Category Archives: learning

My Dad

would be over 100, if he was still alive. His birthday was early this month.

I think, like everyone, when you have an anniversary of this type, you remember the person in question. I have and have been. I wonder what he’d think of who I am now? I’m very different from the daughter he knew. I’m also not “successful” in the same way that he used to deal with his kid crap. Would he think I’m a failure because I’m not all that interested in intellectual pursuits, scholarship, or seeking money/status/power?

I don’t know.

Hopefully it would be enough that I’m happy. Maybe not. There’s one thing I’ve finally accepted about almost everyone who “knew me when.” I approached my early relationships with about 3 premises: I was broken/damned, I was less than they were, or I was there to entertain. NONE of that do I do now.

Many problems I have with my birth family and old friends is just this: I won’t accept any of those as the premises in a relationship anymore. This confuses and upsets people who have known me for a long time.

They think I’m going to provide hours of entertaining stories about being outrageous, emotionally fall apart, or just agree that they’re inherently “better” than I am, and we may or may not “fix” me.

street signs

I don’t and won’t play anymore.

Makes things awkward ‘eh?

The performance art was exhausting. Thinking I was a homicidal maniac and being terrified of myself was exhausting. Feeling like I was damned and deserved whatever derision or nastiness put on me was crushing.

I’m not there. I’m not going back.

I’m boring, don’t entertain, have no need to be told how to live my life, and almost never do anything outrageous anymore.

Dad liked/encouraged my outrageousness. He didn’t understand the emotional over the top behavior. He was proud of my ability to entertain people and be a good hostess.

More Minimalism, Sort Of. . .

I found another one of those lists. On this list that I do buy: drinks from Starbucks (when we’re there, it’s an hour away), usually I get them free with stars. I do buy newspapers, on Sunday. It tells us about events happening around our rural area and we like the comics and articles. (And, yes, we’ve been known to start the wood stove with them or use them for shipping materials as well.)

No “as sold on TV” things, well that one’s pretty easy. We haven’t had a TV in > 10 years. Books? Well, yes, I do still buy books. I am who I am after all.

I think our minimalism is more like, cut it down until you don’t have excessive extras. I cleaned out an area earlier this week and found a stapler. Fine. Took it up to the office, where staplers should live, right? We had 2 there already. I couldn’t find one when I wanted it and hauled the one from the kitchen to the office. Then I located the office’s designated stapler. And yesterday, the other. So. . .for the moment there is an office stapler and a stapler on my desk.  The kitchen stapler went back to the kitchen. If/when I move to the other office again (this summer hopefully?) I’ll take the 2nd office stapler with me. Two offices, two staplers. We use the one in the kitchen to seal herbs in brown paper bags in summer to dry them, amongst other things.

Do I really need 3 staplers? No. But it’s convenient. Until it stops being so, I’ll keep them. I could get by with just one, DH hardly uses them at all, but it’s always on the wrong floor, or in the wrong room. (I tried that.)

Other things I’m going to do which are not minimalist. I’m going to make 24 monthly envelopes from fabric for the current and past years’ accounting papers. Why? Because at the moment I’m using manila envelopes, and they’re all over the place as I’m doing the 2016 taxes.

manila envie

I’m tired of opening up the envelopes to find this or that, then closing them, then shuffling thru the stacks of manila envelopes trying to find the RIGHT one. Not now, not til after the taxes are done, but then I’m going to make 2 matching expanding envelopes for each month. I will no longer have to have 24+ envelopes for the 2 years’ worth of data. Three year old data can be filed in the filing cabinet.

If I were really going minimalist, I’d close the business. That won’t happen until the storage is empty and I’ve culled, sold, or whatever the excess stuff. And maybe not then? I’ve been selling things a long time now. Wonder what I’d do otherwise?

 

Why You’ll (Maybe) Hear G & S at My House

I have an itunes recording of “When the Foeman Bares His Steel” from Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance on my computer. I will set the controls to repeat it as a loop. When I’m alone (and only then) I will turn the volume up and

—-GO!—–

I clean house to it. I love that piece because, musically, it is the internal dialog that all of us go through when we face something difficult.

There are three main groups singing: the policemen and their sergeant (who’ve been tasked with going after pirates), the girls (daughters of the major general) and the major general.

The Police: “When the foeman bares his steel, we uncomfortable feel. . .”

When facing anything scary, we’re uncomfortable.

“…we find the wisest thing is to slap our chests and sing tar-an-tara!”

We do what we we have to, to get ourselves psyched to do whatever it is.

“…when your heart is in your boots, there’s nothing brings it ’round like the trumpet’s martial sound, like the trumpet’s marital sound. . . tarantara, tarantara, tarantara.”

We play inspirational music, read things, go to places, whatever works, to goad ourselves forward, right?

The girls: “Go, ye heroes, go to glory,though you die in combat gory, ye shall live in song and story. Go to immortality!”

Don’t we all tell ourselves we’re doomed to fail? But if nothing else, someone might just notice how hard we tried?

The sergeant: “Though to us it’s evident, these intentions are well meant, such expressions don’t appear, calculated men to cheer. But it’s very evident these intentions are well meant.”

Our internal reasoning.

The girls: “Go to glory and the grave! For your foes are fierce and ruthless, false, unmerciful, and truthless; young and tender, old and toothless,all in vain their mercy crave.”

You’re going to fail. You can’t do this. How many times have we told ourselves that? (Too many to count, if you’re me.)

policeman pirates of penzance

Lastly, there is the internal dialog steeling yourself to actually DO the thing:

General: “Away, away!

