“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important – so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” – The Minimalists
Excess. Freedom. Why do we always make it seem like those two words are mutually exclusive? Like I can’t like stuff and still feel free. Like I can’t be too much and still be happy. Like I can’t feel too much and still feel fulfilled.
I think I came out of the womb doing too much, wanting too much, feeling too much.
This isn’t actually true because according to my mother I was a good, quiet, calm baby. Labor was easy and I didn’t give my parents much trouble as a kid.
Somewhere along the way though, I became “too much,” an adjective used to describe me by family, friends, teachers, and foes a like. I wanted too much. My propensity to cry at the drop of a hat was a lot. “No water works Gabby,” my mom would always say. Nothing satisfied me. Nothing satisfies me.
Excuse a girl for thinking anything is possible. For only trusting things, people, and places that made her feel free – free as defined only by she.
I carry a lot with me daily. My dreams, the lived fulfillment of my parents dreams through me, my families hopes for me, my hopes for myself, the weight of knowing that none of it – the trips, degrees, experiences – was supposed to be for me.
So, I do my best to fly in the face of those who would limit my things, forms of expression and opportunities everyday by living my life out loud. An audacious Black girl who dares to think she deserves everything she wants. Maybe that is too much. Maybe my refusal to be silent, shrink, or stop shopping/flying/degreeing makes those who would wish I didn’t exist – who would wish me well by wishing I’d stay put, uncomfortable.
I refuse to be minimal when I haven’t fully maximized yet.
My things make me strong – even if they are too much.
Besides, in the right hands, too much, is usually just enough.
My journey towards minimalism means letting go of the limiting labels, boxes, and perceptions placed on me by others and myself so I can truly maximize my life. Truly be everything I choose to. Truly be free and always, in all ways, be the best version of me.
My minimalism is really about maximization.
I think there’s freedom there too.
Journal prompt: How can you, through minimalism or maximizing find freedom? What “things” do you need to feel free? To know deep in your heart that you are enough?
Photos: Damola Akintunde