It’s been a month since I started decluttering, cleaning, and organizing my house in earnest. I’ve completed round one of the upstairs. I’m keeping a weekly blog post for the good, the bad, and the emotional. Just so I can remember it all. I know there will be a round two. I’m just not exactly sure when. I think decluttering the downstairs is going to go slower because it’s not just my stuff. I’m going to need more of the Husband’s input.
One of the things I didn’t expect was how much the decluttering would be so emotional and so full of mental landmines. A lot of pictures (and duplicates of pictures) that brought back unhappy memories. I spent a lot of my late 20s and early 30s very lonely and depressed and hiding it (successfully) from everyone—even from myself—a lot of the time. The increased joy in my late 30s and all my 40s is a stark contrast to the unhappy memories I feel when I look at these pictures.
Then were the baby writer mistakes unearthed—scams I fell for, the terrible contracts I signed, the even worse manuscripts I wrote. So many mistakes that happened in my early writing career. I don’t mind the agent rejection slips. They showed I was actually trying. I do mind the books I got from the poetry.com scams. I do mind the books forced on me “for my own good” that weren’t worth the paper they were printed on by people who “mentored” me.
Then there the fantasy accoutrement I collected for my vivid fantasy life that wasn’t just in the online gaming or LARPing. I spent hours dreaming up wish-fulfillment stories. On the good side things, these daydreams were the seeds of some of the stories I’ve written and sold—in a very different form. It hurt to see and remember. It was nostalgic, too. Part of me misses that innocent age. It’s easier to dream up a fantasy life than to work hard to realize my dreams.
It isn’t all bad. All of this mental rediscovery has shown me just how much better my life is now. I’m not lonely. I still have depression and anxiety, but it’s managed. I have a career I’m happy with—even though it is hard work. I keep getting better. Decluttering shows me what I’ve been hiding. Like writing, if I write to get the demons out, my mind feels clear. As I declutter, I have the serenity of knowing that I’ve already dug up the mental and emotional traps of my past and I can be secure in knowing that I’m not going to run into one of them unexpectedly.
Except for the sentimental drawer. I’m not sure when I’m going to be ready for that.