Sunday, August 12, 2012

Setting My Intention

There is something about declaring my intention publicly that makes me *think* I will be more likely to follow through.  I don't know if that's true.  I started what I meant to be my main blog over a year ago, but I sure haven't done much with it.  I think that is because it is an absolutely authentic reflection of where I am in my journey; it doesn't just display where I want to be.

It is, though, kind of like buying a gym membership to make myself exercise.  I am starting a blog of the things I fling (declutter) in order to make myself do it.  That's only part of the reason: I also want to tell me story.  Yesterday I tried to get rid of a whole bunch of books, including children's books in French, and I got so bogged down in my feelings about:
  • leaving the classroom a few years ago (I taught French)
  • dropping the ball on raising my kids bilingual (the eldest was bilingual until he was 3, then English shot ahead, and I got tired)
  • the very little attention French gets from me anymore (or the very little French attention I give myself?)
  • millions of teaching ideas that pop up as I look at the pages but I don't know when to create them, since I've got a day job that I like (that does not involve French)
In other words:
  • fear of failure
  • perfectionism
  • guilt
  • scarcity mentality
  • and so on
If your first thought is "Get over it and get rid of your clutter," you may want to go on to another blog.  Unless, of course, your second thought is "I want to examine why I am judging this woman for her attachment to objects," or perhaps, "This could be fascinating, like Hoarders."  I have never watched Hoarders, by the way, because I am afraid I will relate too much to the people on it.  I admit it might make me feel better, in an "at least I'm not that bad" sort of way, but I just don't want to go there.

The blog gets its name from an evening in 2003 when my husband had moved already, and I was getting ready to move right behind him, with the three-year-old and the newborn.  The movers were coming the next day and I was not done packing.  I was sleep-deprived, had postpartum depression and anxiety, and found myself completely unable to make decisions.  I asked a friend (my son's daycare provider at the time) to help me, and for hours she stayed with me and held up objects, saying for each one, "Keep it or chuck it?"  I would try to reason whether I needed/wanted/loved it, or I would tell its story, and she would gently interrupt me and say, "Keep or chuck?"  It was painful, but the persistence is what I needed (and why I broke down and called her in the first place).

I usually use the FlyLady term "fling" when I'm getting rid of things.  FlyLady's question is, "Does it bless this house?"  When I am helping my kids clean up, I say, "Keep or fling?"  But something about the urgency of my current flinging decisions (one, to fling freely, and two, to do so in a blog) brings me back to the immediacy of my decision-making that night.  Keep or chuck.  "Chuck" has a sense of power and finality.

That said, even my helper of that night, Michelle (of ReMiks Jewelry), might agree that this wouldn't be much of a blog if each entry had only a list of items marked "kept" or "chucked."  My intention is to fling at least one item every day, and tell the story that needs telling.


  1. Loving your first post Em! Your honesty and vulnerability woven throughout the amuse that comes from an everyday challenge like this is great!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement. If I was able to get any amusement to shine through, it was only because I waited a whole day from the French book pile attempt before I decided to write about it. I was looking at it in "kindsight."

  3. Great first post Em. I'm also dealing with the keep/chuck issue. It's no fun--that's for sure. The only thing that keeps me going is the feeling that my life is stagnating---that there is no room for the new opportunities to come in. Every trip to the Goodwill brings me a breath of fresh possibility air. That's why I'm on my way there now.

  4. Thanks, Anonymous. I love that image of the "breath of fresh possibility air." We are making space for something better.

  5. It would be good to reconnect.