5 Items I’ve Brought Into My Life Recently As A Minimalist/Essentialist/Intentionalist: A Minessententionalist

A Minessententionalist is a hybrid word I made up for someone who identifies as a cross between a minimalist, essentialist and intentionalist. 

I even Googled the word I made up just for fun to see if it existed because Google must validate everything, right? Well, it kind of does.

Check out my four screen shots for Minessententionality, Minessententionalism, Minessententionalist  and Minessententional showing zero results in Google.

Where the lines draw out for me  when it comes to what I chose to bring into my life, is someplace between minimalism, essentialism and intentionalism. So, I get Minessententionalism. Hard to spell and say: Min-essen-tention-al-ism! But hey, the word Sarathlete is hard for other people to spell and say, too.

Minessententionalism: the minimal things I own or bring into my life with intention behind them which are essential to my me, life and my views.

What are some things (people, places, items, experiences) that are minessententionial to you?

Here’s my list of 5 items/experiences I’ve recently brought into my life, and how they are intentional, essential and minimal to me:

  1. Apple Watch Ultra:
  • How it is Intentional: Getting back on track for my fitness goals as a come back from an injury and rebuild my body. I want to be very intentional with my training. A watch that will last me on long runs that can track my sleep and get me where I need to go without having to be tethered to a phone is exactly what I need. 
  • How it is Essential: Movement is essential to me and an extremely important part of my life before, during and after recovery.
  • How it is Minimal:  One watch. Simple. No more distractions from my phone. One device that can do it all and not leave me dependent on a potentially distracting device. 
  1. Heated blanket: 
  • How it is Intentional: I needed a heating pad because my old one broke. I’m always cold. I found a heated throw and decided to try it as an alternative to a heating pad. Now I’m always warm when I’m under it, helps increase blood flow for my entire body which aids in muscle recovery for athletic performance, and it takes the place of having a heating pad. 
  • How it is Minimal: Solves two problems for me as one item.
  • How it is Essential: When it’s that time of the month, a heating pad is essential for pain management. The last heating pad that I had broke, and I needed to buy a new one for myself. 
  1. Steam mop with reusable steam mop heads:
  • How it is Intentional: I wanted a way to lessen my carbon footprint. I wanted to throw less stuff away. I want to do my part to saving the environment. Previously, I was using products that were one-time use and then throw them away for cleaning my floors.
  • How it is Minimal: Less waste is coming in and going out overall.
  • How it is Essential: To me, having a clean house essential to living. My house needs to be clean. When I say “my house”, I say it collectively and am referring my house as my body, mind and spirit. However, for the sake of this blog post, let’s roll with the physical house I live in. Clean floors are apart of having a clean house. Bonus: I get a deep clean with steam, without the nasty cleaning product smell that I had before. This change was a win for both the environment and a win for my health.
  1. Show tickets to see Don Carlos at Lyric Opera and A Christmas Carol at The Goodman:
  • How it is Intentional: I have something to look forward to doing. It feeds my mind and soul, shows me new things and I learn a lot.
  • How it is Minimal: I am gifting myself experiences and not stuff. Experiences keep me going. They feed my soul.
  • How it is Essential:  Live cultural experiences like dance, plays, musicals, operas, symphonies or even movies are essential to my mental health and well-being because they bring me to a place of peace and bring me so much joy. The joy of what is to come gives me something to look forward to, I find peace at the event and there’s peace and meaning and feeling after the event is over.
  1. YouTube fireplaces and other winter scenes to watch and listen to while I write
  • How it is Intentional: I want to create a space that I can write in that is cozy and makes me want to write for both my work and my life. I want to create Hygge in my home.
  • How it is Minimal: It’s on my TV. It’s ad free because I can’t stand YouTube ads. It takes up no space beyond the TV I have and internet connection I use.
  • How it is Essential: The fireplace creates a cozy space for me to write. Writing is part of my work and life. We all need a space.

Final Thoughts:

I thought it would be fun to exemplify some of the overlaps between the three components of Minesssententionalism. There’s a lot of overlap between the three categories of intentionalism, minimalism and essentialism.

And just for fun, we have a new word mashup along the way. You know, Straight No Chaser is coming to the area in December. That would align with Minessententionalism and me! Who doesn’t love A capella music and a good mashup?

Have a good minessententional day!

