This past weekend has been chore-filled, and we have had a very productive couple of days. We are like proper grown-ups, driving around in a spanking clean car with a full tank of gas. My office is in good order, all loose papers have been filed, or tossed in the bin. Everything has been dusted, everything has been organized. Both Ben and I bought new clothes, and then stripped our closets bare, making enormous, intimidating piles. There is always that moment, in the organizational process, when you think: why the fuck did I do this to myself? And then you wonder how long you could live amongst the mountains you made. I pushed onward, and got my purge on. And now my closet looks so organized, so clean…and I know in my heart that it will last approximately fifteen to twenty minutes. But, I can’t think about failure now, as I gaze into the neat, color coded closet. This space represents how I’d like to be: ordered, prepared, organized.
By the end of Sunday evening, with the last load of wash shimmying in the spin cycle, I am feeling very happy. I love to go on holiday knowing that dishes are washed, bills are paid, and the check-list has been ticked off. It reminds me a bit of one of the greatest feelings ever–that ‘back to school’ feeling. I love that sense of preparedness, the idea of a fresh start.
When growing up, my mother would take the last week of summer and try to resurrect some semblance of a school-year routine. This meant lying awake in a not-dark room, while other children in the trailer park rode their bikes round and round the never-ending circular street. Not that I would have been out there playing, even when I was a child, I wasn’t a kid.
But still, just knowing that others my age were out gallivanting outdoors, made me not want to be in bed. Not able to sleep I’d daydream about the upcoming school year. In my mind I would piece together my ultimate ‘first day of school outfit, where you could really make a definitive statement about who you wanted to be this year.
Who I was, what I wanted to be, and how I wanted to be perceived was never an easy mix. I liked to imagine that I would be welcomed, accepted, popular; be a part of a group, or be an object of affection for pre-pubescent boys. Lying there in the lit bedroom, anything was possible. The carefully selected outfit hung from the door-knob. New shoes lined up nicely, the school bag filled with crayons, pencils, erasers, blank sheets of paper. Of course, that wouldn’t last long, that level of neatness. Even as a neurotic, tabloid-reading, less-than popular child, I didn’t always do myself a solid, and finish my homework or keep my room clean. The foundation of success is organization, and having the confidence in knowing where everything in your life is. I didn’t really learn that until my thirties. I wanted to be that person, bright and shiny, without fault, without mistakes, but I kept tripping over myself…all the way until my high-school graduation. Still, there was that promise, before the season actually began, when anything was possible, and you would get everything right.