Wednesday, July 6, 2016

MY TAKE ON MODESTY AND MINIMALISM

Before you get turned off by the word "modesty", keep reading and hear me out.

This is for gals and guys. Old and young. 

The word modesty has become somewhat misconstrued over the years.

When we hear that word, we associate it with women wearing long skirts and dresses.

In reality, it is defined much differently than than that. 

According to Dictionary.com modesty is :
  1. the quality of being modestfreedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.
  2. regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress,etc. 
  3. simplicity; moderation.
Therefore, modesty is a lifestyle.

It is more than just clothing. 

Many people have a bad view of modesty,

In particular, some girls remember when they were younger and a cranky old woman told them their outfit looked inappropriate.  

Or a strict parent volunteering at a youth group told them that their shorts were too short and unacceptable for church.

Or a teacher at school sent them to the office for violating dress code. 

The word "modesty" has almost become a punishment.

When really, it means something completely different.

Modesty can come in many forms.

We can be modest with our words and behavior.

We can be modest with the way we present and respect ourselves and others.

We can be modest by having a humble attitude.

Actually humility is a synonym for modesty as well.

Moreover, there is a new movement sweeping through our culture called "minimalism".

Becomingminimalist.com gives us a clear meaning of modern minimalism by explaining,
"It is marked by clarity, purpose, and intentionality. At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It is a life that forces intentionality. And as a result, it forces improvements in almost all aspects of your life."
At first I viewed it as just another fad.
But then I realized that living minimally is actually a great concept and it can go hand in hand with living modestly. 
Living modestly is more internal and living minimally is external. 
Minimalists are known for having limited material things.

They live simply and keep their belongings...well minimal.

There is even a phenomenon called the "capsule wardrobe"

This involves limiting your clothes to somewhere around 30 items and getting rid of the rest.

These 30 items can mix and match but you can't add to it or go shopping for more after you've chosen.

This way, you can learn to be content with what you have, keep your closet clean, and not worry as much about your appearance.

When I first heard about this, I said there's no way that I could ever do that.

I love shopping and I love keeping up with the trends. 

And what if Forever 21 was having a huge sale...then what would I do?

Oh I know, how about just never do the capsule wardrobe?! 

Yeah, good plan.

Then, just the other day it came up again and I began to reexamine my lifestyle.

Was I really living modestly?

Was I making my life more stressful, cluttered and complicated than it needed to be?

Yes.

Time for a change.

I've seen how the effects of shopping and accumulating material things have impacted people I love firsthand. 

I've seen how clutter has invaded a home and how the utilization of a sale can become an obsession.

So I've decided to try make my life more minimalistic... Starting now.

Less stuff, less stress.

Especially since I'm not a naturally organized person.

On top of that, I have a theory that living with less will also contribute to living modestly internally.

When I have less things to deal with, I will have more time for taking care of my own needs and the needs of others, without being overwhelmed with too much. 

Unnecessary tasks and to do lists keep my mind occupied on the mess, not the beauty in life.

There's a quote that says "My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather have less to do" - Francine Jay

We can live minimally and in modest moderation by limiting our tasks and keeping it simple.

This way our whole lifestyle can be more relaxed and we can focus on the most important parts of life. 

Our entire persona can change.

So I've decided that when I get home from traveling this summer, I'm going to give away most of my clothes and other unnecessary belongings and choose not to acquire much more.

I may not be a pro at the capsule wardrobe but I'm definitely going to try and see if I can at least have a conscious awareness of minimalism in all aspects of my life. 

I refuse to let busyness and clutter get the best of me.

And I refuse to let sales constantly pull me into buying things I don't need.

Studies show that 1 in 6 people have a shopping addiction to the point where they can barely resist any bargain they see.

This could easily happen to any of us and the world is full of ads to entice consumers.

This is why our stuff keeps piling up.

I've decided to stop the cycle in my own life and only buy and keep items that have significant meaning in correspondence with my values.

Of course, I'll still get things that I genuinely need to survive. 

But I don't want anything flashy and expensive.

Actually, I take that back.

Just because something is expensive, does not mean it is not a wise investment.

As a matter of fact, I believe the key to minimalism is quality over quantity.

Yes, it may cost more but if it will last a lifetime then it is better than buying a ton of junk that breaks and needs to be replaced.

