I RIDE FOR MARIE KONDO because her method has quite literally revolutionized my life. The critiques I've seen online the last couple of weeks have left me upset and even offended. I chalk it up to my observation that Americans are so good at holding onto the limiting mindset of, "If I don't understand it, I don't like it, and I will then dismiss it," especially if it comes from a woman, let alone a woman of color from another country.
Marie does not demand or order anyone to get rid of anything they don't want to. She is very clear about giving a person full control over their things and how they feel about them. She does not judge why people keep the things they do, and when someone is stuck deciding she asks, "Do you want to bring this with you to the future?" This question is important because it circles back to her initial ask of, "Why do you want to tidy?"
Clearly, she understands humans operate from a place of emotion and not reason, more often than not. (Emotions, not policy or reason, are also why we vote the way we do!) As someone who has held onto something as unnecessary as receipts for their "sentimental value," KonMari has completely revolutionized the way I think about stuff and my self-worth tied to consumerism. I didn't really think I had a problem until a couple close friends came over one evening and exasperatedly said, "Wow, Denise, you have a lot of stuff. I feel overwhelmed, honestly."
My mom is someone who shows her love by giving gifts. She is a wonderful parent and I have never doubted how much she cares for and loves my brother and I. My apartment is a testament to all of the things she has "loaned" me, bought or brought over because she thought I'd need them. How often have I gone to a store and thought, "Wow, I absolutely NEED this"? How often have I felt insecure and down and remedied my feelings with retail therapy?
Through my KonMari process, I've realized many things other people think I might need often aren't needed and go unused. Things I thought I needed or bought to feel better about myself and my ability and freedom to buy them, have been buried somewhere in a cupboard or in the back of one of my closets. In the last couple of weeks, I have given clothes and other items away that do not bring me joy anymore. It's been extremely emotional for me to go through some pieces as the memories flood back to who I was when I wore them. Marie Kondo's method of holding and thanking each item has been the most helpful action in understanding and releasing my emotional ties. As I hold and reflect on items I've kept because they were gifts, I have begun to recognize how truly loved I am. I refused to part with many gifts because I felt disrespectful and ungrateful for this sentiment of love. KonMari's core belief of respecting our things has helped me transform my mindset of feeling gratitude for these gifts from others and items bought for myself, then allow them to move on and out of my space.
The most ironic part of the thanking step challenges how I have been actively working on allowing people to come into my life, serve whatever purpose was to be fulfilled at the time, and have the ability to let go with grace when we outgrew or moved on in our relationship. So why was it so hard for me to do this with inanimate objects, junk even? I'm still trying to figure this out and I imagine maybe the answer will come to me as I process through the rest of the method. Currently, I still need to go through my shoes and purses before I can move on to books.
All-in-all, I truly feel like Marie Kondo's method came into my life at the exact right moment. My WHY for tidying reflects the growth I want to cultivate in myself, my relationship with Anthony, and respect for my living spaces. When shopping, it has helped me re-think why I am buying something. Before I used to think, "Do I need this?" and I would do mental and emotional gymnastics to justify the purchase. Now I think, "Is this item going to bring me joy or serve a purpose beyond my current state?"
If you're ready for a challenge and opportunity to truly upgrade your life, I am a staunch supporter and believer in Marie Kondo and her philosophy. For those who are intimidated by the challenge, please know it is hard and time-consuming, but the peace and pride I already feel is worth the effort. I'm excited to see and show you all the final outcome of my tidied space.
My family and I went to Cornerstone for much of the beginning of my life. I always liked going because it was opulent, huge and beautiful. I was too young to understand the service, but I remember especially liking the Christmas midnight mass.
The ritual made it special and I learned about Christ. I genuinely love(d) him. I spent most of my life feeling an immense connection to my religion and my spiritual energy in this way. I applied my feelings at church with every day life in good and bad ways. I enjoyed going there until after 9/11 when the weird fire & brimstone-esque Zionism began. The fun and poignant parables became dark productions of instilling fear and supporting war. It made me deeply question many things because it made me so uncomfortable and angry. I can’t recall being back since.
At a younger, more ignorant, age/time, I used my beliefs as something that made me “better” than others and judged them instead of being secure within myself.
It took going to an extremely conservative Christian college to recognize that most of the culture of Christianity there wasn’t how I aligned. (If you’ve seen “Saved!” then you might, kind of understand, except sprinkle in serious racism, homophobia, and sexism.) However, I did learn a lot of historical and social context of the Gospel, and it transformed my faith into something else. It gave me a perspective that dispelled pretty much nearly everything I was taught to believe. Most importantly, I made friends with some of the kindest, most selfless and intelligent people I’ve ever met. They taught me more about being a loving person and being critical of oppression than anything I’d experienced. I later abandoned my faith completely in hurt and defiance.
