Clearing Out Clutter

Okay – let’s start at the blog ending revelation which is I hold on to stuff –

and by stuff, I mean fabric I envisioned making quilts or curtains from, baby jars to decoupage into cool candle holders, letters from old boyfriends, scraps of paper with partial poems on them, grief, fat clothes, skinny clothes, curling irons and hot rollers from the eighties, ideas of how relationships should work, beliefs on where I should be in  my life, misconceptions on what I should weigh, fear of a punishing god or universe, t-shirts to start a tye-dye business, broken clocks, piggy banks, or vases I vow to fix,  fliers from a show I don’t perform in anymore, henna hair dye I haven’t ever used, pills and otc meds that are expired, emails, my tongue during times when I should actually speak up for myself, glasses from two or three prescriptions ago and various other items or beliefs that could fill a black hole –

out of my fear of being expendable. I don’t want to be tossed aside because I might be broken. Or left in a garbage heap because I am no longer in fashion. Or overlooked because I am not the cutest puppy in the bin. Or accidentally sold in a garage sale mish-mash box labeled junk because no one saw me there. Or even worse – intentionally given away because I was no longer loved or needed.

Yeah, I know – sucks to be me, huh? How do you think it must be for those that live with me? Or truly do love me?

Everyone has their own things that scare them and for some reason, mine is the oh-so-fun combo of fear of abandonment mixed with unworthiness to be loved topped off with a good old fashioned dollop of never-enough. Throw in a splash of survivor guilt and cannot quit until it’s perfect and you have quite the supersized unhappy meal deal from a rat invested hole in the wall that only serves entrees pressure cooked to diamond-like crispness.

Wait. Before you call Oprah to add me to one of her hoarder shows, I am actually a moderate case. I can still walk around my home and my car stays relatively empty of crap (on occasion). The unworthiness helps in this area because it is hard for me to believe it is okay to buy myself that used five dollar pair of pants big enough to hide my ass with the stuck zipper, therefore, I don’t acquire a lot of physical stuff to keep, but usually once I do – it will take years to get rid of it.

Which is where I am today.

Getting rid of it.

I have finally said “Fuck it! I am cramped and tired and need some space.” So, instead of getting rid of my family and friends, or changing my name to Toni Fredericks and moving to Kotzebue, Alaska to start completely over, I have been slowly, in tiny increments, clearing away some clutter from my life.

I have given away clothes I no longer wear because they don’t fit or that I plain didn’t like in the first place. I sold off all of my stacks of fabric that I never got around to making the most perfectly sentimental quit to keep me warm when everyone has left me. I got rid of discount handbags I never use anymore and decorative knick knacks I never displayed. I am tossing out what I think everyone else thinks I should weigh and am working towards my very own happy weight. I have chipped away at the granite around my punishing god and am molding it into a pliably unconditional love of the universe. I have purged emails clogging up my memory. If something upsets me or scares me, I try to vocalize it in the moment instead of holding on to it for ten years and then nearly getting divorced or losing someone I love.

I have a long way to go and many, many more things to purge. I am trying not to look at what I have left to expunge but rejoice in my new found free space. I have allowed myself not one, but two handbag purchases over $100. I bought some new pants that actually fit and flatter the junk in my trunk. I have conversations with the people I love instead of fights. I try to let my emotion naturally flow through me until it has abated without stuffing it deep down like an undercooked turkey. I continue to write, write and write some more about these truths and other revelations I may discover for well or ill because this is just who I am.

Most importantly, I am (hopefully) teaching myself and my children that I can love, be loved and let go – all at the same time.

Will the end result be a zen-garden style home with only a pallet on the floor to sleep and one organic cotton frock that keeps me both warm and cool? I don’t know but I am willing to slip-n-slide, make progress and fall backward and cut myself some slack to find out.

Yippe kay-aye

Phases of menopause?

I’ve read what the clinical stages of menopause are – perimenopausal, premenopausal, menopausal, and post menopausal.  When this happens naturally for a woman varies based upon when she started her first menstrual cycle or based upon when her mother went through it.

For me, it’s unknown.  My mother had her hysterectomy at age 41 due to a rather large benign cyst that overtook her uterus.  They recommended taking everything – ovaries and all, so she did.  She was immediately went through physical menopause as they adjusted her artificial hormone replacement therapy.

No one thought to ask her mother when she went through menopause before she died at the age 82.

I had my hysterectomy last year – less than ten days before my 40th birthday.  Long story behind it, but I also had two other surgeries at the same time to repair some damage from having children.  The doctor recommended that I keep my ovaries and I did.  He assured me that this surgery would not trigger menopause and has run blood work that seems to indicate that my hormone levels are fine.

Then why the hot flashes?  Night sweats?  Super-inhuman mood swings?  Either total insomnia or nearly falling asleep in the restroom stall at work when I get a few moments to myself? And other symptoms that are unexplainable and remind me of being pregnant again?  Severe lower back pain?  Charlie horses in my calves?  Tender breasts?

WTF?!

