Saturday, October 29, 2016

Letting Go

The Husbeast and I did more Purging Of All The Things today.  Of all the things to sort through and decide what to keep and what to release into the wild, books have to be the hardest for me.  But we're going through our book collection and determining what we absolutely HAVE to keep in hard copy because we just can't be without it in paper form, what is not yet available in e-form, and what we can replace with e-books.  It isn't a happy decision, but we just have too much STUFF in the house, and we need the shelf space.

Some of the books going into that large box to my right have been with me since I was a teenager. They are over 30 years old.  I grew up reading them, escaping into them when the world got too mean for the Fat Kid to handle.  They took me to other worlds and other times.  Those books were a balm to my soul and a spark to my imagination.  Without them, I think, I would have turned into just another average person plodding through life with no idea of the wonders that surround me or the potential that the world holds.

Seeing them go into that box is difficult.  I almost started crying at one point.  But there does come a time when we have to let go of things while keeping the lessons they've taught us and the memories they've given us.  It feels like part of my soul is going away, but it also feels good in a way.  In doing this, we're making room for more memories, more lessons about the world and life and the possibilities therein.

I think that's why occasionally going through and doing a purge of your possessions is a smart idea. We need room to breathe, and to grow. If we're trapped in a cage of our own making, then there's nowhere for us to spread our wings and explore new ideas or new experiences.
I love my books.  I love what I learned from them.  I love the comfort I received from them. Now, now I'm sending them out into the world to teach those lessons and give that comfort to others.  I hope that they find loving homes somewhere and bright eyes to read their words.

Thank you, dear books.  I would say that I will miss you, but you will always be with me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Controlled (?) Chaos

We're in the middle of a cycle of purging at our house.  When we moved here from an apartment, it seemed like our stuff would never fill the space.  Over time it has grown exponentially, and our home is now threatening to burst at the seams.  Thus, as with all logical creatures, we decided to start culling our possessions in order to ease the pressure on the walls of our abode, and on my straining nerves.

I hate feeling cluttered.  I know that there are those of you reading this who are laughing right now because you've seen the state of my personal space over the years, but really, it is true.  It has gotten more true as I have gotten older.  My preference is for clear spaces and room to walk and move around without knocking things over.  I don't hate THINGS, per se, I just want everything to have a place and to BE in that place.  I don't mind that The Husbeast collects Transformers, as long as they are on the shelves that are designated for them when he's not actively using them or showing them to someone.  I don't mind that we have a ton of books (because really...books!) as long as they're on the shelves when they're not actively being read.  Mementos, knick knacks, tchotchkes, whatever you want to call them, they all have a reason for being around and as long as they bring back good memories and don't get so numerous that they become an indistinguishable blur, I'm all for them.

But when it comes to functional spaces like counters, tables, desks, and so on, well...they need to be clear and ready to be used.  It frustrates me to no end that whenever I clean off our coffee table in the living room, it immediately gathers another load of pelf all over it.  I grit my teeth when I walk into the kitchen and can't find enough space on the counter to make a sandwich or prep dinner.  When things are piled so high on the dresser that there's not even a spot for my deodorant, my day begins with a growl of annoyance.

Recently both The Husbeast and I reached our saturation point and agreed that it was time to start clearing the house of some stuff and making sure that everything remaining has a place to "live" other than simply the last place someone set it down.  So I started working one room at a time, beginning with the game room.  It isn't perfect, there's still the game closet and the paint station to reorganize, but for the most part it is one thousand percent better than it was.  I have been moving to other rooms and beginning to work on them. My goal is to have most of it done before we have our big Thanksgiving shindig.

The thing is, I had forgotten how much worse things get when you are in the process of purging.  When everything gets pulled out of a space to be sorted and checked over, the chaos factor rises amazingly fast.  When that happens it can be difficult to keep the end goal in mind and not freak out over the huge mess that used to be your home.  Right now there are pantry items on the kitchen counters and the dining room table, with more to come as I pull everything out of there over the next couple of days and sort through what we have.  Some things will go to the local food bank if they are still within their dates.  Some things will get thrown out if they are unusable.  Some things will go back in, but they will go back into the pantry in an organized manner.  I have containers to put small items in, and chalkboard labels to write contents on then stick on said containers.  And WOE BETIDE the person who goes into that pantry and just throws anything anywhere on the shelves.  I WILL END THEM!!!!


I mean, the entire household will participate in the concentrated effort to keep the pantry neat and organized from here on out.

After that, there's the breakfast nook, the dining room, the kitchen, the living room, and the Fat Lady Room that all need to be done.  And if I'm REALLY on a roll, I hopefully will be able to get the master suite done before Thanksgiving too.  Then...the hall closet.  I'll need boxes for the hats, more stickers to label said boxes, and we'll need to go through our swords and decide what to do with them.  If we keep them, then they need to be displayed somehow.  I don't want them just to be shoved in a closet somewhere.

