Keep & Throw Away

November 24, 2017 , In: Figuring it Out , With: 8 Comments

In the last few months I’ve had both the pleasure of my youngest son turning three and growing slightly more independent and both children consistently (finally) sleeping past 5:45 and through the night which means I feel the most alert that I have in the past 6 years (counting pregnancy – ’cause who sleeps well when they’re pregnant?)

I also read all four Caitlin Moran books which my sister gave me for my birthday.  Thanks ‘sis!  The last one I read was How to Build A Girl, which for $6.92 on Amazon is probably the best bang for your buck going.  It’s really about the discovery of who you are.

Here’s a quote:

“And so you go out into your world, and try and find the things that will be useful to you. Your weapons. Your tools. Your charms. You find a record, or a poem, or a picture of a girl that you pin to the wall and go, ‘Her. I’ll try and be her. I’ll try and be her—but here.’ You observe the way others walk, and talk, and you steal little bits of them—you collage yourself out of whatever you can get your hands on. You are like the robot Johnny 5 in Short Circuit, crying, ‘More input! More input for Johnny 5!’ as you rifle through books and watch films and sit in front of the television, trying to guess which of these things that you are watching—Alex Carrington Colby walking down a marble staircase; Anne of Green Gables holding her shoddy suitcase; Cathy wailing on the moors; Courtney Love wailing in her petticoat; Dorothy Parker gunning people down; Grace Jones singing ‘Slave to the Rhythm’—you will need when you get out there. What will be useful. What will be, eventually, you.” –p.297

She tries out being all sorts of different things and near the end, upon reflection, creates a list of what to keep and what to throw away.  It was genius.

I think that this is an exercise that all of us could use at anytime we are ready for a change.  I have to be honest that I could not have done this exercise over the past five years.  I was pretty much just going for the ‘holding on by a thread’ mode and I kind of just had to go with the flow.

But now that I am feeling a bit…. fresher… I thought about this and came up with a list which I will shorten so that this blog post doesn’t get too wordy.

Throw Away:

  1. Going everywhere in yucky clothing that I wear either because a) it’s comfortable or b) it’s on top of the pile.  This is not me.  I am not someone who rolls around everywhere in sweatpants and an old t-shirt.  I am a stylish woman, who enjoys wearing fun clothes and feeling good in them.  Clearly, after 5 years of sweatpants building a wardrobe from scratch is a bit of an undertaking.  My friend Minna suggested I just start with a really nice coat.  It worked.  I ran errands the other day wearing pyjamas underneath and still felt fab.  (I bought this one)
  2. Huffing up the stairs.  Get outside lady.
  3. Pop Radio.  OK, so once in a while Taylor Swift never hurt anyone but in my heart this is not the music I want to listen to day in and day out.  I used to love music, going out to concerts and just falling in love with a song.  I’m working on it slowly building up a list using Apple Music to guide me. I am all indie all the time.      Or as my old roommate Heather used to call it… slit your wrists music.  (sorry – am I going to get letters on writing that phrase?)


  1. Hanging out with my kids!  I love this and feel like these past few months have been too crazy with work.  It’s stressing me out, and at the end of the day when I think about what really makes me happy it’s not working late on projects.
  2. Photographing for me…  taking personal images where I can go as dark and moody or as artistic as I want.  I haven’t been doing enough of this and want to push myself to do more.
  3. Getting active in the community.  Since I’ve had kids, kind of by default, I just became a more intense member of the community by going to the library, skating, swimming, parks, etc.  I love going out and enjoying my beautiful neighbourhood and seeing my lovely neighbours.

What would you keep and what would you throw away?

Also sorry about being so silent lately.

xx michelle

    • S.D
    • November 24, 2017

    I love this! So happy to read your voice again! I would like veto throw away guilt -it doesn’t do any good. As for keep, my girlfriends have been my soul food, for pretty much,ever

      • Michelle
      • November 25, 2017

      Thanks so much Shana! Yes, throw away guilt but how exactly does one go about doing that!? I have to say as I work out ‘life’ I feel less and less guilt about doing things that ultimately may take time away from my family but make me a better, happier person. Ah yes, girlfriends are the ultimate aren’t they. I am so lucky to have met so many wonderful women that I can call my friends and I can turn to in both the good and the bad times. Thanks for continuing to read!

    • JoAnn JESTIN.
    • November 25, 2017

    This was a great article Michelle and l thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s interesting to note that this is a process that one needs to go through several times over a lifetime. I am 65 and going through it yet again as l move into the retirement phase of my life. What I will keep and what l will toss is a work in progress, at this time, but this method seems like a great place to start. Thank you for sharing.

      • Michelle
      • November 25, 2017

      Yes, I think it’s always good to think about what works and what doesn’t as life is continuously changing isn’t it. Thanks for continuing to read!

    • Minna
    • November 25, 2017

    Yay! Work that coat lady! Makes me feel put together over sweats.
    Someone also called our music “skit your wrist music” . We should talk

      • Michelle
      • November 25, 2017

      I actually had jeans on but my pyjama top on top, and to be fair I was caring for a sick child too, but still. Major yay for me! Yes, well, I know not everyone loves listening to depressing love songs over and over again but hey, what works for one may not work for another. Another score is that I have been so out of the scene for a while, I have TONS of material to sift through and am loving what I am finding. Let me know what your listening too or maybe I can follow a playlist on Apple Music? I’ve just kind of discovered that but all my playlists were too crap to share. 😉

    • Dionne
    • November 25, 2017

    Lovely post, Michelle. Welcome back.

    It’s taken all of my 40someodd years to truly understand the word, forgiveness.

    “Forgiveness is abandoning all hope for a better past.” (Jampolsky)

    I am continuously trying to throw away judgement, and exchanging it for forgiveness….and acceptance. It’s actually lot of work, sometimes, but a worthwhile rewiring project.


      • Michelle
      • November 25, 2017

      Thanks Dionne!

      Yes, forgiveness can be difficult and so can being non-judgemental. I’ve found though that writing this blog has been a tremendous exercise. During each blog I write, I have to carefully consider if I am at all being judgemental and if I am why? Why do I care? I find I care less and less about what other people do, which frankly is freeing.

      Thanks for continuing to read!

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Michelle Little

Writer & Photographer

Originally from the prairies and now in Montreal, I love exploring new places, eating great food and modern design. I'm mom of two wild things and paper and cake make me happy. Photographing your cutie family would make me very happy.

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