During week one I turned grumpy and I suspect it was due to the fact that I was going to need to make movement in a way that I knew would nudge me to think of stuff I’ve hoarded physically and/or emotionally. I had planned to do the smaller closets with all the coats and towels. However, what I wound up doing was finish painting the trim in the house because in November of 2010 we did some renovations to our home and the trim was the very last of that long overdue list of things to complete and these “to do items” had been gnawing at me since and also because once I chose to clean out the big closet with all the old college papers and stuff that I had accumulated throughout the years I began to feel anxious. What it all boiled down to: I was avoiding.
In week two I mustered up enough energy to tackle the closet. I wound up having two great big bins and two rather large boxes full of old college papers and notebooks. I held on to every single piece of paper through bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I found the task to be tedious and daunting. It was an all day project and by day’s end I was exhausted and relieved. I had done plenty of reflection in my life to know that the reason I held on to all those papers was because I had a profound incident occur when I was a fifth grader. Ms. Elder, who was my teacher at the time, had told me that college was “not a place for young ladies like [me].” This response followed a question I had for her which was, “What is college?” At the time I was growing up in a ghetto in southern California and she was working in it so perhaps it was the only response she knew to give. It was the height of the gang wars and not a lot of hope was had in the community as drugging and thieving were the norm. In retrospect, I see why she said what she said but I held onto it for so long (in a negative way). She was the first person I thought of the first time I ever stepped foot on a college campus and for many years her words were part of my impetus to “get out.” After the ridding of the bins and boxes, I thank her.
In week three and week four, I’ve made a complete spring cleaning check list and have chipped away at it. Now granted I’ve hired someone (a young mother with a baby and a need for diaper money) to help with some of it and it seems like movement in a good way is happening. I’m able to sit content with the way our home looks and knowing that when I open my closets I will no longer find myself in a rush to close them. More importantly my body does not get heated when I think of Ms. Elder. I’ve forgiven her and myself. I think it was time, twenty-six years of holding onto all of that energy was long.
Since the cleaning out of things it my world seems a bit less stuffy. My body feels lighter. My energy is greater and my outlook is positive. While it has not been a complete transformation of any kind, it has certainly challenged me to look at some things that needed not linger any longer. My heart doesn’t feel so compressed and my space is clean!