I would really like to start 2017 with an organized home, an organized mind, and a plan of attack to make it a blowout year for Fat Lady Foods.

I just have to wade through all of the chaos first.  Wish me luck...I'm going in!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Power of Words

We all go through different phases in our lives when it comes to our physical state.  My phases have all revolved around weight (big shock there, right? *LOL*), and I know many others who have had the same sorts of phases.  My current, and final as far as I'm concerned, phase is acceptance. I am who I am, and I have no plans to deliberately attempt to alter my weight.  I am making a concerted effort to eat a more nutritionally balanced diet, and to listen to my body in regards to its wants and needs.  Currently it tends to scold me when I slack on fruits and vegetables, so there has been an increase in those over the past few months.  I have found myself wanting less meat in my diet, which is a bit of a surprise because I've always been a bit of a carnivore-leaning omnivore, but if that's what my body wants, that's fine too. There are other times when my body demands a Milky Way bar, so I eat one and that is completely fine as well.

I know many others who are making their own choices regarding their bodies, as is their right, and some of whom are actively dieting to try and lose weight.  I support their choices, and as they achieve goals they have set for themselves, I cheer for them because they have accomplished something they set out to do. My thoughts on those goals are not relevant to them, so I do not share them, I just share their joy in achieving something they have wanted to achieve.  If they ASK for my thoughts, I will share, but until then, it is not my place.

It can be difficult at times to be a bystander, though.  It isn't difficult so much because I disagree with the basic philosophies behind their choices. I have friends whose political philosophies are 180-degrees from my own and we get along just fine.  It is difficult because there is a pattern of behavior that I have seen occur in those who are losing weight, that has happened to me when I was temporarily successful in losing weight, that can cause me to clench my teeth and force my hands away from the keyboard until I get myself back under control.  It is a completely understandable phase, and one that is really quite inevitable and is NEVER meant to cause bad feelings or hurt to anyone else but is, instead, fueled completely and totally by enthusiasm and the desire to share a feeling of joy that they are experiencing and have not felt in a long time...if ever.

This enthusiasm for the choices that they are making tends to lead to inadvertent shaming of others choices in a myriad of ways. Usually it is through word choices.  The most common that I have seen is the assignment of moral judgment to food items.  This food is "good".  That food is "bad".   Eating this food requires that the person in question work out extra tonight, carrying the implication that their workout is their punishment for eating said food.  Walking past this food in the break room multiple times in a day makes this person virtuous in their restraint, carrying the accidental implication that those who did NOT walk past and who "indulged" are not as virtuous.

This can also lead to further discussion of such things as "the obesity problem".  That phrase makes me want to reach out and do violent things because without meaning to do so, the person who says it suddenly turns me, my body, and the body of everyone who looks like me, into a problem.  We're suddenly bad, something to be avoided or changed.  We become people who need to have a war waged against them.  Of course, the majority of people who use the phrase "the war on obesity" do not intend to imply that obese people need to be eradicated or destroyed, they simply mean that obese people's FAT needs to be eradicated, but stop and think about that for a moment.  REALLY think about it.  My fat is a part of me, it isn't some fat suit that I put on while the cameras are rolling and then take off again.  I'm not a thin person trying to get out.  I am me, fat and all.  So when someone says that they want to wage war against my fat, they are saying that they want to wage war against me.  When someone says that obesity is an epidemic that needs to be eradicated, they are saying that they want to eradicate me.  When someone says that the obesity problem needs to be eliminated, they want to eliminate me. They may not realize that is what they're saying, but there it is, black and white, plain as day to the person who has the joy of being the problem to be eradicated.

Words have power.  They can hurt and they can heal.  They can support or they can destroy.  We hear all of the time that we are all too focused on political correctness, and that people need to toughen up and not take everything so personally.  That isn't the point at all. The point is that we are growing up as a species, and humanity is finally starting to realize that maybe...just maybe...we should be more aware of these things.  We're going through the growing pains of it all, and pain is the correct word, because I know it is an ache in my heart when I realize that I have accidentally said something that has caused another person even a moment of injury.

Very few people enjoy truly causing others emotional injury.  I believe that most of the time if we had the power to take any words back that caused harm, we would do so in a moment, without hesitation.  So I'm suggesting that since this is not possible, we instead take those moments and use them to consider our words BEFORE we throw them out into the universe.  It doesn't take long to just pause and evaluate how the words we're about to say or type or write might be taken by people with viewpoints that are different than our own.  Not to mention that this kind of exercise helps us open our own minds up to new views and ideas, and expanding points of view are rarely bad things, really.

So please, enjoy achieving your goals, and cheer along with others who are doing so, but be aware of how you are stating your support and enthusiasm.  What you mean as a positive may read very differently to others.  Just consider that, and even consider asking someone you know who has a different point of view "How does this read to you?".  You may be surprised at how what you meant to say differs from what others heard.  Being aware of that is a good thing, because it lets you decide if you want to leave it that way or if you want to make changes.

Because, again, words...they have power.