Minimalism: A Middle.

This is the second installment in a series on my personal journey towards minimalism. Catch the first part here.

I’ve been having a really hard time writing this post. I’ve written and deleted. I’ve procrastinated. I’ve avoided. I’ve stared at the blank screen and waited for the words to come. I’ve started typing and ended up with a list of things I could be doing instead of wasting time on a post I didn’t want to write. Why was this one so hard? It’s the middle of the story! I know what happened in the middle, but still the words to tell it didn’t seem to be there.

Then, the right words fell into my lap this morning. I wrote them exactly 2 years ago today as part of my 2015 365 photography project. The photo above was Day 312 and titled “The Side You Don’t See”. Here are the words that have been hiding from me:

“I recieved a lot of compliments on the “right” side of this embroidery project back on Day 310 and it got me to thinking. This is the side you’re never meant to see. It’s how the pretty comes together. It’s the work and the effort and the mistakes that no one wants anyone to know about.

It’s a lot like this 365 project. There have been so many days over the past year where I’ve uploaded a photo and felt frustrated. It wasn’t a representation of the day we actually had, but in 312 days, I haven’t figured out how to capture the emotions that exist hidden away.

I flip through these photos every few weeks and I know the side no one ever saw…the tears and the stress and the sadness and the pure exhaustion and the defeat and the shock. It’s been a rough year…selling a house, moving, trying to buy another house and failing miserably 5 times, trying desperately to get life back together with a baby who never sleeps, a very unexpected pregnancy…all while mourning the loss of my sister. But how do you capture all of the guts of your life…all of the things that come together to make a Facebook pretty picture…when it’s all internal?

I’ve tried to be honest, but there just isn’t always a way to show both the pretty and the gritty. So just know this…the objects don’t aways fall just so on the table. The kids aren’t always cute. The day isn’t always special. The photographer doesn’t always feel inspired. But life does keep on ticking by.”

And there it is…that’s what the middle was like.

The middle of this march towards minimalism wasn’t pretty. It was hard and exhausting and filled with punch after punch. It was life sloshing down on my head in buckets and the good parts were where I got to gasp for air before the next wave crashed into me. The middle feels like it was some kind of device intent on stretching me into adulthood through any means necessary.

I wish I could say that there was a definite turning point for me; a dramatic moment where I loaded up all my worldly possessions, donated them, and then won the lottery so I could pay off all my debt before I started a blissful life of nothingness minimalism.

That definitely didn’t happen.

But somewhere in between having a baby, getting a divorce, losing my job, getting remarried, having another baby, facing childhood cancer, having another baby, losing my sister, having another baby (I swear that’s the last one), losing my adopted mother, and sweating over every single penny until we were debt free (minus the mortgage) and staying that way…it finally clicked.

The momentary highs did absolutely nothing to right my bottomless lows.

The middle was all of those things that happened, one right after another, to show me more stuff wasn’t going to make me whole or happy or safe from the next emotional disaster, but all of the stuff was holding me back from enjoying the good parts of my life. My smart, funny, capable kids. My husband, the absolute love of my life. My own potential to try for something bigger.

So where can I go from the middle?

If you say the end, you’d be wrong…