This way, less is more.

Overall, I just want the minimal, modest life.

My life was not created for earthly treasures or stressful living.

In fact, Jesus himself was quite the minimalist.

The best of all time I believe.

He traveled from place to place without a moving van or an RV full of stuff.

He didn't even bring a designer suitcase with a matching carry on bag!

Impressive, I know.

He only possessed the minimal survival necessities.

And He urged the people following Him to do the same.

One time a young ruler asked Jesus what was required of him on earth, in order to go to heaven.

Jesus answered,
"When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich." - Luke 18:22-23
So basically he told the guy to be a minimalist too.

Yeah...he didn't like that idea.

Kind of like me when I heard about the capsule wardrobe.

Now, I'm not saying everyone has to get rid of everything and I don't think Jesus meant that either.

The point was that there was an unhealthy attachment to the stuff.

An idolization of material things.

Jesus just wants us to be willing to give it all up in an instant if needed.

Because what we accumulate on this planet means nothing.

In heaven nobody will care about what your house looked like or if you didn't have one at all.

Jesus went on to say in verse 25, "For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."

Gotta love Jesus' analogies.

He said that because if anyone is unable to put God first and love Him above what their money can buy, then they are in serious danger and won't go to heaven whatsoever.

Money can be blinding and controlling.

Most of all, Jesus wants us to simply love Him and live free from any bondage. 

Free from the bondage of stuff, stress, busyness, and cultural expectations.

Remember the first definition of modesty.

1. the quality of being modestfreedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.

Freedom.

Freedom from being conceited and consumed with greed etc etc etc.

It goes on and on.

Modesty and minimalism provide freedom from earthly attachment.

So what do you say?

Wanna follow Jesus together and let go of anyTHING holding us back?

I know I do.

Let's live more, with less.

Nobody said anything about how many pairs of boots you can have for the capsule wardrobe right?... 
















Saturday, July 2, 2016

PREGNANT?!

Gotcha! I knew that title would reel you in.

Well, now that you are here, might as well stay a while and let me tell you a story.

The other day I was on a date with my boyfriend, Carlos, at a coffee shop. Just before we arrived, we were having a conversation in the car about how I am a Words of Affirmation girl, and I need to be reassured constantly. It is just who I am. I actually need to be complimented and loved through kind words.

Anyway, as we got up to leave the coffee shop, a lady working there opened the door for us, and asked my boyfriend in Spanish if we were going to have a baby... Yes, she thought I was pregnant...He said no, no, no and we walked out. I looked at Carlos, who somehow maintained a blank face, and I knew that he was hoping I didn't understand what she just said in Spanish. Unfortunately for him, I most definitely comprehended it. I looked up at him and said, "I know what that lady just asked and I think I am gonna go cry now" (in a joking voice) and we both laughed.

Then, as we drove away, those words really started to hurt me and the conversation evolved into a little something like this,

Me: "Well, I guess I'm just fat"

Carlos: "The lady wasn't trying to be mean. I think the dress you are wearing was just blowing in the wind"

Me: "I don't care!!! The point is you've said nothing!! Aren't you going to tell me I don't look pregnant and I'm not fat?? Can't I just get some reassurance from you?? I mean, did we not just talk about this?!

Carlos: "You are not fat at all, you are gorgeous"

Me: "Ok, yeah, now you say that, after I yell at you."

Needless to say, I took out my insecurities on my boyfriend and drove home feeling embarrassed and depressed.

Then I got home and posted a video on snapchat sarcastically saying "Well a random lady at the coffee shop just thought I looked pregnant, so I think I'm going to go read some health magazines, and workout until I can't breathe"

Of course, I was joking but I ended up deleting it right after because I realized what I was doing.

Deep down, I wanted affirmation from people, even if I was kidding.

I wanted them to say, "What, that lady is crazy for asking that?!"

But then again, I would never say how I actually felt, I was just going to laugh it off.

Kind of like everyone does on social media.

I mean imagine a world where people were able to post exactly how they felt and say whatever they wanted, without being looked down on for complaining.

