labelleizzy: (Default)
Q: What prevents me from getting started?
Q: What are the obstacles and impediments?
Q: What are my goals?


I'm keeping myself accountable for this writing by way of a facebook post where I asked friends to say: write the thing! and give me a number between 1 and 9, labeling each writing prompt with a number in my ADHD journal.

Actually the goals part is the most difficult, so it's appropriate to use it for last.
shall I write about writing? or about this therapeutic process to address the impact of adhd in my life, now that I know something about that being a THING for me?

I think I'd prefer to write about the therapy process and unpack some ideas or thoughts or just basically ... well, hopefully do better than just word-vomit but I shan't make any promises tonight. I have 10 prompts I've culled from the group on monday and therapy with Lara yesterday.

Q1) What prevents me from getting started?
--- Interest. Now that nobody's making me do shit, now I'm not accountable to a boss, a schedule, a clientele (well not precisely) I mainly spend my days doing what I want with a few commitments per week, mostly self inflicted. There's stuff that I know I COULD be doing, even SHOULD be doing,
...and I don't. I don't do them.

I used to judge myself on that, but I don't. I used to tear myself up about that, but I don't. Thank god, I used to literally be my own worst enemy that way.

---Accountability. For reasons that I hope to be able to dig into later, accountability is huge in my motivational force. If I promise to someone I will do something, I will do it solely BECAUSE I SAID I WOULD and that seems to be sufficient. If someone asks me to do something, and it's pretty direct, like Jeff asks will I pull out that part of the garden full of aphids, and I say I will, that seems to be sufficient.

However. If I don't have some kind of outside accountability, I don't do things on any kind of coherent timeline. Which is maybe not always important, but like, it feels like it would be good to shower three times a week, but I can't always hit that. And sometimes that's the depression, but also that I don't get enough human f2f feedback to notice and then to feel embarrassed when I stink.

I've actually planned to chain the showering habit to the working out habit... but haven't been successful. I don't at the moment know how to force that.

Maybe I could find a depression/neurodivergent partner, who also has a not-daily habit they want to build, and we could encourage each other.

It seems that I am better about keeping other people on track than I am at keeping myself on track.
also I am better about staying on track if I have someone else helping me stay accountable.

The last writing prompt out of ten, is, why is it more effective to have Lara or anyone else, tell me what to do, than it is for ME to tell me what to do, in this accomplishing tasks.

1) The oldest part of my brain says because what I want doesn't matter. Because you're always supposed to put other people first, because you can't figure stuff out on your own. (interesting that I chose to use second-person there...hmmm) There's a LOT of old messages there, traceries of a former self. What my friend Chelsea recently called... something like spent seed pods, or carapaces, or used envelopes.

what I want DOES MATTER. I don't ALWAYS have to put other people first, I am ALLOWED to be first on my own priority list godsdammit! and I definitely CAN FIGURE STUFF OUT ON MY OWN but I do have old learned helplessness and my constant fight against distraction to get the stuff figured out, and then the steps sorted out, and then get the shit DONE.

2) when I was teaching about study skills (bear with me a moment, it will become relevant) I had the kids take a test which would help them figure out what their learning style was like. Howard Gardner had a theory of Multiple Intelligences, for which there are Varied tests, now available on the internet. (gosh that would have been much more easy and fun to do on the internet! but it was nearly fifteen years ago that I started that unit, & in an inner city school with limited computer resources.)

I suspect that I have a deep need for interpersonal learning. I'm only sometimes good at teaching myself new skills; I hunger for someone to see me and teach me. I love dance class and working with my trainer for that... but having a teacher teach me and walk me through the material, help me build skills? so much more satisfying than YouTubing my way through something new. (I bet Jeff has a strong intrapersonal learning drive. It would make so much sense.)

What are my goals?
  • I want to feel productive, truly productive, every day.
  • I want to help other people every day. (I can be the person helped, it's allowed. *smile*)
  • I want to feel like my mind and my time are under my guidance and control.


That last item is going to require a new skills base, or a return to old skills (Flylady or Franklin-Covey 7 Habits territory), probably some new skills base. My needs are different now than when I first learned those, ages and ages ago. My mind is different.

Okay. that's enough for the first two prompts.

Thanks for listening, hopefully this isn't too much of a plate of scrambled spaghetti noodles for anyone but me to find benefit in.
labelleizzy: (how to eat an elephant)
I'm writing today because this subject is Relevant To My Interests at the moment. My house is cluttered and I need to put stuff away, throw stuff away, fold stuff up... Yeah. STUFF.

