One of my goals for this year is to minimize.
I'm trying really hard to rid our home of things, and fill it, instead, with experiences.
This is partially because we have a very small house, and partially because I like the idea of living more simply.
The spring cleaning bug has bit, and today I spent some time cleaning out my dresser. I got rid of jeans I have been holding on to for years, knowing they didn't fit, and some unmatched socks I had pushed to the back of the drawer, hoping to someday reunite them with their partner.
But when I got to a particular t-shirt, despite not wearing it since, probably middle school, I couldn't let go.
As a student I have always been a high achiever. In 7th grade when my art teacher, of all the classes, wanted to give me a B on my report card, I wasn't having it. I thought I had worked hard and I had created to the best of my ability, so I advocated for myself and had a discussion with her about the grade.
Discussion is an interesting way to describe it though, since it was more me sobbing and wiping my nose and hyperventilating that "I *snif* don't *snif* get *sniff* B's!" and the teacher trying to calm me down.
She allowed me to do some extra credit, which as I remember it required me to do something creative at home and then show the class. Sounded easy enough. When I said I worked hard and created to the best of my ability, notice I didn't say that I had much ability. So once home, trying to figure out what to do, I was lost.
I decided to tie-dye a t-shirt, then after the whole process, and unveiling of the design, realized that it wasn't very creative. So then I decided I'd put a hand-print on the back, that would be creative! I slathered my palm with black paint and stamped it on the back. It was really missing something. But still, looking at it, I had no idea what else to do.
My Aunt Patsy, who was a daily part of my life since I was born, lived with us, spoiled us, helped us learn and grow like a parent, who we lost just a couple of years later, much to early to brain cancer, also happened to be insanely creative and artistic.
She took one look at it, and started sketching out an intricate dream-catcher-like design across the back of the shirt. It was truly beautiful, both the final product, and to watch her create.
When I folded it today and put it back into the drawer, I thought of this moment, and the whole experience, just to raise my grade. But what I got out of it instead was a memory of my aunt that would come back to me any time I went through my pile of t-shirts.
I know that this whole minimalism thing means that memories aren't supposed to be attached to things, but this is one that I decided I still needed. And next spring when I go through my drawers, I'll probably have the same moment of remembering, fold it up, and put it right back in.