If you’re old enough, you remember those clever anti-drug commercials where a guy held up an egg, and said: “This is your brain.” (The idea, clearly, that your brain is a delicate thing held inside a fragile shell.) Then, showing the viewer a hot frying pan: “This is drugs.” And finally, he’d cracked the egg into the pan and say: “This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?” (The message then, as you watched the egg fry up: Drugs fry your brain.) I always found that ad so clever and graphic. How could you not get the message? It was so clear.
My brain is not so obvious. Every friend who has been over to my house in the past few weeks has seen one thing clearly: my dining room table is a disaster area. Total mess. There have been a lot of raised eyebrows and questions. I give good excuses: There’s been so much happening around here; I’m going to get to it, but have been overwhelmed; My head’s in
another placeS; I’m treading water, these messes will wait. The list is as convoluted as the mess on my dining room table. The bottom line: That table represents my brain right now. Even though the clutter crept up on me, I did see it coming. I let it happen, and quietly ignored it for a while. I have chosen to let it ride for a while as I lick my wounds, work on pulling up my boot straps and try to figure out what mess to clean up first.
If you’re still with me, you’re doing a decent job of reading between the lines and the metaphors. I’m being vague on purpose; not everything needs to be spelled out. The messes on the table represent messes in life, my life, or “stuff” that I need to get on top of. The rest of my house is really clutter free and clean (Ok, except for my office, which if you remember my Houston, I Have a Problem post, has been marinating for a good long while: my ultimate barometer). It’s all on the dining room table right now… Boxing me in and reminding me each day that there’s a big ass list of things to work on. Amazingly, each bit of clutter does seem to represent a specific area that I’m working on right now. My reasoning: I’m not in any rush to clean it up, because each mess will be addressed as I work on the issue.
Smart Guy walks by and says: “Uh, can I help you put some of this away” (Translation: what the hell is going on here?!). I’ve adamantly requested that he leave it to me. The boxes are simple. They are deliveries that have come, and as I figure out which things I’m keeping, I break the boxes down and put them in recycling. Simple issues, simple clutter. The piles of papers? Well piles and I have a long and twisted history. More complicated, they may take a little longer. There are piles of school supplies that represent me trying not to be that mother who didn’t get her kid’s school supplies in time. Oh that wicked self-esteem thing. I bought them early, before we got the class lists and now I need to figure out which things Little Man needs, and which I can return. For the first time ever, I got those book covers before the stores ran out, and of course, this year he doesn’t need any. Teaches me… what? Not to be organized? Not to try and be the kind of Mom I’m inherently not? Not to compare myself? That book covers are over rated?
My head is full to capacity and so is the table. It’s a good visual cue to not take on any more messes. And as I begin to clear the table, it will be a cue to me that my brain is clearing. When the dining room table and my office are clean… Well, let’s not get ahead of myself.
I plan to post picture of the dining room table, as I clear it. You can find the pictures on my Tales From the Motherland Facebook page. If you haven’t already, click the link and like the page, then you can live vicariously through my twisted rationals about clutter. Also, tell me what represents your mental status? Do you have things you let pile up, or do you keep it all together? Is fall a cathartic time when you reflect on changes you want to make, new rituals, etc, or are you a steady as she goes person? Click on the title of this post and share a comment. While you’re at it, click the like and make me smile, and boost my self esteem: twoferone deal! (For anyone who worries that I actually need those likes to feel good about myself, I jest. However, if it gets you to boost my Word Press visibility, think of it as a good samaritan gesture.)
The house looks beautiful, irregardless of clutter. My husband I think is like your brain. Piles everywhere, no one dare not touch! A sign of brilliant minds!
Thanks Lisa! I’ll run with that for now. 😉
clutter: to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness
In Japanese this translates to 乱雑 (rahn zahtsu): disorder, confusion.
DQ: “Oh Brian, knock it off with the Japanese crap, can’t you see I got stuff to deal with?”
Just the other day on Japanese TV there was this one spot, kind of like an American “Reality Show” where a woman was going around to houses getting into people’s heads because they were not doing anything about the clutter: the confusion, the disorder, the excess crap they stockpiled for a so-called rainy day. It showed her coming by a particular house a year ago and completely guilt tripping the home owner. “Oh, really, you are going to cut pictures out of the magazines and make a scrap book? That’s nice, real nice. Good idea.” A year later she shows back up at the same house and sure enough the same pile of magazines, only bigger, was exactly where it was a year ago. So the reality show person, she takes charge, and pushes the stack of magazines into a trash can and has the camera crew haul it away. The home owner is livid and chases them down the street, fights a bit with the camera man, magazines spill and then the home owner brakes down, has an epiphany of sorts, and realizes that nothing was going to get done with the pile of magazines. The reality show person, by the way, is also a psychiatrist and she holds a session, minus the couch, right there in the middle of the road with magazines scattered about and a flock of curious on lookers. The home owner is enlightened. A truck with a trash compactor on the back happens to show up and the reality show people, home owner and onlookers throw the magazines in the back of the truck. There are tears.
BP: “Yeah I can see that, but really … get rid of it already now!”
It really is so hard to part with stuff that you will never look at again.
Thanks for that intervention Brian… but not the same problem…um, not really. We have the same show here; it was invented by us, who do this crazy ass stuff all the time. Hoarders is one, then there’s a bunch of similar reality shows. No, I am not collecting, and I will get rid of all of it. I am just working through the issues and getting rid of the clutter for real, not to re-collect it. I’m doing an experiment with my dining room table, as I work through some things that you know are bigger than collecting shit. That said, I hear what you’re saying, and if they can’t get into the house in 6 months… you have permission to say “I told her so,” over beers at TK’s next summer. 😉 Carry on.
Damn, did I get it wrong again? I hate when that happens.
It’s rare. Just deal with it big guy. 😉
Sorry, I just LOL’d – I know, I know!
You know how I feel about LOL. I hate that I bring that out in others. 😉
Hi, pleased to meet you – thanks for popping in to my blog. You write very well and I enjoyed reading your article. With regard to brains, you may enjoy having a go at these quick tests that claim to discover whether you have a more male or female type brain 🙂
Try the two tests on empathy and systemizing intelligence and then compare your results to Pink and I.
Thanks for stopping by Dave. I’d love to try the tests, though there is little doubt that I probably have a female brain. That said, I don’t see any links, so where do I find the tests? Again, glad you chose to check out my work and hope you’ll read on… 🙂
Sorry – here’s the actual page: http://www.genderdynamix.co.za/component/option,com_gdxgendertest/Itemid,206/
Have a go at the empathy and systemizing quotients
With regard to what kind of brain you may have, wait until you’ve done them – some folks have had surprising results…
Yes, I will definitely read on 🙂
Will try it for sure; thanks! 🙂
Great – look forward to comparing 🙂
Ok, done. Here are my scores:
Gender apt = 31, novice
Type B (E=S), balanced brain. Yay!
Fairly predictable, but not exactly what I thought I’d find. What are you and Pink?
That’s nearly same as my wife. I got 57, 57 and Pink got 47, 49. The male that passed it to me got 36, 8. My friend (an engineer) got 17, 48 and another man got 15, 45 or was that at tennis?
I happen to know there are many of us using our dining room tables to sort through our lives; past, present and future. You’re not alone in your collection of stuff that needs attention. Maybe we ought to ban together in unity? You know, to remove the shame of it all. Hahah!
Damn! I thought you wanted to ban together to clean each others’ messes… I would be so in on that one! Glad to know I’ve got good company sistah! 🙂
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