Church was never a place to feel safe for me. I always felt uncomfortable and on guard. Since being in social justice spaces, I have found my spiritual root again. It began by working with people of all backgrounds, and calling violent things what they *were* and what they *are* instead of letting violence define our every day lives. It sprouted from my understanding of Christ as a leader within known historical context. I’m still learning and it’s truly awesome.
The more I learn of Jesus as a man, the more I understand and feel compelled to learn about his context, the more I find leaders throughout time who worked from various embodiments of radical love and actually changed many things for the better. I know many, many people in my community who are these selfish and strong leaders because they genuinely don’t want anyone to suffer or feel without. I also found a deeper connection in the part of my spirituality I could never explain in words, but felt deeply, always, through more indigenous, non-Christian, spiritual beliefs.
We are now, “officially,” in the Christmas season. Within this season we’ve already seen children terrorized with gas while seeking asylum. Similar gas that’s been used in Palestine and various uprisings here in the US, like Standing Rock and Ferguson. It is similar gas activists had to create “first aid” info documents online for, which included items like milk of magnesia because it washes out the searing pain from eyes easier and allows for inflammation to subside to breathe.) Did anyone forget the Christmas story is precisely about two refugees seeking safety elsewhere from their homes to ensure a life for their unborn child?
Meanwhile, just a few days ago, 27 members of a North Carolina Methodist church were arrested for blocking an ICE van after a member of their congregation was apprehended.
In the Netherlands, there is a congregation that has been holding service for 27 days so an Armenian family can’t be deported. Many Muslim organizations have been fundraising and gathering supplies of medical aid and food for refugees. These are folks living in accordance to their faiths. The best thing about most major religions is the common belief in treating others how you treat yourself.
We have a lot of reflecting to do as citizens of earth, and not just our respective little corners of it. If you consider yourself “religious” or not, I implore you question the things you believe and why you believe them. Why do you look up to the people you do? What can you do to be kinder and more just? How can you inspire others to be this way also?
Today begins early voting in Texas and people are already showing up in record numbers to the polls. To say I'm excited is an understatement! I believe in the power of voting as one means of enacting people power. We have much more direct work to do to see the changes we desperately need and want, but please understand voting is a piece of that large, complicated puzzle.
Check out a Bexar County Sample Ballot
Propositions A,B,C City of San Antonio Charter
I am voting NO on all 3. If approved, these props will affect every San Antonian - I believe negatively. If you'd like more information about the propositions please check out this Google Doc of info I gathered while I was researching:
Not So Easy As ABC
If you'd like to see the videos I did in collab with The DownMarket, check out all three here:
Hard Pills Series
Vote for Beto. A moldy sock would be better than Ted Cruz, but luckily O'Rourke seems like a candidate in this current political climate that I can get behind and not feel sleezy about. He has gone to every county in Texas and has an extremely well-thought platform of issues. You can check them out here, on his website. He is pro-women's rights (isn't it sad that's even a position to take?), doesn't believe children should be in cages (again, how is this even up for debate?), and understands how diverse and powerful Texas is.
This vote is extremely important because Texas is a major influencer in US politics. If Democrats with a platform like Beto's can be elected and hold this current administration to task, we as people with morality and sense, have a better shot of turning this dumpster fire around. Mid-terms are critical to regaining power after the horror that was the 2016 election.
District 20 - (re-elect) Joaquin Castro
District 21 - Joseph Kopser
District 23 - Gina Ortiz-Jones (please get Will Hurd out of there!)
District 35 - (re-elect) Lloyd Doggett (Lloyd is one of the most amazing, people-centric politicians I've ever seen. He is at so many events and is always willing to talk and listen. He stands up to the Trump administration every chance he gets. He is a true champion!)
Governor - Lupe Valdez (Greg Abbott has GOT TO GO!!!)
Lieutenant Governor - Mike Collier (THIS OFFICE IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAT GOVERNOR! Dan Patrick is evil.)
Attorney General - Justin Nelson
For other state offices as well as Judges, it's in your best interest to vote DEMOCRAT.
I specifically endorse: Celina Montoya and Veronica Vasquez
Where, When, What ID Do You Need?
This info is from VoteTexas.org!
You need one of SEVEN forms of ID with you at the polls:
What if they say I'm not registered and I know I registered?
Ask for a provisional ballot! It is within your rights to request and submit a provisional ballot.
What if I see something at the polls that doesn't seem legal?
Polls are required by law to have both Spanish and English speakers available if the precint has 5% or more inhabitants that speak Spanish or are of Spanish-decent. There have been many stories where people were taken advantage of and their vote was suggested by poll workers because the voter did not speak English and they did not have a translator available.
If you have or see any issues, please protect our vote and call 866-OUR-VOTE
The Texas Civil Rights Project ensures all voters are treated equal under the law.
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