Minimums: My Life Through My Belongings

I’ve been obsessed with this website called Minimums lately. It’s a relatively new site that selects people of interest and then asks them to introduce themselves through some of their personal belongings. The principal idea is a classic: what we own says a lot about who we are. Our belongings show our style, our values, and ultimately it taps into our sense of nostalgia.

So I got to thinking about what I would choose if I was ever asked to be on Minimums. At first I thought it would be difficult. How could I pick just a few things and still paint an accurate portrait? But when I got down to it, choosing these five things wasn’t actually all that hard.

Movie Ticket Stub Collection

I started collecting ticket stubs by accident sometime during high school. I used to carry the same purse with me any time I went to the movies with my friends (I was not particularly fashion conscious back in the day) and I would tuck away the stub in an inside zipper in case I needed it to re-enter the theatre at some point during the show. Eventually I realized I’d established a collection and it became kind of fun to go through them each time I went to the movies. It became a point of conversation. With a few exceptions, I’ve held onto every ticket I’ve purchased since then. I have my ticket stub from the final Harry Potter movie. I have stubs from movie premiers I went to in college with sorority sisters. I even have stubs from when I was studying abroad in Europe. I don’t carry them all in my purse anymore, but it’s nice to peek inside their storage box every once in awhile. It reminds me of how my tastes have changed – and not changed – since I began collecting.

Study Abroad Shadow Box

If anyone asks I will freely admit that I was homesick during my university study abroad semester to Belgium. I loved it there, but things didn’t go completely as planned and that turned into a few very difficult months for both myself and my family. But I kept a lot of things when I was abroad. I kept train passes and maps and other little mementos and then I brought them home with me and made them into a shadow box that I could hang on my wall. I guess some people would look at it and think, “Why would I want to be reminded of homesickness?” but I look at it and see all of the amazing memories and trips I was able to take, despite how sad I was. That semester was the first time I traveled on my own to a foreign country. It was the first time in my life that I really felt like an adult, more than I ever had on campus. The shadow box is a reminder of a difficult time, but it’s one that I survived and thrived during. It reminds me that I’m strong enough to ask for help when I need it and brave enough to push through difficult moments. It reminds me that I’m not invincible, but that I don’t want to be either.

Collected Works of Anne Bishop

I started reading Bishop’s Black Jewels series when I was a freshman in highschool, when a lot of things were new and a bit overwhelming. I had a new school, new friends, a new job; it was a lot, but she really came into my life exactly when I needed her. In the books Bishop focuses on four central characters and establishes their family as the center of the series. And as the family came together over the course of the books, I somehow began to feel like a part of it too. In a weird way I felt like they belonged to me and me to them, that the same intense bonds they felt for each other also extended to me. It’s a bit hard to describe, I guess, but I’ve never connected with another author’s work in the same way before. And to this day whenever I read or reread one of her books I remember that safe, comforting feeling. Her books are so much a part of who I am now that they’ll always be something that I cherish.

My Flash Drive

If I were to be perfectly honest, I’d have to admit that this flash drive is probably the most precious thing I own. My brother got it at a robotics competition, probably from one of the opposing teams, and I liked how it snapped away into a bracelet. For a flash drive circa 2009, that was pretty damn cool. Now they make them into a million shapes and all of them with probably bigger storage capacity, but this one is special to me. It contains the backup files of every piece I’ve ever written, including my old fanfiction work. It’s been with me for most of my writing career, a physical connection to every important thing I’ve ever produced. I could replace almost everything I own and not feel the least bit bad about it, but if something ever happened to this flash drive I’d be devastated. No question.

My T-Shirt Quilt

As far as nostalgia items go, this one pretty much tops the chart. I started collecting t-shirts my freshman year of college and for graduation my parents had them made into a quilt for me. Some of these are pieces I wore a lot, others mark special occasions like Freshman Convocation or study abroad, but all of them remind me of a very positive time in my life. College was probably the first time I ever felt comfortable enough to be myself, to wholeheartedly embrace who I was and the things that I was passionate about. College brought me to my lifelong friends and if you look closely there’s even one square that I had a bunch of them sign, right in the middle. So every night I go to sleep literally wrapped up in good memories and there’s really nothing quite like it.
Which of your belongings best describes you? Let me know in the comments down below!

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