The World Doesn’t Need Another Post About Decluttering This Week

The World Doesn't Need Another Post About Decluttering This Week

For the past week or so, I’ve been trying to find the right words to describe the small declutter and purge I did this month. I was going to tell you I bagged up another 33% of my books to be donated to the library. Then I was going to talk about how my teeny tiny wardrobe has somehow grown from 28 pieces to 39 – but is now down to 33, after this purge. And from there, my plan was to talk about how decluttering is not the most important step to take when you start a shopping ban and go on to explain what was.

I’ve been trying to find the right words to describe these things, until I realized it really doesn’t need anything more than that single paragraph. It also, perhaps, doesn’t need to be talked about at all. The world doesn’t need another post about decluttering this week. That’s not meant to knock anyone else for publishing one, but you don’t need another from me. I’ve written at least half a dozen before. And something much bigger has been happening in this part of the world that I’ve been a little too quiet about until now.

I’ve been scared to talk about the election / this administration / all the stories of what’s been happening in the US because I’m not from there. I’m Canadian and I didn’t want to say something stupid because I might be misinformed about how the politics work. I’m also a Canadian who works with Americans. And I’m a Canadian who loves to travel within the US and have probably seen more of it than some of my American friends (32 states and counting). Heck, I’ve even looked at different visas that could bring me down there one day.

So, I’ve been scared that something I say here or on social media could either make me sound stupid or damage my relationship with the country I share a border with. I said this to a few friends when I was in Denver this weekend, and then I remembered that is what it feels like when you’re in an abusive relationship – being afraid to speak up and use your voice. I know from experience that not using your voice can cost you a lot. (If you want to read more about that, I encourage you to read this post by Allison Fallon.)

In his latest post, Chris Guillebeau wrote, “One day we’ll all be asked this question: where were you during the Civil Rights Movement of 2017?” I’m so grateful for every word of that post, but especially that question because it forced me to realize that remaining neutral or “not wanting to get political” has been a mistake. He also showed me that I can say a lot with just a few words. And it is because I have such an important relationship with the US + so many people there that I want to make sure you know where I stand.

I don’t support the bigotry and hate that has grown under this new administration; the derogatory comments made to / criminal and violent acts taken out on / rights that have been stripped from people of all races, religions, gender and sexual identities. Being Canadian, it’s easy for us to assume people know we are an open and loving nation, or that we are neutral, but we aren’t immune to this either. So, I want to be very clear: you and your human rights matter to me. This is my little corner of the internet and you are all welcome here.

I’m going to take this week off the blog. There’s nothing wrong with carrying on with our lives and our work, right now, because that matters too. But this week, I want to make sure you know which side of this movement I’m on. Canadians might be neutral, but I will never be neutral or impartial about bigotry and hate.

And I’m sorry I didn’t say something here sooner.

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  • Listen. I am an African American female that has been trying minimalism and frugality for years. It has been difficult to find a minimalism blogger that I connect with and motivates me to change my routine. I have been following you for several years since you did an interview with the “Listen, Money Matters” podcast. Every single time you have spoken out, you make a space that feels more accessible to me. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate this. I don’t want this post to make you feel obligated to be perfect or always say the right things, but it helps.

    • Thank you for sharing this, Tammy. I certainly know my words and actions aren’t perfect, but I am grateful to have a safe space here where we can talk about these things. <3

  • Really well said, Cait. I, too, didn’t feel comfortable speaking about everything’s that happened because I’m Canadian and didn’t want to say something ‘wrong’. Thanks for showing us there can never be anything wrong with standing up for human rights and against hatred.

  • Thanks for this post, Cait. I’m struggling with feeling like I need to do and say more in my blog life, not just in real life, and especially as an American (and a white woman at that). The fact that you spoke out as a Canadian is a great reminder that I need to stop thinking about it and actually do it!

  • Cait! What a post! I have been waiting for many of my favorite bloggers to stand up and speak out publicly on their platforms, and too few have done so. Thank you so, so much for publishing this.

  • “And I’m sorry I didn’t say something here sooner.”
    Don’t be sorry, Cait. Better to speak up honestly and bravely eventually then to remain quiet. Although the U.S. popular vote wished otherwise, U.S. political election rules went in the opposite direction with their choice. For all those many Americans who didn’t even bother to vote either way, I wonder how many are now regretting their “political silence”. Time will tell.

    • It is unfortunate the country will likely take a huge step backwards, during this term. My one hope is that it starts a lot of deeply important conversations – and inspires a lot more people to vote in the next election.

  • Thanks for sharing your feelings on the matter :) As an American, the outrage I have at this administration and the horrible things that have gone on and continue to go on, are seriously just mind-boggling. I sometimes have to ask myself, are we really living in 2017 because there are times where it sure doesn’t feel like it.