Sarathlete

PTSD, ACA, and the Stories Behind What’s Hiding in Your Purse/Wallet

One thing I found interesting this summer as I went through the 12 steps in Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA) was looking at weird behavioral patterns in my every day life and digging deep to explore the why behind the why of the why of why I behave in certain ways and what’s the deep story behind it. 

I’m a grown woman. I carry a purse. Not uncommon.

In ACA, a lot of our behaviors that we can’t often explain often have an origin story attached to them that we don’t think about because they become habits that we do as part of our every day lives and don’t really think about why we do what we do.

In July, as I worked through the 12 steps, I came across the PTSD step and had to take a look at and note odd behaviors that I have that I’d never been able to explain before. 

One place I started looking at was the extra stuff I carry with me in my purse. If you’re trying to apply this to your life, you could look at your wallet or the stuff you carry in your pockets or the stuff in backseat of your car.

A purse overflowing with excess tuff.
Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

So, let’s take a look at my purse and see what I found in July and August 2022 when I did this step.

Warning: I’m going to be talking about periods and tampons, so if that bothers you, please move on.

I found that I carry an excessive amount of tampons in my purse. I’d known this about myself, but I couldn’t ever figure out what the why was behind this need for excessive tampon carrying. Another thing that’s related is that I find tampons in old purses, old gym bags, in the glovebox in my car, in pockets of winter coats, in the backseat of my car. 

Why?

The behavior I needed to figure out was why do I hoard tampons in the weirdest places. What was my story behind that? I started thinking back to the past and searching for a story that caused this odd-to-me behavior.

Let’s just say-for someone who identifies as somewhere between a Minimalist and Essentialist, I couldn’t directly explain what happened to me and why I was behaving in this way in this one area of my life.

This hoarding, like most hoarding, came from a trauma that happened in my past. It’s linked to a traumatic story from my past. Traumatic to me. 

Here’s the story:

My parents never talked about sex with me growing up. They left that subject up to the Catholic school they sent me to for 12 years instead. So, anything related to sex was also off limits, like things that happen when your body changes. I remember when I got my first period, my mother pointed me to the tampon box and told me the directions were inside if I needed help. I was 11 years old. Following any kind of printed directions, even in adulthood, is not my strong suit. Since I had to figure this out all by myself and had no idea or clue what was going on, I didn’t put the tampon in correctly, and later that day, I had bled through. I had no additional tampons with me. I was sitting in the bathroom bleeding and ashamed. I told my teacher that I was sick and I needed to go home because I didn’t want to risk more bleeding and the humiliation that I knew was coming if I didn’t get out of school. Again, I was 11 years old. That’s a young age to have no guidance and no one to help you.

That one incident led to a lifetime of tampon hoarding in my purse, car, pockets. It’s a deeper fear of being abandoned and running out of supplies and bleeding through and the fear of the humiliation that would ensue.

It was hard to look back and realize how other people’s actions, or inactions in this case, led to some of my behaviors today.

My parents didn’t ever want to talk about their feelings or any subjects they perceived as shameful, like sex or puberty. That lack of communication and the fears they had around tough-to-talk-about topics led to projection of those subjects onto their daughter. 

I can really see here how alcoholism or dysfunctional families is truly a family disease. 

One behavior, tampon hoarding, stems from a traumatic-to-me story of an 11 year old being abandoned by her parents in a time of need because my parents didn’t want to talk to me about any of it. They left that up to a Catholic school that also didn’t want to talk about the same subjects.

I’m grateful I noticed this behavior and also that I was able to look back into my past, figure out what had happened to me so I could explain the behavior behind my tampon hoarding and try and do something about it.

By recognizing the behavior and the why behind it, I can now move forward and be aware of it and also do something about it. I’m working on it in degrees. If I find a tampon in an old purse, or glovebox in my car, I remove it and place it back in the closet where I keep my other tampons. 

Awareness is key to identifying what happened to you and why you are behaving the way you are. These odd ways that control you that you can’t explain are worth addressing and thinking about because you have a chance to think on it, address it and not give it power over you anymore.

Now I carry the tampons with me that I need when I have my period. I don’t carry an excessive amount with me all month long. I trust that I have enough. I don’t have to let my fear control me anymore. I’ve been able to slowly overcome my tampon hoarding and that aligns with my beliefs about hoarding things I don’t need for just-in-case moments. I don’t believe in storing stuff for just-in-case moments. I simply don’t want to live that way in all areas of my life. Recognizing the odd behavior that didn’t align with my beliefs helped me get back into balance and back into alignment with my beliefs. It make my purse a lot lighter too!

Sarathlete