On a very rare and special moment YouTube has recently recommended me a video that I was actually interested in. It was from Janell Kristina and she talked about 50 things she did not buy anymore since she became a minimalist. Although I haven't talked about my personal minimalist journey a lot on my blog (but if you'd be interested in that I will definitely do it) I have grown into living a pretty minimalist lifestyle myself so I was very interested to hear about the things she would not buy any longer. One of the things she talked about in this video, which she later addressed in another video fully dedicated to this concept, is the idea of a 'Fantasy Self'.

Living a minimalist lifestyle means you live consciously, meaning that you don't let things into your life that don't add any value to it. This value will be different to anyone and it will also change as you evolve as a person. Things that used to be useful in your life might have lost their purpose now and only take up space. Some things you may have liked a year ago but you don't like the way they look anymore. This could apply to material things, but also to ideas you might have been entertaining for too long, or even people to whom you held on and you'd be better off without because the relationship does not have any value anymore in the best case or might even be toxic in the worst, draining your energy and making you feel bad instead of happy. When you decide to live a conscious life you don't allow things like that to just 'happen' to you any longer. It doesn't mean your life will be perfect from then on, but you get to spend your energy, time and money on the things that you actually care about and that actually make your life beautiful, as you are now paying attention to what these things are (and what they are definitely not). 

This is where the Fantasy Self comes in. It's the person you wish you were for some reason, and you buy things for hoping that just having certain material things make you more like this fantasy version of yourself. For example, you might buy all the cookbooks in the world, receive them every Christmas, yet still you're not a person that enjoys cooking. Or you have all this very fancy work out clothing, but in real life you don't like going to the gym and you can't remember the last time you went. Maybe you always wanted to be a creative person, so you spend money on these expensive pencils, markers, brushes and other supplies but you have used them once and never looked at them again. Buying these things might make you feel good about yourself for a moment. See! I am a person who loves cooking! I have this amazing new cookbook that will teach me so many new recipes. But soon a little feeling might start lingering; that you are fooling yourself. And everytime you see these books and realize you haven't used them, you are being confronted with the gap between who you really are, and who you kind of wish you were. All the things you buy for your Fantasy Self, are things that do not add value to your life, since it's YOUR life, not the life of this non-existent, more sporty version of you. 

So if you want to live consciously, one of the things you'll need to do is saying goodbye to this Fantasy Self. 
For me, my Fantasy Self has changed through the years and a big part of it I have already managed to let go of. For example, my Fantasy Self wears pretty but uncomfortable clothing like high heels, rings, bracelets, earrings, she wears daring dresses and she is brave enough not to care about going braless in public. As I really love the comfort of being able to lay down on my bed or squeeze my boyfriend without having the pin of an earring being painfully pressed into the skin behind my ear, I hardly ever wear earrings. I can't stand heavy weights pulling down my ears either, so heavy earrings - as pretty as many of these vintage style shell shaped golden earrings might be - are not for me. I am a germophobe, so I can't wear rings as I wash my hands so many times a day and I have to take the rings off to do it so I can properly dry my hands after, and the few times I wore rings I have left them somewhere (luckily I either realized and went back, or I was contacted about it). I have trouble with one of my big toes (some kind of permanent inflammation) so I can't walk far on high heels without feeling like I have to throw up from the pain, so I can't wear high heels unless I don't have to walk much. I don't like wearing plunging necklines because it makes me feel uncomfortable, and I am really keen on one particular bra style from one particular brand (Marie Jo) so I can't wear dresses that require special, annoying bras that will only make me furious. I am not brave enough to go braless as I would feel uncomfortable knowing that people could notice that I'm not wearing a bra since my natural boobshape gives it away. As you could read in this blogpost, my Fantasy Self is also a fashion blogger, which I am not since I can't be bothered to look for locations to have endless, boring and frustrating photoshoots with my boyfriend that make me feel awkward and shy, and we'd rather just be playful and have fun together, not worrying what we look like and not taking any pictures whatsoever. In the life of my real self, the best moments are never captured on camera, and if they are they're definitely not aesthetically pleasing pictures that I'd put on Instagram.

My Fantasy Self is so chill, not highly sensitive and definitely does not have anxiety

Another aspect of my Fantasy Self relates to my character and that one is not that easy to let go of, I bet this applies to most people. My Fantasy Self is not a highly sensitive person. I used to try going to festivals and they were an utter nightmare to me. I had my highschool boyfriend leave me in the tent as I was so completely done with all the loudness and all the people of my first festival but I didn't want to ruin his night. Later that night - it was almost impossible to sleep through the music and the loud people - one of his friends jumped on the tent - which was on my head - and I hated that I ever even said yes to joining him to this stupid festival. After that I went to a handful of other festivals and I hated each and every one of them. The last time I told myself I'd like to go to a rock festival, I saw the light after my best friend told me that you get pushed against the barriers when you stand in the front, and I got severe anxiety just thinking about standing in a mass of people touching me and pushing me against the cold barrier that would be smelling of metal (the material, not the music), and I would probably also smell their sweaty armpits, their cigarettes, their beer-breaths and when they'd be yelling and jumping they'd stand on my toes, spill beer on me and probably there would even be spit on me as well from them singing along. It might sound funny to you as I write it out like this, but as a highly sensitive person I am extremely aware of all these things and they freak me out. I can't just relax and focus on enjoying the music (which is also too loud for me), I am feeling, hearing, smelling ALL of these other things that aren't just terribly unpleasant but that are also happening all at the same time. So not only is this giving me serious anxiety, it also drains me until the point that I need to go away and be alone to have my energy get back to the basic level. Luckily I have already given up that part of my Fantasy Self. I know I do not and will never like festivals. 

However I'm still struggling to accept the fact that my real self, as opposed to my Fantasy Self, IS in fact highly sensitive. It's like I know that I am, but when I'm put in situations that challenge my sensitivity, it still hurts. I guess it's one of the things you just have to learn how to live with.