I'm sure most of us have heard the acronym KISS: it usually stands for Keep It Simple, Sweetie (if we are being kind to ourselves, which is something I DO strive to do)...

This is a good starting point for clutter clearing and house clearing. Keeping It Simple will look different to each one of us. It might mean making our bed every morning so we have one flat clear surface in our house to sit on. It might mean remember to recycle your food scraps out to the compost bin, because you want to keep food out of the landfills when it makes perfectly good dirt, if left alone long enough. =) It might mean OMG I HAVE TO CLEAR OFF MY DESK BECAUSE I CAN'T FIND THE BILLS!

Keep It Simple, to me, means build between one and three good habits at one time, no more than that. And don't kill yourself with guilt if you make a mistake, forget, or otherwise fuck up. Seriously. More good habits go down the toilet because we (the collective We of Puritannically-Inspired America or Western Civilization generally) kick ourselves so violently, and even quit trying when we make a mistake or fail to keep up with a particular habit, or else we spend time in self-castigation or self-loathing at our "inability" to Do Whatever It Is, Perfectly...

Especially if the Habit is a Should. (and THAT is another post, it deserves a detailed examination)

How do we teach children new skills? we encourage them to make mistakes and try again (unless we've got our ego involved in our kids being PERFECT, which I feel "should" be another dirty word, tbh...) How did I practice cross-country-skiing this weekend? I tried, failed, fell down, had to get help getting back up because I couldn't figure it out for myself.

We need to be forgiving of ourselves when we try something new. Be kind, and allow for errors, inconsistencies, and mistakes.

In service of that, let me offer another meaning for the acronym KISS, one that I find very useful in building my clutter-clearing habits:
Keep it Small and Significant.

To explain: OK y'all, I'm Pagan. *waves hello* I find it easier to do household tasks if I assign value or meaning to them beyond the "this has to get done" rationale. What I choose to do is to think of those tasks as service to something larger than myself. I sometimes dedicate tasks to the marriage (i.e. washing the dirty sheets or clearing off the bedroom bureau, which is what I did yesterday) or to my Patron Deity, Hestia (i.e. that's almost the only way you'll get me to wash the floors without someone else helping in the task.)

Keep it Small and Significant. Yesterday I cleared unnecessary things off the bureau, and selected a fresh tablecloth in springtime colors (Hey, I can anticipate!). Today I plan to take *everything* off the bureau, wipe down the surfaces and clean the dust off the candle and candle-plate, and re-make the bedroom "altar". Though, it's not really an altar, it's more like a meditation space.

returning to comment on clutter clearing: Over the weekend I went to visit family, and picked up a big mirror that used to be my grandmother's, and also a bag of smaller items that used to be hers. I know that my spouse doesn't really approve of me bringing more STUFF into the house, but I did it anyway. I have emotional clutter around her, my mom's mom, Inez. I feel the need to spend some time meditating on her and her life, and what she meant to me and to my mom, and by incorporating some of her former possessions into the new iteration of the meditation space, I hope to facilitate that work. This is SIGNIFICANT To Me. Which means that even taking more Things into my house? I'm okay with that, since the Things have a definite purpose.

So. Small and Significant. When my bedroom surfaces (and floor) are clear, I think better. Hell, when ALL my surfaces are clear I think MUCH better. But today I'm only going to hold myself accountable for the bedroom. Anything else I get done is gravy. (though I am fairly strongly motivated to clear off at least the kitchen table) (and that's what SMALL looks like to me.)

Small to me, means doable in a single session, usually between 15 minutes and an hour.
Significant can mean any of a number of things:
It will make Jeff happy. It will make me happy. I will enjoy looking at it. I will use the space if it is a) cleared, b) cleaned, c) empty, etc. We have friends coming over, and I want to be proud of my living space. We're coming up on a festival celebration and I want the whole house clean in honor of the festival.

You get the picture! Just remember: both Small and Significant will look different in how they want to manifest in YOUR life (as opposed to in MY life).

So this is my advice to you: Keep it Simple, Sweetie, and Keep it Small And Significant.

Next Post will be about Not Shoulding All Over Yourself.

ciao!
labelleizzy: (brain dump)
*grin*
I've been studying this for *years*, no lying. I knew I grew up in a house of clutterholics, I knew it was uncomfortable and didn't feel healthy, but for most of my growing up years I had no idea how to get out of the collecting, and, let's be honest, packrat habits.

