Towards the end of the second week of this Minimalist Game, i found myself standing at two points at the same time: 1) at a point of giving up and 2) at a point of no return. I had been struggling with another thing other than stuff: trash.
It’s embarrassing how in that second week i got my right hand injured by stuffing trash into ecobricks. BITCH, I HAD BEEN STUFFING FOR DAYS. And it was all because of my own fault. Last semester, i asked my students to make ecobricks and submit them once full. I told them that while their ecobricks and reflection essays will be graded, i will only accept perfectly stuffed ecobricks. But alas, at the end of the semester i got so much busy and stressed out that i was not able to “quality check” the ecobricks and ended up taking them home.
So in between those weeks of decluttering and tidying i restuffed the ecobricks that didn’t meet their weight goal. In the process, i had to “unstuff” a bottle, cut up its contents, and stuff them into another bottle. I was able to empty six to seven bottles with a combined volume of approximately 5L! In addition, i also stuffed all plastics i could find as i declutter.
And, bitch, it ain’t easy. Not just physically. But also mentally. I can deal with the pains my hands, back, and butt went through while i sit on the floor and cut and stuff and cut and stuff. But the most difficult parts were the moments when, in the middle of all this trash–other people’s trash!–i would ask myself, “Why am i doing this? Why am i zero wasting? Why am i wasting my time dealing with other people’s trash when i should be working on something else? Why can’t i just throw all these into the garbage? Ano bang pinaglalaban ko??”
You know you’re in a very ugly situation when you start questioning your values and the things you’re fighting for. You’re forced to reevaluate everything, especially yourself.
And when you do, you realize there’s nothing wrong with your values. And the things you’re fighting for are worth fighting for. The problem is in the way you’re taking things, especially things of important matter.
Not that trash isn’t an important matter, because it is. But i think zero waste is not just about lessening trash; it’s also about being mindful of our use of resources, such as time, so that they won’t go to waste.
During those frustrating moments, i thought that had i checked the quality of my students’ ecobricks, i wouldn’t be wasting my time restuffing. Had i done it right the first time, had been sterner as regards requirements, i wouldn’t be punishing myself. While I believe that we should all learn to forgive ourselves for our shortcomings and failures, i’m also one who’d lose sleep if i don’t take full responsibility for my actions. And so, even if i had forgiven myself, i couldn’t bring myself to throw the poorly done ecobricks away, move on, and start zero-waste-sent-to-landfills afresh. If i do that, it’ll be harder to forgive myself. So I carried on with the restuffing, vowing never to do this ever again.
And this is where Marie Kondo comes in. It was during those many frustrating, sometimes anxious, moments that i realized i should speed things up so that i can focus on important matters other than trash and clutter. I had heard of KonMari’s “spark joy” method before but i thought it just wasn’t for me and so i opted for the Minimalist Game instead. When i finally finished the ecobricks by the end of Week 2, i tried reading the sample pages of KonMari’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up on Google Play. Only a few pages in and i knew KonMari was thinking of me in particular when she wrote the book. Bitch, i tell you, that book was written for me! :’)
And so i ditched this Minimalist Game and went into a tidying festival the next 10 days (i finished tidying in less than two weeks). I will write about my tidying festival next. But for now let me just say that while i’ve only managed to finish tidying my personal spaces (in her books, KonMari spoke against tidying other people’s spaces), i was able to let go of more than the target 465 things. And with that i can say that i’ve felt much lighter, much better.