of ever settling down again but right now, I don’t see that happening. I’d like the financial security that comes with a job and a place to only pay for once a month. But I sure as heck don’t miss the clutter and always-rising cost of living associated with that, either. Maybe I’ll figure out how to live in a set space without letting stuff-clutter grow like kudzu someday. And maybe I won’t. But most of all, no matter what happens with or without my stuff, I’ll always try to find a way to be happy.