Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beautiful Disaster

I highlighted where Part 2 starts because I like you.

My boyfriend once told me I was a "beautiful disaster." I didn't mind because I just heard "beautiful" and that was it.

Also, because it's true.

In work life, I am super organized. I am copious, I know where everything is. It's right under neath that pile of binders, scripts, notepads, post-its and pens that have no ink.

Yeah, disaster.

I'm cool with my work life way of being because it works for me, meaning, it does not hold me back. I always get my work done and always on time. I like having everything I need around me... I'm good with it.

Now, where being a disaster affects me is in my personal life. I would like to not have you over right now because I don't want you to see that I am a perfectionist... but in a bad way.

See, I can't recycle magazines. I have to sort them by theme and then by those themes, divide them into piles according to which hospital, clinic or dialysis center I will bring them to. I can't take clothes to Goodwill, that's what everybody does. I am a perfectionist so I have to scour out the most random shelter and bring them there.

But not until I have sorted them between stuff a teenager could wear (that goes to one shelter), stuff a woman could wear to an interview (that goes to a different shelter) and day-casual (that goes to a shelter all the way across town, the one with no parking... but I'm definitely going there... one day.)

Yeah... perfectionist.

Well, "perfectionist" until I am completely overwhelmed by piles and boxes and random bags of clothes.

If you knock on the door and I let you in, do not look surprised.

PS, the perfectionist in me wants you to know that my place is super clean. You just can't tell because you can't take your eyes off the pile of "Shape" magazines that are stacked to the ceiling.

So I have this talk with my shrink because life has really turned around amazingly for me recently. I have a great job and my butt is shrinking in ways that make me say "Yes!" with a fist pump when I try on my jeans.

I feel good. I want everything to look good.

I have this wish for this place that I live in and love and this is not it. I read "Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Big?" by that organization guy who's always on Oprah. I get that this is a problem.

One issue is I am sentimentally attached to stuff. For instance, when my Dad was really sick when I was 12, we had to get 10,000 signatures from people in our state to protest that my Dad was going to get kicked off his health insurance because they didn't want to pay for his expensive, life saving, take his heart out and replace it with someone else's surgery.

When it was all said and done (we got the signatures, we won, he got the surgery), my Mom threw out the reams and reams of paper with people's signatures.

And I crawled into the garbage to get them.

Beautiful. Disaster.

We stood outside of churches, grocery stores and gas stations to ask people to save my Dad's life. And they did. And I wanted to be close to the people that had done it. That made my Dad be alive.

Maybe that's what all this perfectionism in donating clothes or magazines or other things to "the right place" is all about. I want the people I'm donating to, to feel cared for. Like some busy person rushing into that Stop N' Shop all those years ago made me feel by taking the time to sign that petition.

Part 2

Long story short. I xoxoxo my new shrink but when I talked to her about my weird "donation" hoarding she pegged me as possibly slightly ADHD and said some people cannot be expected to organize for themselves because they are "too genius."


I mean, I lapped it up... but even I know that is bullshit.

She was trying to convince me to hire someone to organize me and my possessions and all of a sudden I was having some kind of freaked out vision of all my stuff being laid out in the drive-way while a camera crew from "Oprah" filmed me while I cried over an old Ritz cracker canister that I couldn't part with because it had too much meaning to me.

When someone tells me I can't do something, I become quite determined that, "Yes, I can."

I decided to go all Obama on my living room. Here's what I did:

I got some colored masking tape and I taped off 10 zones of my living room. All of a sudden everything became a manageable 2 x 3 area which I could attack daily. I had to be merciless and when I couldn't be merciless it went into a "Deal With This Later" box.

Everyday I have to deal with one zone. Buh-bye, off it all goes to be donated or recycled or thrown away.

I realize if someone walked into my apartment and saw masking tape lines everywhere, they would think I'm crazy but what's crazier - figuring out a way to do this myself AND overcoming a huge hurdle or having to pay someone $300 or $400 bucks to do it for me?

You let me know what you think. I'm about to tape square boxes all over my bedroom floor.


This blog is dedicated to eatin' pants.


Tw!nkleTw!nkle said...

im a list maker, personally. i have lists all over the place, even some weeks old. sticky notes, torn paper, notebooks, just lists of crap. stuff to do that day, money my bf owes me for the bills, homework, groceries... lol and yes, i also collect magazines. i have like 20 self magazines in my apt. collecting dust (which btw im severely allergic to lol)

so ur not the only one. sometimes i just go crazy and spend like 15 hours cleaning like a mad person. but the next day its a wreck again...


