Writing Challenge Day 16: Bullet Your Entire Day

  • Woke up without an alarm
  • Fed the kitties
  • Went back to bed
  • Crocheted a bit
  • Made coffee
  • Sat outside and read my devotional and drank coffee
  • Cleaned all the things
    • Table with mineral spirits due to fogging
    • Vacuumed/steam cleaned chairs
    • Cleaned bathroom
    • Straightened kitchen
    • Washed linens to be given away
  • Dehydrated bananas
  • Made marinaded chicken in a crockpot
  • Went to the beach to read/relax/swim
  • Stopped for soft serve strawberry ice cream on the way home
  • Went for a run (which, let’s be honest, was really a walk)
  • Showered
  • Ate some chicken
  • Dehydrated strawberries and pineapple (I’m going to be up till 0100….)
  • Talked to husband who is out of town
  • Poured myself a shot of pineapple rum with lime sparkling water
  • Cleaned the front closet
  • Sat down to write
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The Other Stuff

As I’m KonMari-ing my house (organizing all the things), I feel pretty good about it.  I’m now down to a box and a steamer trunk to catalog.  It feels great.

But then I woke up this morning with a sense of dread in my stomach.  Did I throw out too much?  I couldn’t think of anything that I trashed that was of great value to me.  Perhaps this is part of the purging effect: There’s a decent size hole in my stomach.  Now that everything in my house is in running order, perhaps I’m next.  I don’t think my brain has caught up to my KonMari-ed possessions.

I went to church this morning, and on top of the empty feeling inside I’m having a horrible
“Awkward Introvert Day” – which happens occasionally to me.  There was a scripture spoken today that hit me right between the eyes:

So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.  (Luke 14:33)

Whoa.  Today’s sermon spoke of the preceding verses of taking stock of your life before before following Christ because it is such an investment, a promise you don’t want to go back on.  The Lord charges us to be good stewards of what we have as well.  The tidying marathon has spiritual implications I hadn’t considered.

I should also add that there are some other things in play right now: I applied for a job, a career change to be more specific, and it’s been a month since my interview with crickets for an answer.  HR assures me the position is still open and has not been filled, as they’re still deliberating (there were many applicants), but I am growing restless for an answer.

On top of that, I decided last spring I wanted to pursue a technical writing certificate.  This was in part to a career change, but even with the possibility of a new career on the horizon, I’ve decided to still pursue it.  It’s an online course through a well known university system, I can swing the tuition, and I could use a challenge in direction with writing – not to mention, it’s a great resume builder, regardless of what career I choose.

I also was asked to be on a leadership committee at church, which I accepted, and now have some behind the scenes planning to do.

And then I decided to KonMari my house!

Perhaps what I’m feeling is just a sense of upheaval.  While I embrace change (I do love adventure!), sometimes too much at once can cause this INFJ to spiral.  I love my quiet time, and this season of life, I believe that will be in short supply.

Despite all the befuddlement, this is where I need to be.  The past few years I’ve been drifting with the wind and currents: now I can feel my sails unfurling.

Here’s to discovering new lands.

 

Forward

I just finished reading Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” and now I understand what all the fuss was about.

And so, I’ve begun to put her methods to use around my house.  I strive to be a minimalist, but I have such a tender heart towards things with sentimental attachment.

And this brought me to my underwear drawer: it was time to face my past.

Stuffed in the back of the drawer were the red satins.  They are beautiful, from Victoria’s Secret: red satin pajamas pants with a button-up top as well as a red satin babydoll nightgown from the same collection.  The pajamas are conservative enough to wear in front of extended family for breakfast; the nightgown is a different story.

Both were a Christmas gift from John after we began sleeping together.  Our tryst had begun only a month before, and with his love language being gifts, this shouldn’t have come as a surprise.  But it did.  He loved the covered up look, hence the pajamas.  I loved the revealing look, hence the babydoll nightgown.  It spoke volumes to this writer’s heart: something for both of us to enjoy.  I thought it was a bit extravagant for a friendship that had a sexual component, but I was still thrilled.  I remember looking at him, thinking, “Is this more serious than I think it is?” I was the one who wanted a relationship; he was the one that always backed away.

This was all years ago, well before I had my toes firmly planted in sand at the beach.  I’ve worn them only a few times since the days of John and I, but they were always there, in the back of my underwear drawer.  They weren’t even folded nicely.