Here's the first principle, in my opinion the most important principle involved in getting over "hoarding" behaviors. YMMV, of course.

1) Hoarding is never about the *stuff*, not really. It's about your feelings.

In my family, we held on to a lot of stuff we didn't need. I've come to realize there was a real fear of lack involved. Grandma and Grandpa on mom's side both lived through the Depression, and came out with a "save everything, it might be needed someday" attitude.

*narrowed eyes*
This led to junk drawers of all kinds throughout the house, filled with random screws, rubber bands, office supplies (broken and whole), kid's toys, eyeglasses someone had outgrown, small lengths of thread or yarn, twistie ties, and, well, I'm sure you are mostly award of this trend and how it's manifested in spaces you are familiar with. Linen closets with lots of ratty old towels, taking up the space for the good towels. Clothes in the closet that haven't fit for *years* or are a style you'll never wear again but were "too good to give away". Broken tools in the workbench drawers because "someday we'll get that fixed".

Useless JUNK.

I came out of that house and clung to all my STUFF. I conflated my STUFF with my memories, with my feelings, with how people would think of me, with how I saw /myself/. And it was paralyzing.

Too much STUFF! Almost all with mental and emotional associations of scarcity, lack, worry, fear, and not-feeling-good-enough.

And I KNEW that I had too much stuff, and I knew it was helping me hold onto all these unproductive feelings and ideas, but the overwhelm and paralysis meant that it was a lot easier to shuffle stuff around in order to find the useful stuff, than it was to GET RID OF the stuff that was useless.

I'm not sure of exactly my tipping point.
I know I had one, or several; points of OMG WTH have I been doing with my life?!?!

One:
When living with my exspouse, I determined to go through one of the many boxes-o-junk we'd stashed in the "storage room" off the landing to the stairs in the condo we were living in. It was full of mostly papers, mostly five to ten years old, many envelopes unopened.

I was ashamed.
I went in anyway, with a bag for recycling and a letter opener.

And in that box were bills addressed to my college address. Five+ years old, never opened. *toss* *wince*
And in that box were papers that had no meaning to my current life. *toss* "Why have I been KEEPING these?"
...
And in that box was an envelope from the university, and a date-stamp for around when I graduated.
(no, it wasn't anything cool, it was embarrassing.)
I open the envelope, and it's the information on where when and how to return my graduation cap and gown.

So. Much. Headdesk. Something like 7 years later.
I think that I was sometimes too scared to open the bills when I was in college, because I didn't have money to pay them, and in my house you just didn't talk about money. or bills. or owing people money. or ask your parents for money you knew they didn't have, to help you out.

So I guess I learned to stick my head in the sand about things that scared me that way.

And it took a rare bit of courage, initially, to dig in to all that STUFF and to face all of those old, fermented feelings, let them out, let them crumble to dust or evaporate into the air.

Yes, sometimes I did get hit with the big feelings, letters from loved ones, job evaluations (good or bad), or reminders of things I had promised to do and hadn't actually done. Disappointments, old pains, frustration with myself and with others.

But mostly, for me, (eventually) the satisfaction of clearing out the dreck and the useless overcame the Other Feelings that were triggered BY the dreck and the useless.

And sometimes you'd find treasures in the dragon's hoard. That helped make it worth it.

Your STUFF is not the same as your self-worth, nor is it the same as your feelings, or your reputation.

I do tend to admire people who live tidy lives, for many reasons but not least of which is that it seems a lot easier to do the things you want to do without having to paw through a bunch of Old Shit to find the things you need.

I work towards that, myself.

And that? That happens A Little Bit At A Time, which will be my next musing on the subject.
labelleizzy: (how to eat an elephant)
Once upon a time there was a little girl.
This little girl trustingly swallowed, hook, line, and sinker, the cultural meme that having more stuff will make you happier. She was not a happy little girl, and there were many hungers in her life that were never properly satisfied.

She started accumulating and collecting stuff. Meanwhile she was puzzled about why she seemed no happier, because she continued to hear the message that having enough stuff, will make you happy. She continued accumulating stuff.

Of course it wasn't really about the STUFF. It was about the unsatisfied hungers.
But it took her many many years to realize, that if you find out what the shape of the hunger is, and you feed yourself appropriately to satisfy all of your hungers, you don't need your "STUFF" as a pacifyer anymore.

and then you can get rid of the pacifyer.

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