Cleaning House

Whenever I’m dealing with a difficult stage in my life, I go through five stages of coping: apathy, gift-giving, emotional mania, cleaning & acceptance.

First, there’s apathy, where work or stressful situations are piling up and you just don’t care. You could be facing three assignments due on deadline or planning a holiday party for your family; you just stare blankly as the workload increases. Pretty self-explanatory.

Next, there’s gift-giving. I don’t know if this stage is particular to me or not. But, whenever I feel fuck-awful, I start buying small gifts for other people. My logic is “Well, I feel terrible; I should cheer someone else up!” I tend to buy lots of little presents with a theme or I craft something. I end up pouring so much energy into these presents that whatever work I’m avoiding only increases.

Then, there’s emotional mania. I’m so happy from the surprised looks on other people’s faces (Thank you! Wait, why are you giving me this?) that I soar into giddy highs. Only to crash horribly & hormonally into the deepest canyons. These sunrise/sunset moments are intense & last for a good two days.

The influx of emotions also gives me the impetus to organize, begin & see through to the end of whatever needs dealing with. I might be falling apart, but shit gets done.

After all of that, I reach the cleaning phase, which I can admit to going through right now. I don’t mean just running the vacuum or wiping the counters down. I mean busting out the Pledge wipes, the sponges & Bon Ami, the heavy duty garbage bags. That special time when the fridge gets scrubbed out and every extraneous magazine must go. A massive amount of unclassified extra “stuff” goes the way of the dust bunnies & envelopes used for hasty reminders.

Despite all this frenzy, the true motive underneath all this action is the desire for control. The ability to look around & recognize your own order in each corner. However, I’m hoping that shedding the debris of the former stages in my life will be more positive. That instead of plowing through piles of papers and junk, my aim might be more positive. I want to face my final stage this time with more of a focus on rededicating space & energy in my life instead of merely throwing off what no longer interests me.