Brenda Susan said...

I recently could not bear to toss some old blue/white flower pots because they were the beginning of a life long devotion to blue/white dishes. So I gave them to a friend who creates beautiful mosaics for a living. I figured she could use them on some of her items. She instead surprised me with a gorgeous wall hanging for my house!(I just did a post about it with pics!)
Moral: Sometimes sentimentality about "stuff" can be a very good thing. Loving your blog btw!

Brenda Susan said...
Forgot to do this.

Jessica said...

Hahaha, I love this.

I am exactly the opposite. I loooove lists and organization.

If your method works for you though, why not?

Simplicity said...

Can't wait for the follow-up! I am a collector of all things...and have recently decided to be a minimalist. I'm in the process of donating stuff and find myself sorting and piling and categorizing the same way as you have. Yay for you on the fist-pumping weight-loss!!!

Noble Savage said...

Your stories always make me smile, you're such a good storyteller!

Simplicity said...

I love your blog & have given you an award! Come & get it!

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to be in awe of someone you've never met?

Because I am.

I really admire tour generosity and thoughtfulness that have come through in your writing of the past few posts.

I'm a bit of a perfectionist too, so I can appreciate your quirks.

I refer to my friend as a "beautiful disaster" and she actually has an ambigram tattoo of that on her arm.

danasiag said...

i love the way you write!
full of wit and honesty!

Laura Jayne said...

Books seem to be my downfall in the clutterness of my life. I try to give them away but they seem to come into the house faster than they go out.

JIMSIGHT said...

Trying to dig out is one of the hardest things on earth for me to do....I should repost my Frying Pans and Fires post so you can read and give me your thoughts.

JIMSIGHT said...

OMG, THE TAPE.....I did it in my garage one year after my wife died, I had been moving things from the house to the friends thought i had lost it completely...while my garage is not exactly pristine anymore it was for a little while....ahahahahaha...

Okay so there are two of us on this planet that have done that....nice...I am not alone..

Tw!nkleTw!nkle said...

genius :)

Michelle J said...

I love this!! Unfortunately, i am not quite that way. More of the kind of person who just goes through stuff, piles them up and then gets rid of them!! I like piles. Neat piles!! Stuff in bags too!!

Your great!! And funny! And truthful!! I love that about you!!

Have a great Thanksgiving chica!!!

RadoMom said...

AG!! Keep up the good work...(No pressure!) I've been falling into the "Pit of Despair". I need to get out of the fetal position. The tape is really a great idea = )

SSP said...

As one who also owns a tin Ritz cracker canister (and an Oreo one Oreo, too, might I add), I know the pain you must be going through. I just had a star chart reader (what do you call those people?) tell me that I was really more of a Virgo than a Cancer, due to where the planets were when I was born. So, poor Virgo, while organized and analytical, is constantly thwarted by that moody, sentimental, bi*ch, at least I can blame the stars on my crazy. I am not ready to mark off the battle lines with masking tape, though. Please continue to inspire me!!

andrea said...

i love to make lists, but i never seem to get anything on the list done. maybe i'll try your method. masking tape, here i come!

Kendra said...

Love, love, double xo your blog. I always am dying with laughter - but this one was meaningful too.

Sweetie said...

I am the same way - but my desk at work was a disaster, and my stuff at home is all over the place. I have learned to put things like Rx receipts in one spot - in an envelope - so they can all get lost at one time, however.

I've started keeping things in bags. I have my scrapbook equipment bag (which has expanded to 2 shopping bags for the paper holders & books), my school bag, where all the school stuff is, and so on.

But - oh! the books. I'm right there with ya. I ALMOST want to go on and buy one of those Kindle readers, so I can download the books, have a 100 of them, and they're not underfoot. But then - what would I do for book swaps?

I do go on a cleaning tear and throw out stuff left and right. Then I enjoy the neatness for about a month... and the cycle starts again.

(did I ever tell you I love your blog?)

alea said...

you have a big one. sometimes it sucks to care as much as you do, cause the sadness and the anxiety is also huge-o, but, the payoff is ginormous. remind yourself that. you are capable of loving, and empathizing, and seeing through to the truth of people, in ways that most people can't.
when its great, its AWESOME. When its not, its NOT.
i totally hear ya dude. :)

Broken Barn Industries said...

Flylady! Her site seriously helped me get rid of so much stuff and get my house in order. I love her, even when I'm ignoring her advice.