Friday, June 7, 2013

It's been awhile

I've been really working hard at getting my shit together. The situation in my sewing room was out of control. Way too much stuff. Armed with giant black garbage bags, I purged. It wasn't easy. Just like those poor souls on Hoarders, I found myself queasy at the thought of throwing away my threadbare sheets. My head was filled with a cacophony of rationalizations. I'll fix them or make them into quilt backs; they we so expensive; they're so soft. I literally had to shove stuff into the trash bags fast and without letting myself think. I am not sure of the exact number but I have parted with over 20 giant trash bags of stuff.

The trickier part of this process is the stuff that someone else might be able to use. I did donate some useful items to the Salvation Army, books to the building library, and clothes to some friends. Sometimes I just made myself throw stuff away knowing I might change my mind if I held onto it for someone or hesitated. Argh! It's taken some of the fun out of my weekly trips to the thrift store. Last week I picked up a small ceramic rabbit. I imagined it in my home and all I could think was Little Bunny, you are so cute I will have a hard time throwing you away. I put him back on the shelf to be someone else's problem.

Leading up to this big spring cleaning, I had been planning to blog about hoarding. It's a problem for many people with a brain injury. It is still on my TO-DO list because I have really learned a lot. Another impetus for the clean sweep was what I learned helping a friend pack and move to a new, smaller apartment. I demonstrated very little patience, demanding she make decisions on the spot. No setting it aside for later when all the like objects are located, no way. Also, containers are the devil. It's too easy to think about what MIGHT fit into them. Do you want it or need it in the new place? Yes or no?

My friend balked, accusing me of being mean. She is certainly not the first person to have described me thus, but I realized I'm fed up with it. I try to be nice, but clearly it is not in my nature. For the first time, I spoke up. I said, "I love you and I'm here to help you. This is what I can do. If this is not helpful, I will go but I refuse to stay and feel bad about myself."

So, that's it. I have a lot to offer. It doesn't come in a pretty package tied up neatly with a bow, but it comes from my heart. It didn't take too long for my friend to think about it and ask me to stay. She even said, "I would rather have a friend who tells me the truth instead of someone who says just what I want to hear." It was a pretty good day.

That is until I was riding the subway that evening exhausted and emotionally labile. I won't into the details but I will say I'm lucky I did not get arrested. WTF?

1 comment:

Elizabeth, John and Jack said...

My husband calls me an "organized hoarder". I have way too much stuff, stuff I don't use, but its all organized and neat. I was like this before my injury, so I'm not sure if I can blame my injury for this issue for myself. I think I might actually part with things easier now, nothing is as important as it used to be. Congrats on your progress.