try again

Sigh…

So today I choose to begin again.

I was not “all healed” yesterday.

I didn’t get everything “right”.

I messed up – a lot.

This mindfulness stuff is hard.

Feeling the emotions without reacting to them doesn’t even really make sense – yet.

I will try again today.

And maybe I will do just a little bit better.

Maybe it will make a little more sense today.

I’m searching for that “aha” moment.

There’s so many feelings going on right now.

It’s a lot “out of control”

One day at a time unless that seems like too long…

I’ve typed up a “recovery daily checklist”.

Meditations, reading assignments, journaling, exercise, art time…

and (sigh) therapy today…

jon tyson – unsplash

the end

This post has been weeks in the writing – written, deleted, pondered, re-written, stared at, ignored and left to sit in forlorn solitude.

Why?

What is the importance of a single blog post written by an obscure blogger sitting in a manufactured home in the middle of nowhere?

I have no answer to those questions or many other questions that I find myself asking lately.

I did find this quote by Flannery O’Connor:

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

Maybe that’s the answer.

Or maybe not…

Maybe the answer doesn’t matter.

I’m kind of liking this quote by Joan Didion:

“We tell stories in order to live.”

Maybe I should just quit worrying about the why.

My life feels hard right now.

It would be more truthful to say that my life has always been hard and I have decided to admit it and do something about it.

A little over a month ago I hit the end.

I no longer had the ability to go on.

I was done.

And somehow the end turned into a beginning.

I asked for help.

It has not been fun.

Quite frankly, it has been a shit show.

I have failed spectacularly over and over again.

I’m still not sure that there is any importance in a single blog post written by an obscure blogger sitting in a manufactured home in the middle of nowhere but I’m trying to figure that out.

And I’m told that the journey over the past month has been the easy part. Now the real work begins.

That is terrifying.

I’m going to keep going anyway.

“Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.” -Brene Brown

A little over a month ago, I hit what I’m choosing to call the end.

Letting Go

It’s been so long since I wrote that I had to log back into WordPress

which means I had to find my login information

which meant rummaging through my desk

which is a huge, neglected mess.

I’ve spent the better part of late November and December sitting in my chair and ignoring most of my life.

I did the essential stuff (some of it).

Thanks to my family we decorated for and celebrated the holidays with success.  I’ve just felt rather distant and disconnected.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my life, but as my wise husband pointed out, “You can’t spend so much time thinking about life that you forget to live it.”

Truth.

It has become evident during the last few months that this depression and accompanying anger is bigger than I am.  I’ve made the decision to start up therapy again and attempt to deal with the emotions that I work so hard to ignore and deny.  They are a part of who I am and many of the manifestations that  I have been working so hard to deal with and overcome are residuals of my childhood.  I can’t continue to just deal with the physical clutter without dealing with the emotional clutter also.  And I can’t do it alone.

I’ve visited a church a couple of times in the past weeks.  During the first visit the message could have been written directly for me.  I both hate and love when that happens.  Entitled the “Unexpected Christmas” it dealt with letting go of things and allowing time for grief and coping with the unexpected.

I guess that’s what I’ve been doing these past weeks…grieving the losses and the unexpected and the memories of the past.

It’s both the forgiveness  and the letting go that I’m struggling with…both for others and myself.

A continual theme of any decluttering show or feature is that the hoarding and clutter started with a loss and the person got stuck.  I now see that this is true for me also.

I’m a pretty insightful and resourceful person, and I’ve made progress.

And I hate to admit that I’m not strong enough or just plain “enough” to get through this.

But I’m going to ask for help and start seeking answers to the “real” problems and not just the side effects.

Every year I develop a saying that I use during the New Year to focus on my journey.  This year will be the year of “Being Grateful and Letting Go”.

I plan on writing more about that tomorrow.

I plan on writing tomorrow.

 

Last Night

Last night I started to think that survival might be a possibility.  My fever broke…and returned…repeatedly.  I lost count.  The congestion started to clear.  I was coughing.  A lot. I decided to try  spending the night in the recliner so that hubby might sleep.  Someone needed to.

As always the ever faithful Matilda, the basset was by my side.  Sleeping is her best thing. She only does three things well:  sleeping, running away during walks to make new best friends and eating.

She does other things.

No.  She doesn’t really do anything else.  Just the three things.

That’s really all she does unless you count whining and baying at 4:30 every afternoon because she’s ready to go on a walk.  I don’t really count it as a separate activity because she only does it so she can go on a walk and run away.  It’s an essential component of activity number two.  Not a separate activity at all.

Anyway, last night I carried (lugged) her to the recliner and we both kind of fell into place. She’s a pretty hefty chunk of dog.  That’s a result of activity number three which includes the sub-component of stealing every possible bit of human food that she can gain access to and she has miraculous skills for a dog of her height and breadth.

Where was I?

Oh yea, she landed in place right beside me.  I must have dozed off for a bit because when I woke up I was perched on my side on the arm of the recliner.  One leg was thrown over onto the sofa next to the recliner.  Matilda the basset was snoring loudly and contentedly on the other 98% of the chair.  She also had all of my Very Hungry Caterpillar comforter.  Life can be unfair at times.  Unless you are Matilda.  She seems to have very few problems at all as far as I can tell.

There wasn’t really a reasonable way to get out of the position I was in.  If I rolled forward I would end up on the floor.  Well, the top half of me would have hit the floor.  The brain part, mainly.  That seemed a bad idea. I couldn’t get up because I couldn’t get a foot on the floor.  I tried rolling back into the chair, but Matilda didn’t wake up enough to move.  Or maybe she woke up enough and it just didn’t seem to be her problem.

