Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Digging In to Dig Myself Out

I started writing this in response to Tech's blog post tonight. His struggles are some that really resonate with me right now -- health issues/insurance inadequacies; feeling like our life's sparks have been burned down to embers and not being able to find our inner selves.

When I get in this state, I recognize now that it is reflected in my environment. Not sure which comes first, the chicken or the egg -- or the shattered sense of self or the mess. I know not everyone lives this way, so what I'm writing may or may not resonate with you.

I am fighting my way out of this quicksand that is so ready to swallow us up. One tiny project at a time. Tonight I realized my house was looking like one of those houses on hoarding shows that are so disgusting you wonder how anyone can live like that. Then I realized -- I CAN'T live like that. Not any more. So I watched one of the episodes of the A&E show Hoarders online (since I can't @#$@#$ afford cable to watch it on TV).

While I watched, I filled up two trash sacks with junk. I've put all my current mail in one place. Small baby steps for me. But then I realized I also made some steps over the past several days by working on my kitchen and bathroom -- I just didn't realize that I was systematically starting on this mission already.

This has been a longtime struggle for me. Over the years I've battled this with the help of FlyLady (www.flylady.net) and SHE (Sidetracked Home Executives.) It's one of those things that keeps coming back to dance with me, though.

Like the people in the hoarding shows, I start finding myself making excuses for all the clutter around me. The yarn? It's so I can knit prayer shawls for people who need comfort or emotional support during a tough time. The fabric? I'm making a lot of my own clothes, but I also have big plans for making quilts for some of my friends. No, I haven't made any progress on that in three or four years, oh, but I will. And I have other fabric that's for making pillowcases for children with cancer, from another project I thought would be great to take on. Oh yes, I also have boxes of pillowcases that other people have sent me for this project. And a big stack of pillow cases that need to be washed, ironed and packaged for the project.

Then there is my laundry, piled up on the couch. Some needs to be folded and put away; some needs to be ironed. Some needs to be sorted to give to charity ... or to have a garage sale which I have been planning to have for two years and likely never will, because I can't be certain that I'll have a Saturday off to have one. (Lots of excuses, do you hear them all?)

Then there's a big black garbage bag that is filled with 2-liter plastic bottles that I have washed out to take to Wal-Mart to recycle. They are ready to go, next to a stack of other miscellany for that garage sale. There's also a box of books for the garage sale -- if they don't sell, I'll take them to the Friends of the Library for its ongoing sale, of course. Oh, and there's some shoes that I've been meaning to take to a co-worker who wears the same size. These are all heels which are too tall for me, but she might wear them or find someone else to give them to.

ENOUGH. I have had ENOUGH. I cannot live like this any more. All this stuff has to leave my house, and I mean NOW. Labor Day weekend is coming up in a few days, and this stuff better not be around come Tuesday morning.

I need to make some big changes in my life -- things like changing jobs and moving to a place that inspires me and draws me to be more fully alive. I can't make that next move with all of this JUNK weighing me down. I am at that point in my life when I need to live a leaner, cleaner, lighter life. This stuff does not define who I am, and it does not add one ounce of joy to my life.

Stay tuned for the Great Clean-Out 2009. And I'll try to tell you the rest of the story about why this came to the forefront today.

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