As all of my thrifted items enhance my freedom of expression, I am able to hold parts of myself that I so desperately want to keep in this crazy world. 
Devri Velazquez

If there is anything I can believe in, it is that the year 2017 will be filled with crossing off some outstanding items from my massive to-do list. The current political atmosphere is certainly thickening the air for many of us living within the boundaries of certain societal margins, making it more significant than ever to keep our cool, relying on our own minds and spirits for support. For that reason, I am relying on interests having absolutely nothing to do with anyone other than my damn self. For me, that includes thrifting once a week, which allows me to stop thinking so hard about everyone else's needs, tuning the world out, and having the ability to focus on my own imagination, even if for a mere hour or two.

Pops taught me the art of the thrift

I picked up the habit of thrift--I call it an art--from my father during my childhood. He taught my sister and I how to look for good deals in clothing, home decor, and other items, by taking our time perusing locally-owned shops and doing comparisons before committing to a decision.

It gives me a chance to escape...

Even if it's for a short period of time, I enjoy the story that each thrifted piece of clothing tells. I especially like taking on a new persona each time I wear it. Thrifting lets me take on a new persona each time, which is why it will never get old. Finding the perfect pair of pants or picture frame is the best feeling ever because to me, it feels like I am closer to completing the puzzle than I was before discovering that item.

...while preserving the sacred parts of myself.

Some people I know like to take an old vintage thing and essentially destroy it to call their own, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, part of the thrill of thrifting for me has been to collect and preserve the item just the way its original owner would have liked. On the other hand, I understand that it was something that the said owner was OK with getting rid of, so in a way, I am turning one man's trash into my personal treasure--therefore, I will cherish it with the utmost dignity and respect. This is my self-care... it's so necessary.

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Follow Devri on Instagram @devrivelazquez | photos taken by @Monique_RDZ