I never could have anticipated what occurred the year following my meeting with the name-less gentleman from the church. I could never have anticipated that despite my seeking aid from others, my beautiful monster would rear its ugly head at me again. It had crawled out of the dumpster for an unwelcome reunion and I was caught unawares and unprepared. I relied on my natural tendency to appear perfect once more, only this time alcohol and vitamins were replaced by clothes and trendy store bobbles. The added difficulty of this second occurrence in my life was that trauma had a side-kick. This sidekick’s name was food and for months my body and my money were powerless to it.
The danger of food is how easy it is to justify purchasing it. I claimed reasons like convenience and pretended that eating out every day was cheaper than cooking at home, all the while filling my tiny apartment with more random objects. I watched myself become physically and mentally tired every minute of every day. I could feel my body’s health declining rapidly but the negative feelings that sprouted from that led me to accumulate and indulge even more. It was an endless cycle of consumption.
Then, I met Joshua Becker.
In my stumbling around the internet one day, I ran into one of Becker’s YouTube videos and he talked about this concept called minimalism. Growing up in the church, I had heard of this type of a concept before. It was always that thing that Jesus said – to give up everything and follow him. Christians hear this probably seven times in every Sunday sermon. It’s that saying that leads them to begrudgingly give up their five dollars they were planning to use on a grande mocha in the church café following the service. Yet somehow, surrounded by a depression that had taken the form of objects, something clicked for me this time. I realized that I had mentally dismissed my traumatic experience from my life, yet left all of the physical debris around me.
I found a whole host of material items in my room that day that were representative of the abusive relationship I had lost. In that moment I understood how those items had been silently screaming at me all that time and that my almost daily frequenting of nearby stores was a lot like an alcoholic frequenting a bar. I had begun to need the emotional high that new things gave me. The realization of my materialism engulfed me and I made a decision. Something was going to change.