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.)