Police: “Yes, yes, we go!”

General: These pirates slay!”

Police: “Tarantara!”

The General: “Then do not stay.”

Police: “Tarantara!”

General: “Then why this delay?”

Police: “All right we go.”

Girls: “Yes, forward on the foe.”

Police: “Yes, forward on the foe. ”

General: “Yes, but you don’t go!”

Police: “Yes, forward on the foe.”

Girls: “At last they go.”

Police: “We go, we go.”

Girls: “At last they go, at last they go!”

Police: “We go. We go.”

Girls: “At last they really, really go!

Police: “We go, we go, we go!”

Irritating & Human

I spaced an appointment today. I’ve been working hard at being organized, really organized the past week or two, and just blew it.

Which of course makes me mad — madder than when I was completely disorganized! The more I work at it, the madder I get when it doesn’t work. And it seems like I go through a period where try as I might, I screw up, over and over. I think it’s the broken egg/omelette problem.  This time at least, I’m determined NOT to throw my hands up in the air (figuratively) and give up.

chaos-to-order-image

So I “forgave” myself for the lapse. I have another appointment which I have an email out to reschedule. hopefully it can be. There’s a workshop I’d like to go to which creates a conflict.

In some ways being organized is MUCH easier, in others, it’s just work. Not the adult life I thought I’d have, but not feeling like I’m always in a state of chaos will be worthwhile, although scary. It was a major piece of my “camouflage.” I don’t think I need it any more. In fact, I think I need the low stress that not being chaotic will bring!

We’ll see.

J

 

Self-Care

One of the hardest things for me to understand when life was at its worst was: I deserve to not be miserable. After decades of fighting myself, the PTSD, my old “programming,” etc. I got militant about not backsliding and pursuing what made me “not miserable.” To that end, I have quit being a moderator on a self-help site.

I realized that the slogging work of removing spammers, daily, had become a substitution for the slogging house work. It’s certainly easier to sit at my computer and remove spammers than it is to go through the remaining piles of stuff. After the daily purge of 20+ spammers I had no inclination to tackle my own “spam.” So I quit.

There were other reasons, but the biggest one was that I’d used the unpaid position as an excuse to avoid my life. Self-care doesn’t always feel good. Sometimes it’s downright painful. Walking away from my family hurts, but overall I’m much happier without them in my life — which speaks for itself.

Sometimes self-care is a joyful explosion of self-expression, imagination and creativity, invoking ecstatic childhood. But sometimes, it’s the somber, painful necessary  work of an adult.

 

Been Working on the Paperwork

My first tax appt. is this week, so I’ve been going thru paperwork.

file-folder-tax-image

This morning I’ve culled/filed coupons.

Culled/filed misc. paperwork.

Culled/filed receipts.

I’m not sure exactly how many papers I’ve tossed, filed, or put in the shred tub, but it’s an hour+ of sorting things. I’m going to count it as 30 papers out. I’m sure it was likely more than that, but as I said, I didn’t count so I don’t have an accurate number.

Other agenda related to the tax appt. is to clear my desk and the area around it. The old computer needs to be plugged in so I can get some data off of it.

I ran out of the envelopes I use to file receipts. One thing I learned long ago is that I purely hate the mess that misc. piles of small bits of paper create. My first solution was to tape the receipts to college ruled notebook paper and file the stuff in notebooks. Works, as long as you keep it up. I did (and didn’t). Last year, when I shut off the old computer (it had completely died doing the 2014 taxes, then started to again doing the 2015 taxes!) I had the first quarter’s worth of data in the data base. I figured when we got the new computer, I’d just upgrade the data base, and I’d be good. Something we’ve done before. No, the company has gone to a monthly subscription fee rather than expensive upgrades. Okay, in our old age I am working really, really hard at REMOVING monthly fees and autodebits — so I decided that after 20 years or so with the data base, I’d stop using it. (Also, I’d finally (!) zeroed out the book stock, so didn’t need to use the same medium any more.)

Okay. I started filing receipts and tracking what I was doing in a different way. Like all things, it has its pluses and minuses.

However, I’m still using that system. But I need to get the 1st quarter ‘s data from the old data base . . . .

After that? I have 20 years worth of research for the kitchen book (mostly) in a few data bases to convert to some other system. Now you know why I haven’t tackled this already; it’s daunting!

Why I Don’t Do “Konmari”

The big, obvious answer is that the “keep what brings you joy, get rid of the rest” idea didn’t fit my situation. The clutter kept me feeling safe, for decades.

If it works for you? Great! But easy answers didn’t work for me. Or even some very complicated ones. It isn’t now nor has it ever been about just getting rid of stuff.

Also, I can’t say yet that purging stuff brings me joy. The redecorated living room, which works, that brings me joy, but getting rid of the stuff does NOT. It brings me anxiety and fear. It brings me determination and steeling myself against my “old self,” but joy?

No.

broom-cartoon

I have tried many ideas for purging stuff and cleaning house. Until I dealt with a lot of the PTSD and figured out the function of the mess (see link) there was no way I could clean the house and KEEP it clean.

My hoarding was never about laziness or thinking things had value. And it was more complex than  I had dolls when I was a girl —  therefore dolls make me happy — so I have too many. (That last scenario seems to be what the “psych” side of “Hoarders” is like.)

I still have too much stuff and bad habits. But it’s getting better, and mostly staying that way. It ebbs and flows. I have no idea wtf is “normal” that way, so I decided a few months back that I wasn’t going to worry about it. As long as I’m not continually reconstructing the mess/barrier, I’m good.

Not your standard — oh well!

J