Like what if I said "Hey guys, so far this week a lady thought I looked pregnant which made me feel super insecure, I was sick with a fever throwing up and had to leave work early, I was in bed sick and depressed for a few days, and today I randomly got a sore throat so I couldn't talk or sing and now I am pretty sure I have strep throat or something so I have to go to the doctor in the morning. And to be honest, I feel really bad about it all and it is all just too much for me to handle".

But no. Instead we put on those selfie smiles and say everything is wonderful.

Moreover, as I scrolled through social media today, this is what I saw in my feed:

The perfectly put together outfit.

Beautifully decorated home.

Precisely edited majestic scenery.

An artful latte in the most adorable coffee shop you ever did see.

Braided hair and on fleek brows.

The cutest family photos.

Laughing candids.

A variety of food spread out on a white table, untouched, and positioned just right.

And of course each are consistent with the same moody or vibrant color scheme.

You all have an idea of what I'm saying.

Well there is a reason I follow all of those accounts.

1. For self inspiration
2. I enjoy their style
3. I want to support their following because I know that keeping up a consistently beautiful feed is hard.
4. I secretly want my life to look more like theirs.

I think we are all guilty of number 4 actually.

I mean, how can we not want to be drinking a yummy gourmet latte, in the perfect outfit, in Paris?

But you know what, I am being super honest right now.

For the past week I haven't posted much on my social media.

For a reason.

And that reason is,

It. all. feels. fake.

FAKE.

There I said it.

You can call me negative Nelly.

But no no no, I'm not allowed to be anything but positive on social media! How dare I?!

That would mean I am being...real... (gasp)

Haven't you heard the rules?

You cannot show any other emotion besides happiness on social media because no one wants to see a negative post or else they will unfollow you forever and not be your friend anymore.

Why?

Because people are on social media in the first place to make themselves feel good.

They want your pictures to either make them happy or make them daydream of the perfect life.

Ok ok, I'm over-exaggerating a bit, but I just needed to rant for a second.

The truth of the matter is that I am saying this for myself.

I have felt fake lately.

I have felt like I've been trying to be like everybody else.

But the part I struggle with most is that I don't know how else to do it.

How can I run an online business without trying to please my customers?

How can I gain a following without having a nice looking feed that inspires people?

Building something beautiful isn't wrong, so why do I feel bad about it?

Well, maybe it's because I am pressuring myself or comparing myself...but I sort of have to do those things in order to get stuff done and do it well...so that's confusing.

Sometimes we all just want to post exactly how we feel and truly "live authentic".

To be honest, it has become socially unacceptable to do that online.

When we say, "don't let your emotions out on social media", we are also saying "hide your real personal life from the world".

People are just quickly scrolling to find satisfaction and guess what? That is where the pressure comes from.

You know, that pressure to have the best selfie and best angle?

Ok rant over.

Sorry for being all over the place in this blog, I just love it here because it's my little space to say whatever I want, for as long as I want, however I want to say it. It's great.

But still, deep down, I want you guys to like reading what I have to say.

So there it goes again.

What can ya do? I still don't know the answer.

But what I have learned after reflecting on this is that I think my problem is the affirmation.

If I am in it solely for the pleasure of the views/likes/comments/followers, then I will always feel the pressure to please everyone.

On the other hand, if I am posting for myself and because I like the picture or because I enjoy being able to help and inspire people, then it's a whole different ball game.

Most importantly, I should never post anything before thinking if it will honor God first.

If all I am doing is complaining or being negative then that won't give a good example of the grace and love of Jesus in my life.

Instead, I can have the freedom to post how I feel but in a way that is genuine and honest for the sake of being vulnerable, rather than for the sake of the approval of others.

..remembering that I don't need to have a beautiful social account, in order to have a beautiful life.

"Confidence is not 'they will like me'. Confidence is, 'I'll be fine if they don't' " - Christina Grimmie

Christina was always herself online and didn't let the industry change her. That's why people loved her and felt connected to her. She is my role model and her legacy will live on in my life.

I hope I can get to the point where I am able to be personal online like she was, without worrying about exposing the real me.

I want to be my weird self, yet still display beautiful creativity in my photos, business, and social accounts.

My goal is to say what I wanna say, and be legit without needing anyone to validate it as "acceptable social media behavior".

I just wanna be me.

The journey has begun.

It is time for us all to stop the judgements and allow people to be real on social media because whether we accept it or not, social media is the new modern reality.