Hoarding...

Jun. 6th, 2017 09:27 am
labelleizzy: (dealing with demons)
My sister in law suffers from something I still fight against, which is hoarding.

She said, "I sort and organize but the actual removal of stuff... is so hard to get my mind around why I have such attachments."

I said, "I can only speak of myself but I had attachments because I had fear. Fear of forgetting, so I kept all the papers commemorating things I went to, movies and shows and concerts I saw. I kept all the birthday cards, even from my childhood, and people I didn't remember anymore, because at one point, someone made the effort to give me a card, and that was meaningful to me then."

I didn't feel loved. I didn't feel safe or secure. I came to an early conclusion (younger than 10) that "stuff was supposed to make you happy" because that's what they said all the time on TV? And back then I thought they weren't allowed to lie to us on TV.

It took me a long time to realize that what I was and what I wanted, was different than what the TV or my family or stories or magazines wanted me to be and want. And to put aside those messages that weren't ME.

I was well past 30, not gonna lie.

I started by reading more about how other people had gotten organized, had purged their clutter.
Clutter's Last Stand.
The Flylady's mailing list and website.
SARK'S concept of "micromovements" to get started.
Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui.

And I realized that thoughts and feelings and attitudes were clutter too, frequently. (*)

Is it useful? Do I love it?

William Morris, the English designer, said, "have nothing in your home which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

I try to live by that one.

I don't yell at myself or best myself up anymore. My self chastisement is gentle, infrequent, and frequently full of humor. Blaming myself for the past, or for my mistakes, was a toxic cycle that helped NOTHING. Just bogged me down in misery.

I didn't want to be miserable. I started making different choices.

What I wanted was for things to be simpler, and to be happier. So I worked on those things, like I work on a rosebush. If something's dead, you cut it off. If the branches are too crowded, or the flowers are, you make choices to maximize beauty, health, and growth, and you cut away the rest and discard it.

But sometimes the rosebush isn't flourishing, and it doesn't need to be cut back, cut down. Parts of our life can be like that too. There's a lot of times where there's not ENOUGH to bloom. Not enough water, or sunlight, or fertilizer.

Sometimes you can nurse a rosebush back to health, if you can figure out what is wrong.

Sometimes you can't figure it out, and the bush dies. And then you have to discard it and start over.

But honestly? Sometimes you don't even WANT a 🌹 (rose). Sometimes you don't even know that you didn't want a rose, maybe you wanted a 🌷(tulip) or a daisy. Or an oak tree! Or a tomato bush!

But if you started with a rosebush, or your whole family takes care of roses, maybe you didn't know you could choose something different.

I'm just saying. It's YOUR garden. Nobody else's. You spend all your time in it. You spend your LIFE in it.

It should be, it IS, your choice what you cultivate, what you grow, what you discard or compost.

I know nobody gets to choose how they spend 100% of their time. But that doesn't mean you don't have choices.

You do.

Now I'm going to go do some household chores.
Gonna go weed my "garden". :)

(*) Slightly different techniques are required to ditch/purge/prune ugly, dead, or impedimentary thoughts and feelings.
labelleizzy: (Default)
Rob Breszny's Free Will Astrology for Scorpios this week suggests that it would be a good idea to think about the parts of one's past that it would be good to protect and to carry forward into the future.

Ten things I have learned that I would like to carry forward:

1) Brainweasels are liars, and usually are due to low blood sugar or loneliness. CF: The Desiderata.
2) I am stronger, much more competent, and a lot more lovable than I believe I am by default.
3) despite 2) I am just as prone to fuck up my communication as the next person, or to fuck up period.
4) It is possible to apologize for a lot of things. Nobody really likes doing it, nobody's great at it.
5) I deserve self-care.
6) I am allowed to ask for help with my self care, and people will often say yes. (thanks to Eeyore42 and Wrenb for teaching me that)
7) Enjoy what you have, share with others, don't feel guilty for having more. Help as often as you can.
8) Life is short. Enjoy it while you can, and tell people you love them if you do. Kiss their faces too.
9) Tenderness, kindness, and warmheartedness are underrated in the world. Value them, teach them.
10) Feed yourself. Feed your people in whatever ways you can. It makes everyone happy.
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
My dad died at the end of April, twenty years ago in about two weeks.

Recently I've been reflecting on life with him, and life without him.

After he died, Mom sold the house we'd grown up in. The yard sale paid for the moving van, and got rid of lots of extra stuff; furniture, record player, vinyl records, duplicate china. But Mom and I were still packrats.

She and I moved from that 5 bedroom house to a three bedroom house, where we dedicated one of the three bedrooms and most of the garage to storage. We were mostly storing crap, as I can freely admit at this distance.

We come by our packrattitude honestly in my family. Both Mom's parents were raised during the Great Depression and slogans included "we'll fix it later!" and "don't you dare throw that away, you're going to want it!" Every house had multiple junk drawers, and piles of stuff in closets and garage.

The "guest room" of this rental house was crammed full of boxes, bags and piles of my "craft crap". There was some stuff in there which might have been useful, if I could ever have located the treasure among the trash. Do you ever think, "man, I know I have this tool/supply/fabric/colored marker in my stash, but I just can't FIND it," so you buy another whatever it is?

Can't count the number of times I bought duplicates of things I already owned. Embarrassing to think of now.

Anyway, the house itself was decent, if dated (1970's ceramic tile floor in living room and kitchen, yo) and a little chilly in autumn and winter. It had an in-ground fish pond and some space to garden and hang out in the back yard. Sometimes we had visits from local wildlife. Once I was walking to the kitchen to start the coffee and saw a white crane as it took flight out of the fish pond, and once a skunk tried to come into the house seeking dog kibble.

But the most mysterious visitor was inside the house. It took us a few weeks to realize what was happening, in spite of finding gnawed electrical cords more than once and little dark pellets scattered at the corners and edges of rooms.

The epiphany hit us one evening when I went into the craft crap storage room and found tufts of ... dog hair? but dog hair of the wrong color. Our dog was Captain, a tiny black Pomeranian. Our first dog had been a tan and brown Pomeranian named Montana, and my little brother had saved up a bag of her hair before she died ...

Wait. There's the bag, how did it get...

chewed open

Dammit. *shudder*
We had a rodent in the house.

Immediately started sorting through my entire stash, grieving damaged goods I had always "meant to do something with" or "couldn't bear to give away", and tossed them in the trash. Sent bags of unwanted but undamaged fabric to the communal sewing stash for my Renfair friends, and took several boxes to Goodwill, including the hideous latch-hook rug project in white yellow orange and olive that I started when I was eleven and never finished.

Mom called an exterminator, and they brought something I didn't know existed, sticky traps. We had at least one sticky trap in each public room. A few days later I discovered a rat, deceased, under the living room table. It was stuck to the sticky pad, partially atop the electrical cord to the lamp, which was also stuck to the pad. Mom was a trouper, and sorted the mess out. This involved breaking the leg of the rodent to detach the sticky pad from the cord.

I didn't have the cojones to do this; she did.

She threw the rat and sticky mess into the trash bag and the trash bag into the trash bin, while I made disgusted noises and felt faintly guilty at making my widowed mother do it.

Mom always sorted our messes out.
Mom has always been awesome.

This has been my week 5 entry for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol and the prompt was "A Better Mousetrap".

Please go read and enjoy my colleagues' entries here. To vote for my entry, link will be *here*

Thank you for reading!

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