Using Marie’s guidelines, I need to let them go.  It is part of my past and I have moved far beyond that girl that was messing around with John. Why am I keeping them?  I lost touch with John, mostly on purpose; our friendship wasn’t one to bring into a marriage, as we never officially settled our past – if there even was something to settle – I never quite knew where “we” stood.  I know where he lives, I know what he does for a living, and I know he has a serious girlfriend, and in all honestly, that’s all I want to know.  As much as I’d love to meet up with him in a coffee shop and catch up on the last decade, I prefer him in the past. I don’t know the man he is now, as he doesn’t know the woman I am (….or was, I don’t believe he ever fully understood me back then).

But this stupid intimate wear is the last link I have to this deeply rooted amorous friendship.  That’s what Marie made me realize.  Perhaps that’s why I subconsciously never parted with it.

“By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past.  If you just stow these things away in a drawer or cardboard box, before you realize it, you past will become a weight that holds you back and keeps you from living in the here and now.  To put your things in order means to put your past in order, too.  It’s like resetting your life and settling your accounts so that you can take the next step forward.” (Marie Kondo)

One thing is for sure: I have to get rid of the pajamas.  They were for him, which brings a different connotation to it.  Marie constantly asks in her book, “Does it bring you joy?”

It did.  But now….not so much.  Regret.  Uncertainty.  Vagueness.  And they’re a size too big for my frame.  Definitely not joy.

The nightgown still fits me perfectly and it’s beautiful, I feel so sexy in it!  I will keep it.  While John is nothing but a memory now, all that remains is an alluring piece of fabric.  I am keeping it because I feel joy, it makes me feel good, not because it’s connected to John. I have another piece that was given to me; the way it makes me feel trumps the giver.

The purging and organizing continues.  Here’s to moving forward into the future the Lord has set out for me.  I am ready.  More than ready.

All that’s left is a band of gold

Last time I visited my childhood home, my mom set out several jewelry pieces from my grandmother she wanted me to have.  A simple gold wedding band was among them.  It appeared slightly weathered, but it fit my finger as though it was custom made for me.  There was an inscription inside: “RE to GA Dec 29 – 1910.”  I knew right away who it belonged to: RE was my great-grandfather, GA was my great-grandmother.

They were married on a Thursday, like me.  I don’t know how they met or what their relationship story was.  I have pictures of them with beautiful smiling faces, they look so happy together.  I have pictures of her with the ring.  It’s hard to make out, but I can see it.  This union produced one of my all-time favorite people: my grandmother.

If only that ring could speak!

I’m sure it’d tell me of the giddiness of January 1911, every time she glanced at her left hand: I’m married!  Women didn’t have many rights back then, marriage was a step-up for her.  Despite the typically scripted quiet and obedient wife of the time, my great-grandmother was kind, sweet, and quite the firecracker.  She was fierce as much as she was loving.

I wonder if the ring stayed on her finger during her pregnancies, or if the swelling became too much and it was left in the drawer.  I wonder too, what the ring would say to the arguments the neighbors undoubtedly heard: my great-grandfather was a drunk, especially during Prohibition (our family never was one for timing….).  When he was sober, he was a quiet, kind man.  When he was drunk, he would chase my great-grandmother around the kitchen table with a butcher knife, transforming into a monster.  I bet that ring felt awfully heavy in those moments.

It was common in such events, when he was drunk and violent, that my great-grandmother would lock herself and the three girls in the bedroom until he passed out.  Then they would board a streetcar and go to her mother’s house, even in the dead of a cold Detroit winter night.  I wonder if she absentmindedly fidgeted with the ring, as she stared off into space on the streetcar; fighting tears, trying to be strong for her girls, and figuring out her next move.  I wonder if she took off the ring for a time, carefully considering if she’d put it on again.

Nearly 17 years after the band of gold was placed on her left ring finger, she filed for divorce and it was granted.  She was kicked out of her church because of the divorce.  My great-grandmother took things into her own hands by working the assembly line at Dodge to provide for her daughters, despite the small alimony check; she was a welder.  The family lived with her widowed mother.

She had a handy man come to the house to do some odd jobs; they fell in love and married.  This man (my great-stepgrandfather!) was a WWI veteran and beautiful soul who was always smiling.  They stayed happily together until she died in the early 1960’s.

I wonder where the ring spent all those years.

And now it has come me.  I wear it on  my right hand.  It’s a perfect everyday ring, as I don’t have to worry about losing heirloom diamonds at work.  It’s sturdy, and in the quiet moments of work I find myself staring at the inscription.

The three girls from this marriage all died old women.  Their children are senior citizens.  These people are lost to time, only existing in stories and the random documents I’m able to unearth.

And all that remains is this ring of gold, to mark a family united and torn apart. It is a link of my ancestral past, which will always be near and dear to me.