I have been organizing. I feel like a chronic organizer in this place. I can’t get rooted and as much as I try to minimalize the stuff in my surroundings, there is always more to whittle down.
I want to get it to the point where I can be more efficient with listing on eBay but I also need things to be neat and organized to be able to continue focusing, on a consistent basis.
It’s been a struggle to stay organized in the past five years, but it’s a real chore here in this apartment. I understand why, but understanding it at an intellectual level doesn’t make me feel any less like running when my tolerance goes way down and I can’t stand it anymore.
I’ve had it to a point of feeling organized just to have it feel chaotic soon after, either by becoming dissatisfied with how it is later or by not keeping up with the ‘system.’ But seriously, given the size of this place from what we moved from it’s a struggle. In addition I’d already been struggling with our larger space in the house for about five years after an emotional trauma.
I won’t get into every boring detail of the organizing saga, but today I moved on to clearing out the floor of my closet, which had a huge tote in it that is filled with photographs and cards.
The timing is unbelievable and I have the feeling that it isn’t a coincidence. My birthday is just around the corner and I’m not sure whether to expect a card from my mother or not. I know I won’t hear from my siblings, or at least the chances are slim, but my mother is an unknown.
And so this is a source of stress for me. I’m like, “Here we go again.” And not sure how to be during this time of year. I don’t want to care, but I do. I don’t know whether I’d prefer not to get a card or to get one.
It’s really six of one and half dozen of the other though because if she does send a card it very well may be more guilt and shame.
The bin with photos is going into the garage to make room for other things that I need access to. Being a glutton for punishment, I opened up the bin and pulled out the cards people had given me through the years and looked through them.
I’d already had a few from my mother set aside to keep out, to basically refer back to, if she does send me a card this year. I had some strange amnesia last year when I’d received a card. I had to be reminded about how manipulative she was in the personalized message she wrote inside the card.
The year before I’d written about the card she’d sent then, and was able to see right through her and the message she wrote but for some reason I wasn’t able to do that the year after. I never want that to happen again. I want to be able to see the truth and understand what is real.
So I took them out of the bin and set them aside to keep in another, smaller box along with a few other things I took out of the bin, to keep up here in the bedroom.
Going through those cards, I felt a mix of emotions. Birthday cards and post cards. Funeral cards and Christmas cards.
Even the funny cards made me feel sad. My father had a good sense of humor. And despite all the bad that was, he made me laugh a lot too. My brother was funny also and I’d forgotten that we’d had a running joke that had been becoming a tradition, by giving each other cow themed cards every year. Makes me smile now just writing that. But it’s sad because that is gone now.
My sister and mother mostly gave sentimental cards, and it was so apparent between the lines, that they knew I struggled to reach my dreams. (Mostly because I’d lost sight of them.)
My parents had begun going on more vacations in different parts of the country while they were still married and my mother would send all three of us kids post cards from wherever they were. Some of them I could see the date of the post mark, giving away how long ago it had been written and sent. Others I could date them from the address it had been sent to.
And all those dates and addresses have their own memories and triggers. It makes me feel nostalgic. Some memories and triggers are good. Others, not so much.
The only other things I pulled out of the bin were two large envelopes, each with a pile of photos in them. I flipped quickly through both. I kept one out and put one back. I’m not sure I will access it but I may. It’s full of old pictures, so the possibility is there.
It’s the envelope that has my name on it, in my father’s print. He wrote it with a black magic marker. Just before he’d moved from the last house my parents had lived in together, he had set aside this envelope to give to me when he saw me.
When I opened the envelope to see that they were mostly photos of me, I was stunned and wondered why? Why would he not keep these for himself?
I never asked. I kept the question and the hurt to myself.