Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One of My Favourite Things to do

Is purging.

No not food. Although I have had times that I have really wanted to do that - you know, after a binge. What I am referring to is getting rid of all of the unnecessary junk you have lying around in your closet taking up space for no apparent reason.

I LOVE to purge.

I LOVE to make room.

I LOVE to create space.

And not just to fill it. This year I actually considered getting rid of some of my Christmas presents before I even put them away. I sound horrible I know. Here's the thing: my mama is a giver. A giver of things. She loves through giving tangible gifts. For years I loved this, I'd be lying if I said there aren't times that I still love this. But for the most part these days, unless the gift literally peaks my senses (gives warmth or softness, smells really good, tastes good - this one's up for debate these days, can be listened to or watched) I don't enjoy it that much. I realize that really anything can be enjoyed by our senses to some degree or another, but what I no longer care much for are things that don't specifically relate to me.

Boy I sound very ungrateful and selfish, but it's how I feel.

Today as I was sifting through our clothes closet and dressers I was ashamed to have built up a gigantic pile (actually two piles) of clothes. Clothes that didn't have stains in them, or holes. In fact many of the clothes were barely worn.

I generally go through out closet every six months or so and each time I come out with at least one bag of clothes for charity. I have never really been struck by this at all, at least not like I was today.

You see, I'm the kind of person who doesn't get too attached to stuff. Unless the item has deep sentimental value I could chuck it any day of the week, no matter the monetary value. And usually if an item carries some sort of sentimental value to me it is more times than not worthless in the realm of dollar values.

Getting back to the clothes. When I realized that I was being brutally honest with myself while parting with the pants I wouldn't be fitting back into in the next 2 months - or at least if I could, I knew I wouldn't likely choose to wear them. (Even though I bought them last boxing day and they have only seen day light maybe two or three times.) I was saddened by how wasteful I am. How easy it is for me to spend money on clothes and anything really, and not use it. I know that this is an age old lesson but for some reason today it got to me.

Hmmmm... now I'm thinking how this lesson could translate into a possible adventure of sorts. I know, I know, some of you are probably thinking 'Go to Goodwill for the next year and don't allow yourself to shop in a mall or regular store'. To which the pleading me would respond with 'I always get deals - ALWAYS!! I never pay full price! Leave me alone!'

Oh dear, I don't know...

Ok so another thought on purging.

The other night I had a meltdown in front of Wally. This definitely doesn't justify a news flash - it's been a fairly regular occurrence in our marriage through the years. This one was not unlike the others. It was related to over eating, my guilt, shame and physically ill feelings at that point in the evening. The funny part was that I wanted to fix it by throwing away all of the 'junk' in our apartment (I don't mean food either). The sight of the unwrapped stuff under the tree annoyed me, the pile of disheveled papers on the filing cabinet overwhelmed me, and the yet to be eaten mounds of chocolate scared me. My solution that night was throw it all away, just get rid of it.

It's odd though. After I got the third box of the same chocolates within a week from yet another adoring relative, rather than sticking them in the freezer or merely giving them to someone else that may like them, I felt obligated, since they were given to me, to eat them so I downed the whole box in one sitting until they were all gone and felt even worse for wear. All week I've been eating my Christmas chocolate with one thing in mind 'Gotta get rid of this stuff ASAP so I can start over'.

Sounds like a real gift eh?

By no means am I blaming the givers of these fine gifts but pointing out how many gifts can become burdens. Though I speak with lust so often about yummy foods (especially those of the sugary persuasion). Inside I am torn. Though my taste buds love them, my heart hates them because they truly torment me. People joke so much around the holidays about over eating and indulging and they are so light hearted about it. When I say I've gained ten pounds, I mean I've gained ten pounds. When I say I've eating an entire box of Toffee chocolate candy I mean I've eaten the ENTIRE box - in one sitting no less.

I'm not sure why I struggle so deeply with these issues. I don't know why some people can eat one or two chocolates and can put the rest away, while I obsess about such things all the day long and feel an absolute obligation to devour the evil splendor until it is gone and I can breathe again. I'm sure I could take a psych course and try to figure it out ... actually I already have but couldn't.

This year I want freedom from this. Not in a magical way that melts the now 30 extra pounds from my body and turns me into a bikini model (although I certainly wouldn't be entirely depressed if this happened). What I want is for one to be enough.

