Today I decided that I would postpone my trip to help a friend sort through her basement. This is not a time for me to rush to anyone else’s rescue. Today, I need to save myself and tomorrow I promise to be funny again.
She called me in a panic several months ago about the condition of her basement and her hoarding husband. I gave her a list of assignments to take care of in anticipation of my visit and hooked her up with a professional organizer. She knocked the ball out of the park and is well on her way to getting all the unnecessary stuff out of her house while now I’m the one who feels like my life is out of control. I’m the one who needs help.
I feel the strain of this project – and of all the things standing between me a peaceful and simple home – bearing down on me. Zeb says this project is dragging me down and he’s right, it is. However, I very much believe this project is analogous to the therapeutic process.
I could shove everything under the beds and into closets and pretend they aren’t there. I’m sure for a while it would seem better, but this stuff has to be dealt with eventually. Doesn’t it? Repressed emotions eventually work their way to the surface in scary ways, like mental illness, physical ailments or destructive behavior. I don’t see much of a difference with all the repressed stuff and I’m already half crazy … but it would be nice to feel like we were more in control of the beast.
In truth, the hardest things to get rid of are the intangibles. Most of them have to do with access to my home and the reclamation of my privacy. This is ironic given the level of sharing I do on-line. But the written stuff feels controlled, I still say who, I say when, I say how much.
It’s the other things, the constant foot traffic, the self-consciousness that comes with always having others around me, the volatile situations that endlessly threaten to erupt … it’s those that are causing great fatigue.
My friend Marcia is a real health nut. She advocates a vegan diet, claiming (perhaps correctly) that animal products are responsible for the vast majority of illness and mortality. I’m all for eating a largely plant-based diet, and I do for the most part, but stress is what’s going to do me in. I know it.
I can feel it bearing down on me, sitting on my chest, squeezing my heart and lungs so they just barely work, tightening my shoulders and neck, threatening to disable me. Something has to give.
I’ve never believed that huddling in a corner is an effective strategy to dealing with anything, unless you are hiding from zombies or telephone solicitors. There aren’t many things I can divest from my life. I love walking the dog, it is necessary on many levels, for me and for him. I love dancing, it is good for my soul. Ceramics is a wonderfully therapeutic but I will take a break from it for the summer, like I always do. Family? Non-negotiable. I’ve let go of every relationship that drains me.
What else can I let go of? For one, I can stop being silent about the things in my life that are not okay. I can let go of wanting to be liked, admired and approved of. I can let go of appearing to be together, a perfect wife, a long-suffering mother. Fuck it all. So much of my life is ugly. Maybe I’ll let go of trying to make it all pretty, maybe I’ll just be ugly and old and too tired to care.
Today I threw out a lot of things. I don’t know exactly how much, but it was at least ten.
Votive holders that have been sitting atop the medicine cabinet in the guest bathroom for-ev-er.
My kitchen counter of doom. Before.
You could fill an entire house with tiny things like this. TRASH.
The Aquatron AM/FM 8-Track player. What makes it “auqa”? It has a suction cup on the bottom so you can attach it to the hood of your boat. Duh. The 8-Track sounds like shit, the AM/FM only marginally better. Zeb insisted on using it in the kitchen for decades. I replaced it with an old iPod, a bluetooth speaker and a NPR app. He says he can sell it on ebay. Go right ahead.
Part of what is stressing me out is all the stuff I said I’d get rid of but never did. It sits in boxes and piles in the hall and in my office, waiting to be attended to. Today I loaded the van up and dropped it off at the PTA garage sale. Yes, I felt guilty that I wasn’t toiling in the old 7-Eleven building with the other sacrificing moms out there. I am grateful for them and their efforts.
A few records to boot.
Featured image courtesy of cheezburger.com