Thursday, 7 May 2015

Shifts. Or, Why a Writer Chooses to Get Rid of Her Desk.

Sometimes everything shifts in your life but the changes are not apparent to other people, apart from close friends and family. From the outside, your life looks the same. In many ways, it is the same: I'm still living with my parents, still single, still struggling with anxiety and depression. I haven't had a windfall or found a job. I spend my time in a similar way, reading and watching TV and trying to write. Yet I feel very different.

Perhaps the most visible change is that I've become vegan. I've been a vegetarian for around 16/17 years, so the transition isn't as dramatic as it is for some people but it's a big change nonetheless. For one thing, it restricts the variety of chocolate I can eat! More than anything though, I am now living in alignment with my beliefs. I used to kid myself that the dairy industry was unconnected to the meat industry and that sales of leather didn't contribute to the perpetuation of the meat industry. I did a lot of soul searching and committed myself to avoiding all animal products. Even leather shoes.

The second big change is...decluttering! My hoarder tendencies aren't as extreme as they used to be, but I was holding on to a lot of stuff. Stuff I didn't use much (or, in many cases, at all). Stuff that did little more than take up space in my tiny bedroom. It didn't make sense.

So I got rid of the piles of magazines, keeping useful articles in a folder for future reference. I donated clothes that were so baggy on me they looked ridiculous. I sifted through piles of paperwork, putting most of it out for recycling. I've even put my straighteners and two sets of curling tongs in the loft, to see how I cope without them.

Then, over last weekend, I stepped it up a notch. I got rid of my desk and chair. I hear you: "But *gasp* you're supposed to be a writer!" Indeed, but I rarely used my desk. Apart from to pile clothes on. My computer is a laptop and I tend to use it either (shocker) on my lap or at the dining table. Getting rid of my desk made sense.

But, gosh, how much sense it made! Without the desk, my bedroom feels massive. I have actual floor space. I can sit on my floor for the first time in years. My desk was essential when I was at university, but it became surplus to requirements and I was bloody slow to see it. 

Instead of a desk, I now have a flexible space that suits me. My white ottoman, which I believe is older than I am, has become a moveable seat/surface. Should I wish to do so, I could use it as a desk while sitting on the floor. My writing books are easier to grab and flick through, too. They are on shelves which used to surround the desk, so I would have to clamber over furniture to reach them in the past. Now, I can access information or inspiration in seconds as I pass through.

Moreover, I feel better for having a bedroom/workspace that is less cluttered. I'm not finished (whittling down my books is a work in progress), but my room feels more like a sanctuary and less like a health hazard. Being able to move more freely makes me feel more free. My mind is clearer and for the first time in months, I can focus on writing.

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