  • Cait, just so you know as someone who lives here in the states, everything is going very well. I didn’t vote for the last president but I also didn’t get funded by my side to cause disruption and report on false flags. It is unfortunate that the actions of a few and the overreaction of media, etc. makes it look as if things are bad but in reality they are not. I am glad to have been born here, I do not worry about things, and I sleep soundly at night. I would recommend to those who think this country is horrible and we are under some type of fascist government and leader to go visit some other countries around our world and see if what you are protesting, acting out against here, is worse in those countries, In fact much, much worse. One side lost and can’t face reality, so they go about inventing their own…..

    • Thank you, Mick. I often feel like I’m in an abusive relationship, as Cait states above, because I can’t freely open up about my political beliefs. Mostly because I am right-winged and female. I’m glad you said these things. I agree.

      • I agree with Nick. The media is feeding distorted stories about one side and ignoring or downplaying the abuses and violence of the radical left. The problem is that the media is leaving out that a large majority of people here are middle of the road on both sides. I also feel as a moderate female that I am being forcefully censored, but only by those claiming to be liberal. I have more freedom of dissenting speech and expression with my friends that are more right leaning than the ones that are left leaning. The ones that identify as left are more likely to try to shout out or talk above me and belittle any views different from their views, such as dismissing any views by white males or from my friends that are conservative black males and females or Latino. Extremely narrow minded labels that are dismissive to avoid confronting their own ease at which they discriminate based on a stereotypical tag. It shuts out any meaningful dialogue and potential understanding that is needed so badly. You can’t help someone change their opinions if you can’t even have a discussion without yelling misinformed but popular slurs at them. It is a sad state of affairs because lack of genuine discussion, even dissenting discussions, are the reason Americans are losing any social empathy. We are in our phones and completely destroying the ability to connect.

    • I can appreciate that things are business as usual for many people. When visiting some friends in the US, I can see that is true. But it’s also important to acknowledge many others don’t have that same luxury. At the end of the day, that’s all we have to do as humans: acknowledge each other and make sure we feel heard.

    • The reality is that people who are not white, cisgender, heterosexual, and at least middle class are not respected by this administration.

    • Not one of my conservative family members would say that things are going well right now. Not a single one (and there are many, I am the black sheep). We (the libs) don’t have to make up an alternate reality, our President tweets proof of his incompetence daily. His choice in words and phrases are not meant to bring a nation together, he is bringing this country to a boil and either it’s on purpose or because he really doesn’t have a clue as to how to do his new job. The White House has a revolving door of employees, politicians in his own party are opposing him, there are Nazi’s in the streets, people dying or hurt because a car purposefully drove into a protest, grandiose threats to North Korea, more of our military men and women going back to Afghanistan, hypothetical policies being TWEETED before being discussed with cabinet… what have I made up so far? I’m asking this honestly, what is your reality of these events looking like? Why does none of that concern you?
      To point to other countries and say how much worse it might be there is like doing an okay job at work and when your boss asks you to do better you point to another employee doing less. Our country is founded on ideals of greatness, not “at least we are better than that other guy over there.” I’m not against gratitude, I know, as a white cis female I have a lot of privilege here, a lot of privilege that I didn’t even realize for a long time because it was so ingrained as norm in our society. That’s not going to stop me from wanting better for women as a whole, that’s not going to stop me from challenging a President that thinks it’s okay to “grab ’em by the p*ssy” and kiss without consent because he’s famous, I’m not going to be okay with people brushing off those remarks as locker room talk and “harmless.” I can sit here, patriotic as all get out for a country I love and honestly pretty comfortable and still ask that we do better for EVERYONE that lives here, that we actually live up to our ideals of greatness and not because we threaten to beat other countries up with our power and force the world has never seen before (come on, what does that even mean…) but because we are a safe place for all of our people, that everyone here gets to sleep soundly at night like you are right now.
      I wouldn’t say that things are getting worse so much as they are getting more obvious. Our current President has given room and space for these bigoted and hateful ideas to be spoken out loud in public forums again, he himself has done nothing to try to calm or steady the situation. His answer to everything is bigger, better, more power, more threats, more force, and to bully bully bully. This is not an alternate reality, this is the point of our implosion or repair.

    • There is no such thing as “better” or “worse” racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc. It’s all unreasonable and unacceptable.

  • I need to say, that although I love your decluttering posts, I am so heartened you spoke up. I get that many of us aren’t versed on history or politics; we may not have direct experience as an oppressed individual and perhaps can’t contribute meaningfully to dialogue.. but anyone I have been following who has a decent platform and has remained silent has shocked me. We can at least give voice to those who are struggling to be heard. I am glad you overcame your fear over how you would be potentially personally inconvenienced in exchange for speaking up for what you feel is right!!

