Embracing My Mess

I’m trying to get myself organized. Today’s post was brought to you by the article in the NY Times Making a Marriage Magically Tidy. I read the post, and then I posted it to my personal Facebook page.

My sister responded, and I quote, “…did you write that article under a pseudonym? That part about the panty liner was hilarious!! Well, we do the best we can, right!”

We do the best we can. That’s what I tell myself on Saturdays when I’m binge watching Netflix but should really be cleaning. Let me tell you, my floors will never be fit to eat off of. There will probably always be a layer of dust on by bookshelves. There will be crumbs on my table. My kids’ toys will be littering the floor until the sad day they ship off to college.

I read that book mentioned in the article, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I rolled up my clothes and put them in drawers. I felt whether clothes sparked joy in me or not, and the ones that didn’t were given away. I threw away A TON of stuff, donated things, and basically went on a mad-cleaning spree for about a month. In Kondo’s book, she said something like (and this is paraphrasing because I read it over a year ago) “no one who has gone through my program has ever relapsed.” Well she never met me.

Several things I learned from Kondo’s book:

  1. She probably has severe OCD
  2. Her siblings most likely hated her growing up – she organized and threw away their things
  3. I’m inherently missing something that makes me want to keep things neat and tidy
  4. When I start to clean I always end up finding a box of nostalgia and falling into a state of schaudenfreude. I find that inherently not worth it. But also could probably fix this problem but just tossing my old memorabilia yet there’s no way I can actually let go of that stuff. Catch 22.

The thing about me is I am at both extremes. When things are neat and tidy, I freak out if people so much as put one thing out of place. It’s a problem. It’s easier for me to have organized unorganized chaos than to deal with the crazy that comes out in me when things are neat. Maybe this comes from being a perfectionist. Or maybe there’s just something wrong with my brain.

Plus, I’ve read the news: kids growing up on farms with dirt have better immune systems and less allergies than other kids. I’m just giving my kids a leg up. They have zero food allergies–that’s something, right?

Seriously though, sometimes I think I need an intervention. I’ve been trying to tidy up my room for 12-18 months. Something always gets in the way. Over that period of time, we culled the toys in the kids’ rooms and helped them clean theirs. But I have a mental block for cleaning out my own shit. I’d like to talk to Helen Ellis about how she got through that mental block. Did podcasts do it? Because I get obsessed with those for like a week, and then move on. Perhaps I have adult ADHD. That would explain why I can’t freaking finish anything to save my life, including my novel, and why I jump from one thing to another. And why I’m such a major underachiever even though I have idealistic dreams of being MORE!

I guess I’ll start this weekend by going through my closet. Then again, I’ve been telling anyone and everyone that I’ve intended to do that for the last eighteen months. Some things never change…

Messy Room

What end of the spectrum do you fall on? Are you tidy or messy? Have you been both? How did you change your ways?

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I’m an Extroverted Introvert

Last week on Facebook, one of my Wench friends posted an article about Extroverted Introverts: How Extroverted Introverts Interact Differently With The World. Forever, people have been telling me how extroverted I am. Lauren, you’re so friendly. You always have a smile on your face. This part is true–most of the time. I’m super empathetic. Empathy can be draining, especially when you talk to someone and tend to try to talk out all their problems. People always feel like they can talk to me about big, serious issues in their life. I love being able to make those connections, but it can be emotionally draining as well. Plus, it makes me feel closer to them than they might feel to me. I get emotionally involved in people’s lives, even if I’ve just met them which often sets me up to be hurt.

I always wondered how I fit so well in an extroverted category when I don’t really feel like an extrovert. When I take the Myers Briggs test, I’m classified as an extrovert always. But in my down time, I love to come home, veg on the couch and recharge. In fact, I have to have that downtime or I feel so out of sorts. I like hours alone–sometimes days–and I feel overwhelmed when I don’t have time to recharge.

I feel very alone in a group of people, and I have a hard time breaking into new friendships. But other times, I’ll jump right in depending on the day. I use alcohol as a crutch in social situations to come out of my shell. I love to make people laugh, and I love to be the center of attention too. I do better one-on-one, but I don’t have a lot of close friends. I will have a friend for a few years, and then they drift away. I love to have deep conversations and sometimes this scares people off or is too much for them. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I say what I think. But, I have a hard time letting people get close to me. I have a tough time with intimacy and space. I see this same quality in my middle son, who shirks away from being kissed and hugged. I know how he feels–that overwhelming feeling of being captured or suffocated and needing my me-space away from people. I have felt that way on so many occasions.

The worst part of being an extroverted introvert is the over thinking. Sometimes my mind tacks onto a question and rolls in circles around it. Big questions like, why are we here? Is there a God? When we die what happens? – questions no one can answer, but that my brain won’t give up trying to answer. And not so big questions and fears that I can’t stop thinking about. Overthinking will make you miserable if you let it, and I think it is the source of depression in a lot of people, including me.  My brain is in overdrive so much, and the only thing that can stop it: writing. Writing has been such a great outlet for the introvert part of my mind. I love to go out and hang with friends. I love to drink socially and talk, but when my introvert-side clicks in then I need to be by myself–just ask my husband. I want a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, quiet, veg-out, write and recharge time. I need a bath with a good book. I need to revert back to myself, recharge, and feel like my happy little self again.

What about you? Are you an extrovert, an introvert, or a little bit of both?

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