Dear Diary,

Since coming out, I have downsized my physical life in numerous ways. From a 5-bedroom house with a full basement to a 3-bedroom cottage rental to a 2-bedroom apartment to a studio space to a 20-foot travel trailer to a 35-foot fifth wheel. (Okay, the fifth wheel was a space upgrade, but we only did it because the travel trailer leaked like a sieve, and we had to replace the floor three times in the eleven months that we owned it. Ugh. But that’s a story for never because I signed paperwork that said I’d zip it.)

But the point is this: I’ve been working my way toward a minimalist life over the course of the last six years. Less space, less stuff, less connection to things and relationships that no longer fit into my life.

When my mom passed, I didn’t want her “stuff.” I just wanted her opal ring to wear around my neck so she’d be close to my heart when I needed her. My sister’s ashes are in a beautiful pendant that hangs on the same necklace. The only “things” I wanted or needed to be reminded of them and their love.

We have had so many garage sales and placed so many Facebook Marketplace ads and have made so many Goodwill drops in the past six years that it’s a wonder we’ve accomplished anything else. And we still have a 10×20 storage unit of stuff that needs to find a new home. But we’re working on it.

Our tiny space is beautiful and clean and void of clutter (most of the time). I’ve even pared down the pillows since this photo was taken. But, of course, we still have the dog. (She’s @sissy_the_pittie on Insta if you’re into following pups online. I don’t post as often as I should, but she’s still adorable.)

Living a minimalist life has curbed my appetite for unnecessary consumerism as well. I have little want or need to buy things when I have no space for them. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Stanley tumbler obsession. In my former life, I probably would have waited in a ridiculously long Target line to get the pink one. In this life, I don’t even understand what’s happening. I mean… A TUMBLER? And a brand that’s been around for ages? I’m just dumbfounded by it all. 

But one vice still remains. The Uncommon Goods catalog.

Whenever this little beauty arrives in the mail, I sit down and look at every single item they’re offering. I mean, what lesbian wouldn’t want these beautiful rainbow glass sculptures?

Yes, they’d probably shatter in a million pieces as we’re bopping down the road at 65 miles per hour, but we’d enjoy them until their demise. I tend to shy away from too many rainbows these days, though. Every time I post a rainbow or buy a rainbow or wear a rainbow, I can hear my kids say, “We GET IT, Mom. You’re GAY.” I can actually hear their eyes rolling, too.

And then there’s this adorable little fella. Sure, I could use a red solo cup to amplify Brandi Carlile throughout the rig, but if this guy can get the job done and look cute while he’s doing it, why wouldn’t I choose the acoustic frog with his gaping maw?

And this. Two of my kids are avid bird watchers now. They’d get a kick out of these tea towels. I mean, who doesn’t love a good boobie joke?

But I don’t order from the Uncommon Goods catalog any more. For one thing, I no longer have a job with a salary which means my bank account is always precariously low. And I enjoy supporting artists, but $185 for a glass sculpture is a little steep for me in any financial climate. But in the bigger scheme, I don’t need any of these things, and I enjoy my clutter-free space. And also, we have very little space to actually clutter!

It’s funny, though, to think about my desire for things I don’t want or need. Pretty little accouterments, tiny and unnecessary knick-knacks. I love looking at them, but I no longer have space for them in my life.

I am a person who also has a difficult time letting go of people or relationships that no longer serve me. I feel the sadness of losing friends (and trust me… I’ve lost MANY since the coming out and the divorce), but I also understand there is no room in my new life for those relationships, for those who cannot meet me where I am.

My life now looks so incredibly different than it did a decade ago. I was the quintessential suburban housewife, complete with a big house, a big yard, a big wardrobe, and new furniture. Now I am the gay nomad who wears little to no makeup and lives in shorts and t-shirts. It almost feels like I am a child again in many ways. The freedom to be me in a world that has expected me to be someone else is a precious gift. I used to be a red-cheeked kid in cut-off jeans and t-shirts, and I have now returned to her. The cut-off jeans have given way to stretchy shorts, but that’s simply to accommodate my growing middle. And even that doesn’t bother me as much as it used to.

I am shedding what no longer fits (including my jeans!) and enjoying instead what does. Wind, water, sunshine, sand, dogs, books, love, phone calls and visits with my kids, good food and wine, and time. Who knew what a gift time was? I used to be so beholden to my things and my social status and a yard that needed my attention every weekend. Now I am beholden to my words and my dogs and my relationships and this tiny, happy home filled with just the basics: food, comfort, love, stretchy clothes, big plans, and just the right amount of rainbows. 



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4 Responses

  1. While I came out in 1985 after a 23 year marriage and three kids, (I’m 83) I can relate to so much of your post. My wife and I live in a 1,000 sq. ft. condo with a view of Bellingham Bay (WA) and do what we want to do – saying “no thank you” has gotten so much easier!

  2. Beautiful post, gorgeous writing as usual. I’ve followed your writing for years, I first stumbled upon your old blog when you were still in your “old” life. The arc of your story has been extraordinary, and I am very much looking forward to your memoir!

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