Clinical stages verified by specific blood work results my ass!  Keeping your ovaries a sure-fire way to avoid early menopause due to a hysterectomy – bite me!

Let’s not forget the rage against the machinations of my own brain.  And the lingering ache from one of my surgeries that does not seem to want to go away.  And the entirely new way I had to learn to pee from the other one.

TMI?  Maybe, but dump all of that in a blender, pour in a dose of children being angry for not taking them out to dinner on a Friday night, a handful or two of happy Christmas versus new air conditioner, drop in some chopped up pieces of whatever the dog has chewed up today and pack in some not-so-random emotional angst until full.  Sprinkle with overflowing laundry, dishes, unscooped poop, and any minor misstep made from throughout the day.  Flip the switch to liquefy and let run from 6 a.m. to about 10 p.m. and if it hasn’t blown itself to bits by then, transfer contents to air tight ziploc bag and hide in the deep freeze until there is a free day to thaw it out and pour down the drain.

Or buy yourself a great handbag on e-bay that you neither need or can afford.

It is my currently preferred form of HRT – Handbag Replacement Therapy.

As for whether or not I’m actually in a phase of menopause – I wonder how many HRTs it will take before I am sure?

ABOMO – Take Two

Forgive me, Universe.  It’s been many months since my last post.  I lost track.  I got scared.  Who was reading you?  Would they say something to me?  What am I writing about?  Why am I writing?  I know, a cardinal sin for a writer to commit – questioning the purpose of words on a page.

So, I began an affair.  I have been putting parts of myself out onto Facebook where I know there are people who love me.  It’s easier in a comfort zone to be consistent about updates and sound-bites for status. There is a limit to characters on what anyone is doing or feeling or saying.  A false freedom amidst conveniently confined posts.

All the while, backlogs of emotions, tirades, deeper meanings, hidden truths, soap-box rants, totally biased opinions and eviseratingly verbose releases have taken their toll on the previous deconstruction of my impenetrable great wall.  The wall has subtly begun a phoenix-like rise among the disconnected pieces of my life.

This is not to say that my life is going badly or that it sucks.  Quite the contrary – there are more wonderful things today than there ever have been:

  • A loving family with two beautiful, healthy and intelligent children who continue to amaze me everyday.
  • A marriage and relationship that continues to withstand the tests of time, monotony, and the daily grind.
  • A new puppy!
  • Enduring, evolving, reconnecting with old and finding new friendships.
  • A career shift and definable boost in opportunity and growth.
  • The most historical Presidential campaign and election many generations have ever seen!  (Yeah!!)

Exciting stuff, right?!  It is and I am truly more grateful than I have ever been.

Do you hear it?

“And yet…”

Can you decipher the buried grumbling?

“But still…”

It’s not much, but it’s there – aching body parts, restless sleep, disproportionate reactions to relatively insignificant incidents, and selective bouts of the dreaded lack-n-worry combination.

“Will there be enough money for Christmas AND the new air conditioner we need for the house?”

“Why is my body doing that, now, after all I’ve done to try and repair it?”

“When will there ever be time to accomplish everything I am supposedly, supposed to to accomplish in one waking day?  Nurturing and caring for the kids, being present with my husband, focusing on work, cleaning the house, walking the dog, spiritual ritual, give/receive love, dance class, swim practice, washing my car, Christmas shopping, balancing the checkbook, homework upkeep, keeping in touch with my friends and family, volunteering, grocery shopping, cooking, eating, participating in the democratic process, sleeping, exercising my body, resuming my theater career, being brutally honest with the universe, updating Facebook, developing the perfect haiku, and writing my ever existent, constantly neglected blog.”

Are there really, truly, honestly humans out there that actually DO all of these things and check off the day as a success without yelling, crying, screaming and/or whining?  Seriously?!  Where the hell are they?  Can they show me a fool-proof way to get it done that doesn’t involve adding one more $^&@ing thing to the schedule?  NO reading books or attending group therapy?!  Forget the cliches, Nike slogans and fear-mongering!  I won’t take drugs, toast away the blues, or hire a nanny/housekeeper/counselor/accountant/gigolo/spiritual adviser/handy man.

Whew!

Dear Santa – How are you?  I hope you have had a great year with the Mrs. and all your elfin companions.  This is Kathleen.  I am 41 years old this year and, by all accounts, have been very good.  I have been honest and worked hard all year for myself and my family.  I even got a promotion at work!  Sometimes, I forget how great my life is and my feelings get hurt.  And then, sometimes, when my feelings are hurt, I am not very nice to those that I love and cherish.  I wish I didn’t do that.  I wish I was happy all of the time and everyone knew it.  So, this year, all I really want for Christmas is to TRULY BELIEVE I am whole, safe and loved. That is all – Wholeness, Safety and Love.  Thanks, Santa – if anyone can get this for me, I know you can.  ;o)  Love, Kathleen

P.S.  If you happen to have a really cool black leather designer handbag that perfectly fits my style and personality, I’ll take that, too…