I’ve been wondering lately if everything I’ve believed about myself up until recently is false. I always prided myself on my sense of focus and my ability to organize. I’m writing this, weeks after the thought first crossed my mind, and now with a sense of humor. Desktop update? Here’s a corner of the debris in front of me right now.
If I’m organized, it isn’t very obvious. Although I have no trouble focussing on an activity, my focus is probably not apparent. When I’m engrossed in a task and another item arises needing attention, I’m either unable to consider the new issue (I can even manage to block it out completely) or I get so involved in it, I cannot remember what I was doing before. I then go from one item to the next to the next. I appear very distracted, yet I’m fully attentive to each thing. It concerns me that I see my daughter exhibiting the same behavior. Getting her dressed in the morning is sometimes a drama because she gets fixated on other things and can’t easily complete the task at hand. In her defense, she’s three. What’s my excuse?
When I was younger and busily affirming my sense of self, I had a near obsessive rein on myself. I had my mornings rigidly organized into 15 minute increments. This helped me accomplish what I need to do: 15 minutes breakfast, 15 minutes shower, 15 minutes makeup and hair, 15 minutes meditation, until I was out the door. At some point it became unrealistic to get up two hours before I needed to leave. I slowly abandoned the schedule. Now, and for the last twenty years, I’ve been living on a university schedule. I shift my habits every 15 weeks and each day has a different dynamic. Today is “research day” (reminds me of “steak night”) and I get to sit at home and think about the world and scold myself up for not writing faster about it.
I think the reality I’m coming to is that organization does not really come naturally to me. It’s something I’ve learned to impose on myself when necessary because it keeps me afloat. Sometimes it becomes a tricky web to navigate, but without it I might just be endlessly engrossed in the shiny objects dangling before me and never find time to articulate what’s so fascinating about them.
Posted in hoarding identity, hoarding in the profession, Uncategorized
Tagged attention, control, debris, desk, desktop, focus, identity, organization, rigid
Unexpectedly, I have a new desk and home office for the holidays. We found this beautiful table while furniture shopping, and fortunately for me it is too large for our dining area. It served yesterday as Christmas wrapping central and today became my desk. How long before I muck it up with clutter? Taking all bets.
A friend came to see me while I was packing up and asked if I was going to post a picture of my desktop. It is visibly empty, and all cared-about belongings have been removed from drawers. Last week was a frenzy of sorting, tossing, shoving into suitcases, trying to be clear-headed, vomiting, washing, and leaving behind my most cared about “stuff” in the world – my best friend, D. He has been left with the chaotic mess of empty envelopes, half-filled plastic bags, coat hangers, shampoo bottles, and the like. While absurdly we continue to wait for his paperwork, he has to sift through the rubble. In the meantime, S. and I are on the other side of the planet, shuffling about dazed, waking up at 3 a.m. not knowing what day it is, and feeling empty without him.
the more things change...
The best I can do to describe my present state of disorganization is “spinning.” I grab a very very important new piece of paper — like my bank account information — put it in a logical place, and promptly forget where I put it. Then I grab my passport and join it to the pile where I think I’m going to need it next — like with rental applications — and then I need it for banking and can’t seem to find it. I’m a whirlwind of mess, chronically sleep deprived, untethered, cry at the littlest, “maybe that’s daddy?” when S. hears a noise… and so on. And my “stuff” is not here to hold me down, make me feel embedded, push roots into the earth, or any other metaphorical fodder that it is supposed to do. My landmarks are missing, the biggest one being my partner, and it feels like my legs have been chopped off in a sense.
None of this is to complain, because I’ve fallen into a weird community of genuinely happy, smiling, friendly, eager to serve and please people. Strangers stop and talk, everyone looks relaxed, the sun is so brilliantly white that everything outside seems to sparkle until 4 p.m. when it starts to get dark. Then the lights sparkle some more on the water. I feel guarded and suspicious of all this openness. In fact, I thought I had been living in a very friendly town until yesterday. Now I don’t know what to expect. Unanchored, weightless, temporary, and very sad.
Posted in weight of things
Tagged bag, best friend, chaos, desk, desktop, empty, float, light, mess, packing, roots, rubble, sort, spinning, stuff, untethered, weight
It may not look any better than before, but it is. The neighboring shelves are emptying out as I continue to box up unused books and put them in storage. The drawer has lost a lot of paperweight in the past few months, and the books that remain, well, they’re going with me one way or another. Guess what else? It isn’t just my stuff on those shelves anymore.
The room around me is emptying out, but how does my desk look this week? Well….
not pictured - a pair of gloves and a coupon I'll forget to use
In my defense, I’ve started two new research papers and need a few things within arm’s reach. The other part of the issue is the growing stack of tax documents.
It surprises me a bit that I feel defensive about my desk which is still relatively
in under control, but perhaps even more that those piles of books make me (not-so) secretly happy. My brain is working and that means a lot.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged brain, clutter, coupon, desk, desktop, gloves, guilty, papers, research, tax, update
To be clear, to be obvious … when my last post had a photo of “not my clutter” this is why: my desk is no match for that sparse table top with a few pieces of paper on it.