  • I agree, Mick. Our country is not horrible, but this President is. The “reality” is that this person is a bully, and is not looking out for everyone’s best interests and nor does he even try to pretend that he does. I am horrified (though not surprised) every day at his own words, captured on camera. These actions and words are not made up. They are there for everyone to see. So, no, I don’t feel our reality is very pretty right now. Words and actions have consequences.

  • Well done Cait. I am across the other side of the pond and try my best to view things from both sides of the equation. But honestly, for a country that is supposed to be a leader of the free world, it is quite shocking. I know people will say that the media is biased against the new administration but a lot of my views are based on what is directly said or tweeted about. You got to take that at face value – it comes directly from the source. We all can have differing views and opinions but bullying, discrimination, and bigotry shouldn’t be common practice (as evident right now).

  • I have been struggling with what to do and say as well. I happen to be spending a week in Oregon, with American friends. I wanted to hug the shop owners in Portland with signs welcoming everyone, my husband told staff at a restraint he loved the everybody bathrooms.

    Unfounded hate is dangerous. We must join together and find a way to love.

  • I am white but do try to keep in the loop on things via the news and twitter. If you follow anyone who writes about “Black Twitter” issues, it’s very eye-opening for people like me who think we understand race issues but really have so much more to learn. I recommend it if you’re interested.

    It’s amazing how offended people can be by being called out on their wrong behavior. I have a coworker who doesn’t display racist/prejudice tendencies but is pretty level-headed but even she feels like she’s being attacked when some football players decide to bend their knee during the national anthem. Sometimes it’s best for us to listen to people as opposed to saying #notallwhitepeople. If we all listened to each other, like really listened, and tried to understand the struggles that people face, we’d be a lot better off as a society. Plus, we might realize we have a heck of a lot more in common with each other than differences!

  • Cait–your words and timely and spot on (and don’t be afraid to speak…we come here because you are always thoughtful). I am American and am horrified daily by what happens in the White House and the things that come out of his mouth. I cannot imagine a person more polarizing BUT hopefully by the end of this horrific roller coaster ride there will be a silver lining or something positive to come out of this.

  • Oh my, Cate, you nearly made me cry. Thank you for your heart. Much love and a new respect for you and all things Canadian, which you now embody/stand for to me.

  • Thanks for this, Cait. I already knew what your post was going to be about when I read the title, and it made me feel less alone.

    Yes, this is a blog about minimalism and frugality, but if we’re not going to talk about real life as well, then what are the aims of minimalism and frugality? Doesn’t pursuit of those things give us more freedom and opportunities to help others, speak out, and do the things that really matter?

    Thanks for making your stance clear and for overcoming the fear you had in voicing it.

  • I’m a first time visitor to your blog (found you through your work for Tangerine) but I just wanted to say that as a fellow Canadian, your response to these recent troubling events really struck a chord with me. Thank you for speaking up and I look forward to following your blog!

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! While some might be feeling everything is great in the States, many of us are NOT. It’s become more acceptable for people to be yelled at, bullied, discriminated against, etc. Not too long ago, a man was killed while trying to help some Muslim women being bullied on a train in Portland, OR. It’s not fake news. It’s happening.

  • Dear Cait,
    thank you for this post. I am German and until Tuesday I have lived for several years in Portland Oregon with my husband and daughters, and before Trump we often thought of extending our stay. After the elections and all that followed, we decided we couldn’t stay any longer and took every effort we could to make a return to Germany possible. As all was settled Charlottesville happened and I have to admit I was so glad we could leave. I love the United States and its beauty and all the friendly people, but all what happened after the election somehow more and more overshadowed what I love about the US. It literally made me sick to my stomach whats going on right now and how the people seem to be more and more devided. I know that in my home country we also have some problems to solve, but I feel so much safer with our government which is reliable and sensible. I am truly sad about where the US seems to be going right now. Hopefully this nightmare will end rather sooner than later.
    All the best to you

  • Thank you for saying this Cait. I’m from New Zealand, so a long way from the US! But no matter where we are from, the goings on in the US right now impact us, and the time to be neutral and to ‘not make a fuss’ are over! Being vocal about standing with those who are victims is so important. If we don’t comment on the injustice, then we are supporting those committing the injustice, not those who the injustice is being committed against. There are some things that are so unacceptable (hello white supremacy) that we need to draw a line in the sand and be vocal about the side we are standing on. Thank you for speaking up and standing up for oppression xxx

  • I’m a new reader and I love your work. And thank you for this post. I can imagine few things more important right now.

  • I too am outraged at the hate that is being displayed. However, I am not so quick to blame the administration. It has been proven that there are factions and people who are deliberately feeding the hate so that the “current administration” will be blamed. It is amazing to me that some will purposefully promote hate to advance their own agenda. How low we have fallen. If more people would speak up as you have done, we could remove bigotry and hate. Just look at the outpouring of love and assistance for Texas this week. Heart warming. If all of us who have been silent speak with words and actions, hate could be eradicated.