About me; Becoming an Aware Being

Photograph by Tala Parker

Photograph by Tala Parker

Growing up, my father teetered on the edge between un-organization and being a hoarder. Seldom used shelves and the cranny between the wall and the washing machine would be stuffed with random objects, such as a ripped sweater and a rusted hammer. My mother, on the other hand, was organized like most people are; orderly to the individual but cluttered to passersby. Her desk would have neat stacks of paper littering the surface along with a few pens and pencils scattered across it. Living amongst both organizational methods allowed me to understand that there were more options than just living in clutter.

With no knowledge of minimalism, I began my initial minimizing process at the age of seven. I was at a crossroads in my life. My parents were splitting, and I was beginning to transition away from childhood. I couldn’t believe in make-believe anymore, and the toys that were once my friends were suddenly just… stuff. From that point on I slowly donated all of my childhood possessions until I was only left with items that were important to my teen-self.

When I entered high school, I discovered minimalism, a definition to my actions. At its heart, minimalism is being intentional with the way you live your life and only allowing what aligns with your most important values to take up your space and time. Up until this point, I was scared to fully let go and kept a few things “just in case.” I then found a wealth of information by other minimalists and was inspired to be honest with myself about which objects truly sparked joy and to trust my decisions. Looking back, I am so happy I did.

Around this time, I took an environmental science class. I was shocked and angered by the multitude of destructive actions that humans were making in the name of wealth. Suddenly, it was as if a veil had been lifted away from my face. When grocery shopping, I looked around and more than fifty percent of what I saw was packaged in single-use plastic––a material that never truly decomposes. I became aware of the chemicals that are in our toiletries and the animals that they are tested on. This inspired me to attempt to be as plastic-free as possible, as well as cruelty-free and toxin-free. More recently, I took on the challenge of shopping from ethical clothing makers whenever possible because I believe all people should be guaranteed a safe space to work.

I hope that my journey inspires you to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and that you can learn from my failures and successes. Good luck and thank you.