Saturday, December 30, 2006

Recent Reads Update

I finished this book last night. It's a good one; I finally understand why smokers smoke. I really never have--sure it's an addiction, but what a messy, smelly, dangerous one. Julia Hansen's memoir is not funny (as one of the jacket quotes says it is) but it is touching, tear-provoking and thoughtful. A very good read. And...her relationship with her mother and her experience of her childhood made me think of my own...

The Legacy

My Clutter Buddy reminded me of something today. The Legacy of Clutter. Waaaay back when I was first expecting DD1, that's 1999, I vowed to conquer my clutter problem. I received a clutter legacy, and knew the pain and did not want to pass that on. Well, best intentions and all that, but it's almost 2007 and my house still has clutter.

The Legacy of Clutter isn't just a tendency toward messiness. It's an inability to let things go, a failure to understand that things are just that: things. They don't have emotions (I have deep memories of buying things because I "felt sorry for them"). They don't equal emotions--that pair of socks is not my mother's love for me. But try telling yourself that if you're a hoarder! It's not easy to change ingrained patterns of belief and behaviour. I struggle every day with this.

So what do I want for the kids? I want to give them a clutter-free house, the ability to let things go without regret, and the knowledge that they are enough.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Yet More Guilt

So where is all this guilt coming from? It's not like I was raised Catholic or anything! I wonder sometimes if it's the right emotion, or if guilt is just the closest match for these feelings.
Here's a little guilt story for you.
Before Christmas, I was doing some clearing and decluttering in the basement. I had bins of toys, gathered from various parts of the house. I went through them, consolidating and purging. I managed to fill two paper grocery sacks with toys, books, etc that either I didn't want the kids to play with (i.e. noisy toys, broken toys) or ones they'd themselves identified as ones that could be given away. Younger DD had two identical soft foam number puzzles, both gifts from the same person. Why two were given, I don't know. No matter, she had two. I thought, "I can give one of those away, easy, no guilt no problem because there are two". Sounds fine, right? Well, days later, younger DD was playing with the remaining one, and older DD wanted to also. Older pointed out that there were two of them (oh no, I thought, she remembers!) and so they could each have one to play with. They bickered some more, and older DD continued talking about the two puzzles. I felt just awful! I had given away something they remembered and talked about! How could I have done that? I could never do it again, making decisions for them about their things! How would I feel?

And so on and so on. Torturing myself over and over.
For a foam puzzle that had been ignored for months before that day.
This is an insidious disease, painful and frustrating.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Four Boxes Gone...with Guilt

I had four boxes of my sister's stuff from ages ago (long story short, I took a storage unit full of my, my mom's and my sister's stuff to my house to store. I've been getting rid of it slowing or returning it to the owners, and had these four boxes left). We took a trip to see family for Solstice/Christmas the past 5 days, and I filled half my car's trunk with her boxes.

I had left her a message that we were coming (didn't mention the boxes, that was a fairly last minute decision), but didn't hear back.

Turns out, she's moving. I just brought her more stuff at the time when she's about to move. Instant guilt overcome me. And to add to it, she casually said 'Why didn't you just get rid of that stuff?'. Um, asking a HOARDER if I could have just 'gotten rid of' another's stuff? Well, she doesn't have this disease, thank the Deities.

So, I feel that I did my duty by returning her things. If she chooses to sell, donate, trash, those boxes, that's all right. They're hers to dispose of or keep.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Lamp

Just a repeat of a favourite quote...

"Many of you feel sorry for this lamp. You are crazy. It has no feelings."

--IKEA advertisement


Last weekend, I got about eight inches or so of hair cut off. No, I'm not going to post a picture of the cut-off hair (why? mostly because I forgot to bring my digital camera along to the salon).

I have hair issues. I almost typed 'used to' but it's still true. I kept my eyes closed through the entire hair cut, after showing the stylist a picture (um...the photo on the back of my Costco card actually...). Anyway, the long story is boring, and I'm sick of having hair issues. It's just hair, it grows back. I will dig up an old picture of my and share it with you so you can see perhaps why I have hair issues.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

On Gifts

I have a difficult relationship with gifts. Somehow, I got the idea that the gifts I am given reflect how well the giver knows and loves me. When I receive a gift that I don't care for, if it's from someone close, I feel betrayed. It's a horrible feeling--a sort of falling in the pit of the stomach. Worst are gifts from my mom, the person who I "think" (in quotes because while I know intellectually that this isn't so, some deep primal part of me hasn't figured it out yet) should know me the best. When I receive a gift from her that I don't care for, I feel guilt, betrayal, and sometimes even anger. What an awful emotional state in which to receive a gift!

The feelings are worst at Christmas, less so at my birthday. They're familiar and as I noted above, almost primal. I remember these feelings from childhood, especially the guilt. Guilt that I disliked a gift from my beloved father. Guilt that my first reaction to receiving a gift is hesitation.

I have been working on this, really I have! What I am trying to do is to remember that the gift is merely a symbol of the giver's love or caring for me. It's not the sum of their love or even the sum of their knowledge of my preferences. It's merely a physical manifestation of a fact: that they were thinking about me and wanted to give me something. The thing doesn't matter! It really is the thought that counts.