a story about a towel, or; needs and wants


I mentioned needs vs wants in that post about werds

I was going to start this off a different way

But then I saw a towel on the floor

And my brain veered another direction

And I think I shall follow it

And see where it goes

It was a white towel

Old, but life had been rough to it, and it showed. It looked older.

I picked it back up, to dry off my hair some before going out to the porch for a cigarette/coffee sit

But I hesitated

Because my hair is now purple

And the color is still bleeding a bit when it’s wet (because I wasn’t as thorough as I could have been when rinsing the excess color)

I had already transferred some dye onto this particular towel, yesterday

So it was a fruitless discussion that took place within my brain-

Fruitless, at least, if I consider having a spotless towel as the only resource value in that train of thought

But that towel was compared, by my brain, to all the other towels here, for a moment

And I realized

We have so many towels

So many.

In this house

We keep towels (as a stand-in for Stuff in a general sense)


And then some

This is, on the face of it, out of a desire to extract the highest amount of utility possible from them

From them, and from the money spent on them

But there are so many

It enables us

To do what seems like the easy thing, when they are dirty

And grab a new one, when we could have washed an old one, instead

And then

It is not too far of a step
In our brains
To just buy a new one

When we can’t find a clean one

And this is mirrored throughout our house, here

Throughout the lives and the history of myself and my parents

We had so many hidden treasures in the garage, when I cleaned it

And so many that had sat for so long, hidden

That they had become trash, instead

Because, when they were needed for some task

They could not be easily found

And pressure, in the form of Time

And Stress

Acts in a way, because of those lazy brain habits (that actually, ultimately, create more work for us, down the line!)

That results in us buying a new one, of whatever that chemical or tool or bit of hardware or camping gear we were looking for, and couldn’t immediately find

Because the magnitude of the task

Of finding the old one, right then- of finding the hidden one

Is just too great

And so, it sits

And waits

And, frequently, decays

Becomes unusable

And, in so doing

Becomes a problem of the whys of the whats

I think, anyway

We here, in this house where I live

Buy Stuff

In search of convenience, and of comfort

And then, we keep it


In search of frugality

But if we do not have a System

In our House

If I do not have a system, here in the guest house

To organize all this Stuff

It becomes stress

And waste

It becomes a habit which is counter to the original purposes for which we Buy Stuff

Counter to the goal at the heart of being frugal

Because, like stress

This kind of stuff piles up



It rises

Until it must be released

And I’ve seen this over and again, in trash cans and dumpsters across LA

This is not just my family

When the mess becomes too great

And we do not have the patience

The resiliency, maybe

To donate

Or sell

Then, we throw away

I am not exempt from this.

I did it some yesterday, even knowing I was doing it

Most of it is getting sold or donated

But stuff that I would have had to clean before donating

Well, some of that, I threw away

It has become a task too large

I left it for too long

And was impatient as a result

I am not sure, but I think maybe this whole needs vs wants thing

This whole whys of the whats thing

Is so tricksy, for me, and maybe for us

Because what we need

Is something akin to happiness
I don’t like using that word
It is not quite accurate, to what I have in my head, in my heart

But the things which we think will give us happiness, give us comfort, security, and peace

Are not always the things which actually do

And even the ones that genuinely do

Will not, for everyone else

May not, even for us, in a later moment, a moment after the one that is Now

I am my only enemy.

Because I do things for one reason, in one part of my brain

That ultimately work counter to that goal

Within the heart of Brooke,

Causing trouble down the line

For Future Brooke

That she will frequently attribute to something else

And, so

The trouble grows

And mutates

And, all the while

pressure is rising

And the cracks begin to show

And so, this channel, this post, this train of thought

Is one more path, for me, to try to find more agency within my life

One more tool added to my ever growing Brookebox

To get better at heading off my problems

Before they become problems

I have not been doing so, quite obviously – it has taken weeks for me to figure out some of the whys behind the ‘what’ that is my messy guest house

In a way that allowed me to turn the work of cleaning it

Into werk

It is not clean, not all the way


But I did more yesterday than I had in the weeks before, combined

And, today

I’ve already showered

I’ve already taken the time to flesh out this thought, here; which makes it real, in my head

And in my heart

And so this thought

Has shaped my feelings

And this is one way

That I am endeavoring to continue retraining my brain

To continue in my attempts

To Build a Better Brooke

To be a better mom to my cats

A more responsible and resilient daughter to my parents

But mostly

To maintain this happiness

From which all else just kind of… happens


I spent three years living on the street in Los Angeles. I came out of that, changed. This is my story.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Becky

    Your writing is FANTASTIC and I love reading your project blogs!! Keep writing… awesome style!!

    1. brooke

      Thanks, Becky! You’re a doll!! <3 <3

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