I’m betting on the latter. That’s probably why I like her so much.  She’s very confident about her own self-worth.  She just assumes that she’s worthy of love.  She doesn’t try to be anything other than what she is.  She’s a Basset hound.  She doesn’t try to be a normal dog and bother with silly things like fetching a stick or paying any attention at all to you when you call her.  She doesn’t try to be a watchdog and guard and protect our home.  She does no tricks to try and please you.  She is who she is.  She sleeps with me every night. She is loyal – as long as no one within her hearing range opens a Cheetos bag.  This would include most of the subdivision.  Distinguishing the sound of a Cheetos bag must be something only a Basset can do.  All chip bags sound pretty much the same to me.  Other than Cheetos, I’m pretty much her favorite thing.  That’s okay.  We all have our price.

We are friends.

We accept each other’s faults.

We like each most of the time.

Sometimes we disagree.

We aren’t mean to each other (on purpose).

Sometimes we screw up (she steals my food and I get mad at her).

We work it out.

I finally wiggled back into my 30% of the chair.  She protested…a lot.  We worked it out. She kept the blanket.

I couldn’t get to sleep for a while.  I started thinking about friendship.

I thought a lot about friendship.  The friendships I’ve had.  And the ones I haven’t.  There were a lot of revelations, realizations, aha moments…  It turned out to be a pretty good therapy session.  I cried.  A lot.

I think I’ll share…

in a couple of days.

For now, let’s start with…

Friends are important.

I’m not really very good at friendship sometimes.

And sometimes I don’t believe that I am deserving of friendship…of love.

This all probably causes a goodly amount of stress.

But, things can change.

I can change.

Life can be better.

Peace

 

Journey

Where have I been the last couple of days?  Basically, having a really hard week on the decluttering front that has resulted in a big breakthrough!  I’ve felt like I hit a wall on making progress in my home.  I’ve had doubts that the stuff was the real problem – is stuff causing the stress or is stress causing the stuff?  Am I making any progress or is dealing with the stuff a diversion to avoid real problems.  Just a lot of doubt.

On the advice of a friend, I’ve been kinder to myself and just boxed up some stuff that I can’t deal with right now.  I didn’t want to use that route for everything though.  I’ve been dealing with ten items at a time – pick it up and make a decision – it either goes or if it stays it finds a permanent home.  Then I’ve taken breaks.  Lots of breaks and lots of decisions!

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All this went to the thrift store today.  Storage “solutions” that didn’t work or weren’t needed anymore and lots of random stuff that just isn’t needed.

Usually, when the stuff has hit the box, I’ve wondered why I even kept it at all.  This time, I realized that if I saw some of this stuff at the thrift store, I might  consider purchasing it.  I’m letting go of stuff that I actually like and that I still see potential in.  I’m letting it go anyway.  I feel like that is a big step.

Yesterday, while “supervising” me (keeping me on task), my oldest daughter asked a question out of the blue…

“Mom, did you ever feel like you had a home growing up?”

I didn’t answer.

She continued on…

“Is that why you work so hard to make a home and worry so much about it?”

Talk about a real therapy moment – if you’ve ever spent any time with a therapist you know what I’m talking about.  You spend 45 minutes talking about a subject aimlessly and the therapist sums it up for you in one sentence.

The answer would be that no, I don’t suppose that I ever really felt comfortable, secure and safe in any of the places that I lived growing up.  I knew that none of it was permanent – we moved every year.  My parents had a challenging relationship.  I didn’t have close friends and we weren’t close to any family.

The point of the journey that I’ve been partially documenting and sharing here, is to find some simplicity, peace, and intentionality in my life.

I’d have to say that I’ve logged a lot of steps in my journey this week.  I’ve gained understanding, been reminded to be kinder to myself, and shed a lot of guilt and possessions.

Just as in life, the hardest parts of the journey result in the best views.

Peace.

Watching

Today, I was back in my studio determined to give it another go.  I pulled out a small box of papers – you know, the kind of stuff mixed media artists collect – small images, bits of color and pattern, quotes, and other bits of ephemera that might be useful somewhere, sometime.  Talk about micro-managing.  I’m hip-deep in unmade decisions regarding canvases and half-finished works and I’m sorting through bits of paper that are inspiring new projects.

Anyway, about that time I heard the roaring rumble of the trash truck pulling around in our cul-de-sac.  I stepped to the window and watched.  Watched as the two guys labored tossing my five extra trash bags (as allowed by our trash service) into the pit of the truck and then attached our giant can full of debris onto the ramp and dumped it in with the rest of my discards.  Watched as the mechanism smashed it and compacted it with the rest of my neighbors trash.  Thought about my next door neighbors tiny little bag of trash.  Thought about how much I was sending to the landfill.  Knowing that I had recycled and donated what I could and there was still so much…

So much stuff.  So many regrets.  Wondering what the trash guys thought of me and my piles of bags each week.

I watched as they drove away with the stuff I had thrown away and the emotions that trailed behind them – sadness, regret, anxiety, fear, loss.

And stood there with the remnants of those emotions, but mainly with a feeling of relief, pride, and a sense of accomplishment.  And felt so much lighter.

It’s all well and good to proclaim that it’s just stuff – that we are not our belongings, but…

for a lot of us, the stuff is just a symptom of past trauma and abuse.  It’s  the way we coped with things we didn’t understand and couldn’t deal with.  The decluttering effort is therapy.  There is no quick solution.  It’s laborious and difficult and challenging.  It’s tears and anger, sorrow and grieving.

But, today as I was watching that big truck pull out of sight around the corner…those five bags transformed into “just stuff” as I finally let them go.