Status update

Got some of the laundry done, of course there’s still more to do. [Is there a space-time where all the laundry is actually done?]

The kitchen is much cleaner and there’s 3-4 boxes of stuff to go to the antique store this weekend. Some of this has been hanging around for a while, but more of it is like the oil decanter.

I’ve used the old one for years, but decided I wanted something slightly different. I bought a new bottle last week. The oil got transferred, the old bottle cleaned/priced, and it’s packed for the booth. In the past I would’ve kept it hanging around. I love the shape and  color of the old bottle, the reason I bought it in the first place. Then I decided if I was going to keep it, I had to use it; and I have, for the past 5 years or so.

I don’t need two. And, like it or not, I can’t keep everything I like — so it’s going. If it doesn’t sell? I may bring it home and use it as a vase. . . but I don’t need another vase either. If it doesn’t sell, I should take it to the swap shop or donate it somewhere . . . we’ll see!

I priced the coffee service that I culled in the SPACE BUDGET of the china cabinet; it’s packed.

Someone asked me this week if shedding stuff made me sad? The answer is no. What it makes me is anxious. I feel naked without the camouflage. At one point, I really wanted a clean desk, and my obsession with having the clutter as a mask caused me to consider having TWO desks — one as camo., the other an actual workspace! Seems idiotic? Mostly it makes me feel  sad for the youngster I was who felt so threatened in her own “home” that she had to erect barriers. I regret that it took so long  before I was diagnosed with PTSD, and then another 7 or so years of work, before I could feel safe enough to even try and live a life without the camo.

Shedding 10,060 items isn’t the real challenge for me here, shedding the behaviors is much harder.


6 responses to “Status update

  1. The credenza has been emptied and moved into its new home in the attic. A shoe rack is in place under it, various computer storage things have been put on it, two bookcase boxes have been put on top of it. It isn’t full, yet, but I’m sure it will be SOON!. More of the living room cleared 😀

  2. [Is there a space-time where all the laundry is actually done?]

    Just one that I know of many years ago… well, almost. I was hot and sweaty at the end of a compulsive cleaning run and putting the last load of laundry into the machine when I realized that the clothes I had on would still be dirty after the laundry was finished. The laundry would not be “done”, after all.

    In a flash of brilliance I undressed and put those clothes into the machine with that last load. Then I headed to the shower. All would be clean in a matter of minutes… including me. As the water sprayed down upon me I felt a great feeling of accomplishment. I turned off the water and reached out to grab my towel.

    Then the reality hit me… and I froze deep in thought. If I dried off at that moment, the laundry would not be **completely** done! What to do? Should I drip dry and not put on any clothes until that last load completed the drier cycle, was folded and put away? Putting on a robe would spoil the moment. Even laying on my bed until the dryer buzzer beaconed would spoil my pursuit of perfection. Oh, for the luxury of an indoor swimming pool at that moment.

    I surrendered, grabbed just one towel and warped it around me until the washing was done. So, I came within only one towel of having all the laundry in the house completely done.

    In different context… I do understand your thoughts of having that camo desk. It rings true to me.

    • I think that concealment is one of the cheapest forms of self-protection.

      When I was a youngster, not being “seen” accurately was really important, as my abuser was our housekeeper. Giving her another reason to say I was “bad” was less painful than showing by my actions what I valued — as the items would then be belittled, stolen, or broken. I had neither privacy nor any safety re my stuff or space. None of that’s true now of course, but just saying, “Oh, okay, that’s not valid now!” after the 10+ years the woman was with us (I was 1.5 – 12) doesn’t work.

      Therefore, the camo. and the impulse to keep it in some form or the other. I say I was brainwashed, but in fact it was pretty literally true — I was trained, like a Pavlov dog that if I showed that I cared for me, my stuff, or my space — there were dire circumstances. I got a diatribe about how horrible I was, or the stuff was treated as I said above. I learned to hide me and my stuff.

      If I put this thing I love in the middle of a bunch o’ laundry, books & papers, you can’t tell what’s valuable to me, so you won’t steal it, break it, or use the fact that I love it against me.

      I don’t have attachments to specific pieces o’ stuff, or having LOTS o’ stuff, that’s not it. For me, it’s a safety issue. I like, even love, some of my things, but that’s not really it. It’s the barrier they form ‘tween me and the rest of the world, and the resultant panic when I clear out a space, that makes this damned difficult!


