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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

This is an Intervention

Hello, my name is Valerie and I am a messy.
It's something I don't like to talk about publicly. Especially not on this blog. This blog is my creative space. My happy place. My place where I can forget about ugly, real parts of my life, and pretend like I didn't shove a huge pile of trash out of the way when I take a picture for the blog. But I need to talk about it now, and here's why:
It's ruining my life.

Well, THAT was dramatic. Let's get a little background and perspective before we continue on with this story.
I have been a creative, sentimental, messy person my entire life. As a child I drove my parents nuts with my messy room and unfinished projects and short attention span. My parents are and always have been very tidy, organized people. And I grew up in a mostly tidy organized home. So my chronic messiness and disorganization was always baffling and frustrating to them.
As I got older, it became baffling and frustrating to me. In college my dorm was a train wreck. When I moved to my own place I took mountains and mountains of stuff with me... and then again when I moved into a duplex with my bestie. The amount of stuff I had acquired and held onto is really kind of incredible. But even more incredible was I didn't know how to MANAGE all this stuff I had acquired.
And then I met my husband. A fellow messy. He would probably balk if I said he was 'sentimental' but he sure does have a TON of stuff that he wanted to hold on to-- even if it was serving us no purpose. So TWO sentimental messies married and moved in together, and the mess didn't double, it quadrupled. I still didn't know how to manage it. But we were both working full time and so that seemed a good excuse, and we could fake it pretty well.
Then we started adding kids in the mix... and with each new kid the amount of stuff multiplies exponentially. And we moved to a new (bigger) house and it was going to be awesome and more space and easier to clean and manage our stuff-- but that didn't happen. Our stuff quickly filled the space and took over. It just got out of hand.
Does this story sound familiar to anyone? Please tell me I am not the only person out there who stood in their living room one day in tears because the gravity of their mess was all of a sudden suffocating them!! Tell me I am not alone!
Here's the deal though. I am a reasonably intelligent, able bodied person. And it is not that I don't know HOW to clean. I know how to wash a dish, do a load of laundry, fold a bed sheet, pick up trash, scrub a toilet... I know HOW to do those things. But I didn't DO them. I didn't do them until the mess became so overwhelming that my brain would crash. And then I would attempt to do it all at once and fail miserably to even make a dent. I felt crushed by my failure, frustrated with myself for letting things get so far... I felt ineffective. I felt like a failure. I felt like, I hated being in my own house.
I couldn't have people over without a two day warning, I panicked if the doorbell rang. I apologized and cried every night when my husband came over. My tidy parents would come over and try to help clean my house, or they would make little jokes about what a slob I am-- I guess because it made them feel less uncomfortable??-- and I would cry when the left because people couldn't stand to be in my house. I didn't want to be this way. I wished every day I could change this about myself because I felt so inferior, so abnormal, so small. I felt RUINED.

Going through an intervention, trying to change yourself, get yourself healthy, you often here-- Admitting you have a problem is the first step.
Guess what. I have known my whole life I that I am a messy. I have never NOT known that. I've been admitting that forever. This admittance was getting me no where. It was not until recently, however, that I realized being a creative, sentimental, messy person is not the problem. The problem is not that I should be someone different. The problem is not that I don't know how to do the things I wish I would do.
The problem is I have never developed the right habits.
I don't need to change who I am, I need to change how I act.

It was literally just a few days ago I reached a big dramatic breaking point.
I had an intervention for myself. I cried for a little while. I told myself how my actions were affecting me; and how they were affecting my loved ones. I told myself it was time for change. I admitted my problem. I reached out for help. I bought a book and looked up some resources.
I wrote this blog post.
...because that's helpful, right?
Well, actually, it is helpful. This blog, you readers (all three of you), are going to be a part of this journey with me. You get to be the processing and accountability part of this journey with me. I know I am going to need space for both of those things if I am to be successful in this endeavor to control my mess...
So this is the story of my intervention, the story of my mess, the beginning of my journey, and the start of better habits and better life. Because I am done living in the bondage of my mess and fear that someone might find out about it.
In the months to come I'll be sharing about what I am doing, how things are going, maybe some failed attempts, definitly a lot of honesty. Ah, yes, brutally terrifying honesty about my life... about my mess. I'm calling this new phase in my life...
(because every blogger on a mission needs an official title for that mission, or blog series, or whathaveyou...)
Undoing the Messy.

Undoing the Messy, Step One: Big fat emotional self imposed intervention with accompanying blog post. CHECK!

We'll talk more about this soon... I promise.

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