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Allie (pronouns: She & They) is a Chicago based writer, visual artist, vegan, and TV sitcom enthusiast. With a degree in Comedy Writing and Performance from Columbia College Chicago they spend most of their time writing and illustrating comics that can be found on their instagram (@allieshapiro). Her visual art has been featured in coffee shops and cafes around the city of Chicago. When they're not creating, Allie can be found rewatching The Office and making crepes.
Have you gotten on the craze of “Marie Kondo-ing” your house? For those that are unfamiliar, Marie Kondo is an organizing consultant and author. Her show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” on Netflix features her visiting with multiple families and the ways in which she helps them cleanse their homes. Most episodes get emotional quickly because her whole process is grounded in the question - “does this bring you joy?”.
I finally took the plunge and watched to see what the hype was. The reviews are all true! I cleaned out my closet, my workspace, and even my tiny kitchen. I can now confidently say all my possessions bring me joy. Even the draino. The hardest part of this process for me was finding props and memories from my time spent in the closet. It was emotional to say the least, but at the end I was able to get some closure on a time of my life I tend to feel a lot of guilt about.
With a super clean and joyful apartment, I started thinking of all the other spaces I take up in my life day to day. I am an artist and was raised by one. I was super lucky to grow up in a creative household. I went to art school and now live an artist’s life of balancing freelance work and a day job that pays my bills. Most of what I do and how I live is based in what fuels my heart and soul. I have to keep a realistic view of doing what I need to do to eat, pay rent, and do the essentials. But if I didn’t check in with how much joy my everyday affairs bring me I wouldn’t be pursuing my creative passions at all. I’d probably be in an office somewhere pretending to laugh at the jokes Kevin from accounting makes at the water cooler.
Regardless of your profession, I think the question “does this bring me joy?” shouldn’t stop at our material items and is something we should ask ourselves often. There are probably a lot of areas of your life that have a similar representation to the shirt in the back of your closet you never wear but keep “just in case.” Here are some questions I’ve started asking myself in hopes of finding more of my Dapper Joy as a Dapper Boi. I hope they help you as well.
Does the food I put in my body “bring me joy?”
I personally am a vegan and I love it. It has taken me about ten years to get here so it didn’t happen overnight. There has been value to every step of my journey with veganism from starting out with removing red meat from my diet to trying to be a pescetarian (only fish - I hated that). Whatever it is you eat - I think it’s good to be conscious about where it comes from and how it got to you.
Do the clothes I wear represent me as the creative professional I am?
This meant more than going through my closet. It had lots to do with gender expression and how I will armor myself to face whatever the day may bring. At my queer clothing infancy I had a hard time feeling like an adult when I shopped. Thanks to lines like Dapper Boi there are ways to buy clothes made for my body. Which is truly the coolest thing. Even if you don’t know much about fashion or what you like I would encourage you to be thankful for, hold on to, and continue to shop for the items that make you feel like the person you aspire to be.
Does my morning routine “bring me joy?”
I don’t have much of a morning routine. But I do enjoy the small bits of consistency I’ve created for myself. It includes - taking out my mouth guard (I grind my teeth at night because of anxiety), brushing my teeth, taking my meds (again, anxiety), taking a shower, making the bed, deodorant, a spritz of this lavender stuff I got from Walgreens, and ending on my favorite part - picking out my outfit. It’s not much but it gets me in to really feeling like me and that feels pretty great.
Does what I spend my money on “bring me joy?”
This one makes my eyes roll because juggling finances can be tough but it’s necessary. It’s hard to make the choice to buy this over that based on price point or to go grocery shopping even when I’m tired but it does literally pay off if I keep reminding myself of the bigger picture. That’s not to say I don’t spend a whole bunch on clothes cuz that brings me the most joy of all and no one can tell me otherwise! Just thinking about your fiscal health in your daily spendings can bring a bit of responsibility, clarity, and control. I would encourage you to try it and start small.
Does my job “bring me joy?”
Like I stated above I am an artist. Being an artist means a lot more than being paid to be an artist. My successes don’t always lie in how much money I make or how many people know my name. Success for me means doing projects that fulfill me, making connections in my industry, focusing on rest if my brain needs it, selling something I put my whole heart into, loving something I’ve worked on for a long time, getting paid for something I worked on for a long time, and on top of all that - having a day job. Whatever your profession is maybe it’s time to reevaluate what success means to you - and does what you need to do to get there “bring you joy?”
Do the personal relationships in my life “bring me joy?”
This one can be tough. I’ll just say this: personal relationships should bring you life, support, trust, and happiness.
That’s it. I’ll let you go because you probably have a lot to think about! Or not, that’s cool too. But I say this unto you my fellow Dapper Boi’s... life's too short to invest in things that do not “bring you joy.”