Thursday, June 28, 2007

Room for Clutter

"Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life... perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground." -Anne Lamott, "bird by bird"

These words by author, Anne Lamott, are ringing in my ears tonight like the gong of my toddler's wooden hammer against my pots and pans.

Perfectionism. It has been a visitor in my home for a while now. Like an unwanted neighbor’s child who rings your doorbell incessantly after hours looking for a playmate (not that this has ever happened to me personally, uh, except for maybe last summer). You really do NOT want to let them in, but the ringing is so loud and why, who wants to be rude and neglect their call to love their neighbors?

Who knows when it started or where it started. But it is a force that has been steering me for as long as I can remember now. Of course I never call it by it's true name. I call it things like, "being tidy" or "looking my best" or even "taking care of business". But those are probably just cover-ups for this sturdy and keen skeleton in my closet.

I am getting deep here, and I apologize for those of you who were looking forward to photos of our family frolicking in the heart of a rose garden! On the bright side, I can tell you that in addition to rattling my soul to it's deepest depths, Lamott’s words on perfectionism have also encouraged me to rearrange my bedroom furniture again (uh, I mean, change my perspective, about CLUTTER that is!).

So here we go…

Instead of needing my kitchen sink to sparkle and smile affectionately back at me before I go to bed at night, I will instead leave a plate or two siting in there to camp out for the night. Perhaps they will thank me in the morning.

And instead of wanting my front yard to look like an Oprah-inspired make-over, I will be content with the two beautiful, healthy and well-watered flower pots on my steps (If they survive the constant plucking of their petals by my two older children!).

And instead of wanting every human being on the face of this earth (and perhaps creatures and various life-forms on other planets too if they really do exist) to like me, really, really like me, I will instead be enlightened by the idea that not EVERYONE enjoys my company.

What can I say, I am a work in progress. Call it New Year's Day in my house because I can feel a resolution coming on. If Fergie can spell “G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S”, then I am indeed capable of lightening up a bit.

Okay, say it with me, “I will allow more clutter , less tidiness and more room for living life (instead of just trying to organize and sweep it to death!)” Okay, again. And one more time.

After all, who wants to be "cramped" and "insane" their whole life? Not me.


Mama Sarita said...

Yeah that's it....I have embraced a zen mama state of embracing the clutter (cough, cough). I do struggle with perfectionism in other areas of my life. I think I could struggle with neatness a bit more though! Although I really do feel twitchy about my kitchen and can NOT handle waking up to dishes in the sink.

I will say there is an element of living in the moment....a home that is lived in. The things of life evidenced around the house.

I love reading your introspective thoughts.

Amanda said...

this post was so what i needed to hear (and probably will need to hear again and again) thanks for sharing your wisdom. we'll miss you!