How Minimalism and A Return To Simplicity May Help You Focus On What Really Matters

There’s no coincidence that out of all the cities I’ve lived in that San Francisco was the longest. Yes, the city can get chilly but with an average year round temperature of 65 degrees it’s very manageable. Yes, the hills can be so steep (go stand on Broadway and Fillmore near the house where Mrs. Doubtfire was filmed) and you will experience something akin to vertigo.

Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge only takes an hour or so. Northern California is breathtakingly beautiful with a mix of topography that will take you to the warm beaches off Tiburon to the chilly climes of Lake Tahoe. From the famous redwoods to wine country every possible combination of nature and sensory indulgence can be explored. Plus, the food is sublime with the mix of Latino and Asian influences present.

I didn’t realize how difficult it can be to purchase fresh Baby Bok Choy until after I left. Did I forget to mention the seafood rivals the offering available in Maryland?  Public transportation in the city is also inexpensive in comparison to other major cities.  Of course had I been able to secure permanent employment I may have made London my home instead! Being in such close proximity to the European mainland – which can be reached an hour away by airplane is far too simple to not take advantage of.

Certain social and cultural infrastructures have the greatest appeal to me. Being exposed to a variety of ethnic groups and sustainable class tiers has always been a valuable component to my life’s education. We need variety. We need a good mix. Yin and yang.  Salty and Sweet. Too much of the same thing is not a good thing when dogmatic views and religious interpretations can cause a lot of upheaval.

It was why I sought numerous friends whose backgrounds were vastly different from mine since I grew up in a racially and geographically segregated area. It was why I was drawn to the music and fashion sense of a lot of British bands from the 1980’s. For me it was never about a lack of pride in my ancestry but a desire to not let others place limits on my individuality and personal expression.

This ties into the overall themes we discuss at this forum about how black women have been handed a narrow list of “Do’s and Don’ts” from the African-American community as a whole and perhaps individuals with blood ties. We can also attest to the ways black women have been indoctrinated to focus on a narrow definition of their role and image.  Any woman who strays from that list, chafes under its burdens or questions it is labeled a traitor in some sense and their destruction is the favored response to reset the order of control.

We may have these conversations strictly from an intellectual perspective as some astute women who either prepared a way for themselves away from the insanity or were sufficiently shielded by functional environments may never experience being made into an outcast or live through precarious situations caused by ignored dysfunction. What a relief, but other women DO and some may not make it without being battle-tested and bruised, if they survive at all.

Being in a vulnerable position is not easy but not knowing you are vulnerable to begin with is even worse. Sometimes degrees and jobs, accolades and material goods are not enough. We’ve read enough horror stories about highly-educated, higher-income women were murdered by their boyfriends or husbands who had come from backgrounds that would raise red flags in most people, but because they were “downtrodden and victims of circumstance” we were told to ignore the warning signs. Due to the almighty god of community uplift and strength in numbers theory we were told to focus solely on elevating others and lowering our standards. If we were forced to raise children alone, so be it.

As some of the latest attacks have been launched by other black women those of us who want a full life, filled with quality people and have all of our needs met will have to be prepared for a sustained engagement, but it is a war that has already been won because more black women will run for the lives and escape to freedom. They will stand tall and be proud of answering the call because it means their lives and the lives of any offspring they have or may have will be all the better for it.

One reason why I am drawn to those who promote minimalism as a lifestyle choice is that it calls us to be more conscious of our surroundings (I won’t be giving up my television though I watch it infrequently these days). We have to take stock of where we are in the moment and consider where we’d like to be in the immediate future, making all appropriate changes to get there.I’ve been reading Dusti Arab‘s blog Minimalist Adventures which I’ve found very engaging. As a singleton who’s child-free I do find it fascinating how people with children navigate these adjustments (and I suppose being married helps a great deal as well). We take what we can use and discard the rest!

We will not have our spirits beat down and be made to think we are CAN’T women when we know we CAN and WILL succeed and thrive. So the minimalist aspects to this is in how we willing we are to get back to the core of our very souls and who we are, remembering that we are divine. We are more than our physical surroundings. We are more than our material possessions. We are more than a skin shade, hair texture or eye color. We are more than our names.

2 Replies to “How Minimalism and A Return To Simplicity May Help You Focus On What Really Matters”

  1. I appreciate this post so much. I haven't been averse to minimalism, but I've been pushed to embrace it more fully be/c my housing costs are rising (property taxes and now massive state tax hikes). Really thinking carefully about what I need in life, what it takes to be happy, outside the consumer driven mandates of mainstream society has been refreshing. I may indeed have to sell this beautiful place I love, but I know if that is the case, I will find something great and be in a more financially sound place for my my short and long term goals. Thanks Faith!

    1. I'm glad you are looking into solutions that work for you. I hope everything works out regarding your house.

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