  3. Wow! That is the most cogent explanation of “stuff attachment” I have ever read. ((hugs))

    First I have to mention that as a small child you do not have the defenses you have as an adult. One and a half years of abuse to a three year old child is one half her life… and at six years old the abuse had continued for three-fourths of your time on Earth. At 12-years old the abuse had mangled seven-eights of your entire existence…

    And the first 1.5 years don’t count because by that age we haven’t fully formed a sense of self or acquired the skills to defend it. For what it is worth, don’t be so mathematical and just say that you were tortured for the first 12 years of your life. It is easier for people to understand when they don’t have to do math… and saying that you were abused ONLY 10.5 of your first 12 years is not doing yourself justice.

    At least that is the excuse I use for number fudging in my own case. At 17 when I applied for a top secret clearance in the Navy I came across a question on the form that said something on the order of: List the addresses of every place you lived since birth. Use extra space on the back of for if needed. (I needed it)

    Since I couldn’t answer the question I wrote to my Mom and she returned a list of about 30 addresses on in with the explanation that these were all the addresses she and dad could come up with. She was sure there were more and if needed, they would try to figure it out better. Of course I was probably over the ONI limit at 10 residences or so.

    With 30 places in 17 years the average worked out to having lived 1.76 place per year or 5.66… months per place. Awkward and mostly incomprehensible to others. Given the caveat by Mom of perhaps she had forgotten some places, I simply rounded up the list to be a nice 34 place in 17 years. That works out to be 2 places per year or 6 months per place, on average.

    Well, this post has gone on long enough but you can imagine the number of things that I lost, or had to leave behind for lack of space in our moves (I remember a special bike that my dad refurbished for my birthday at the place I lived in the first school of the fifth grade and only months later having to leave it behind as we headed for my second school in 5th grade because there was no room to put it on the trailer… and we were leaving relatively flat Denver for Kitteridge, a mountain town with no level places to ride a bike safely… I should understand the reasoning why it was left behind, you know.)

    Waking up one day in one bed in one room in one house in one town and going to sleep that night in a completely different place with a different school awaiting me the next day is much of the story of my childhood.

  4. I need to make a correction and apologize. These memories hold no warmth for me and I’ve forgotten some things and mixed up others. The bike that got left behind was when we moved from Pueblo to Denver in the fourth grade. We were still dirt poor and moved into a dump of a trailer house in a cheesy trailer park in Aurora. I don’t remember that year much at all except that on the 4th of July time frame a lady finger fire cracker exploded in my hand as I was throwing it and I got mild burns on my thumb and forefinger and pains that lasted days.

    I went to three schools in the fifth grade. Over a year and a half dad got a good steady job building luxury custom homes in the Denver area and we lived high on the hog. We got our first B&W TV (Super V Crosley – The one the lady is holding in the second page of the ad here –, we got our only brand new car 1955 Olds 88 (that got totaled and was replaced with a 1956 model, which we had for years) and we didn’t have to buy our clothes and books at Goodwill anymore. It was the richest I ever felt as a child.

    I somehow got a used bike in Denver… don’t remember how or when my folks acquired it. But the 1st school in 5th grade near Logan Ave held a “bicycle rodeo” of two wheeled games. Each student with a bike could enter any contest. One was “Best Decorated Bike”. Mom and I used crate paper and sparkly streamers to wrap nearly all metal parts. Red white and blue crate paper made circles in my spokes front and back. My dad made a bracket that stuck up from the handle bars to which Mom made a placard and I painted “5th Grade” on it over her penciled markings. I won first place and got a blue ribbon for it. The first and last achievement of that sort.

    We moved to Lakewood before Christmas (my B’day) and that is when dad refurbished my “blue ribbon bike” and Mom repainted it to look new! Wow! We must have still been doing well because Mom enrolled us kids into the Lakewood Westernaires ( and we learned to ride horses properly, to saddle them and, most importantly, curry them after we worked them out.

    Then we moved to Kitteridge, a few miles from the “big city” Evergreen where John Hinkley Jr. once lived. I remember that place well and have some good stories from there. My dad commuted to Denver to work his good job.

    Then, during the summer we moved to some godforsaken rock above Denver and then finally to hoity toity Wheat Ridge to start 6th grade and then back to Pueblo and poverty during winter to finish the 6th grade.

    That bike died in the 8th grade, I think, when it and I were run over by a Chrysler that lost traction in the snow and skidded into me on my way to school. I moved my leg just in time to keep it from getting crushed. As soon as the driver saw that I was okay he took off like a rabbit. I was so afraid of missing school that I drug the bike the rest of the way and then home again. Then I got yelled at for not coming home right away. Damned if you do…

    Sorry for taking up so much space on your blog.

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