I know that during any overwhelming moment in life, it's easiest to bail. To run from it. To separate yourself from it, to throw it away so you don't have to live with it. But I 'm wondering if sometimes purging needs to be a mental activity. Purging old thoughts, old ways of thinking. To make room for new patterns, new beliefs, new ways of living. Maybe sometimes we aren't supposed to get rid of what is our biggest challenge. Maybe we are supposed to learn how to live with it until it isn't our biggest challenge any more.

I wonder ... am I up for this one?

'You can be a house wife now!'

So I just had a most interesting conversation with my boss. Well my barely boss now. The one I worked under while I was doing my 30 hour contract. She phoned a couple of hours ago and asked if she could pop by so that I could fill sign some paperwork. I really have no idea what I scribbled my name on but I did. As she was leaving she asked how my Christmas was, blah, blah, blah and as I was mentioning how I've enjoyed not working, not doing school and just hanging out she asked if my husband was off too. I said 'Yes, until Monday when he starts his job.'

She replied with lit up eyes and a high pitched 'Oh! This means you can be a housewife now ... if you want to.'

I say 'Yeah ... I guess maybe ... someday. I kinda want to work though.'

'But it's nice to know you have that option.' She says.

'Yeah, I guess it is.' Then we said our goodbyes, I got on the elevator in utter disbelief at her initial reaction.

I guess I shouldn't be offended or 'ruffled', especially considering the source (no disrespect intended, but she's human and has 'issues' like everyone else). It really struck me though that her first response wasn't congratulatory but rather assuming.

It's kind of funny because the person I was before I went to school would have openly said ' Actually, you are right! I am so relieved. I have really always wanted to be a house wife and now my dreams can come true!' To be honest when I first got married those were exactly my dreams ... maybe that's why her comment annoyed my so much.

Now I have to say right off that I think being a housewife is an amazing job, hard and often thankless work, running a ship of sorts. I respect any woman who takes this job on and seriously devotes herself to her home. I consider myself a housewife, to a degree, even though I work outside of the home. But I have to say since my recent 70 hour work week experiences I had to give up that job and allow my husband to take over completely, leaving me jobless in the home. And even now returning to that position it won't be the same, as my husband had to step up and take over for several months and now takes some degree of ownership of the duties that need to be done.

I suppose much of the reason I get bothered when people say such things is that it is assumed that the goal of every woman is to stay home to work. I used to think it would be my choice, then I realized that there were gifts and talents within me that could now bloom in that environment. Gifts no more important than that of a housewife but things that for me specifically couldn't be fulfilled (at least not at this particular point in my life) while solely at home.

I realized in the past few years that my aspirations to be at home were predominantly selfish and based in fear. Fear of what I thought I could do and what I thought I couldn't do. Fear of confrontation, fear of failure, fear of the big wide world. After several years of financial struggle and having to provide for Wally and myself I learned that no matter where you are you need to learn and grow. You cannot hide away and still grow. For me staying home would be hiding, at least while I was as immature as I was in life. I have one close friend in particular that is a 'stay at home mom' and I have to laugh when I think of that being her title because she is anything but 'at home'. Sure she doesn't hold a job outside of her family but man, that woman couldn't hide away if she wanted to. She has two wee ones and is constantly one the go with them, traveling, trying new things, going new places, meeting new friends and so involved in her community it tires me.

then there are those like another friend I have who is house bound. Not going outside much, afraid of the outdoors, other people, and so many other things I don't even want to go into. I would've totally turned into that girl. I am so thankful for how life has turned out for Wally and I. I truly feel like I've learned so many lessons I wouldn't have if I'd been a housewife from the beginning.

I won't lie though. It does give me a sense of comfort knowing that my husband can provide for us on his own. It gives me relief from the years when it wasn't enough and I had to work full time too to make sure the bills got paid, the car got fixed and the food was on the table. For the moment I do feel that I've been given the gift of little pressure to work, however that does not mean I want to abandon my passion to work with people in a formal setting. It's interesting that we assume that the preference would always be to not to get involved when given a choice.

After saying all of that I have to add that someday my natural reaction or desire may be to work because it is what I've done for so long. Fear of not working, providing, or fulfilling a career outside of the home may be what I have to overcome to answer a new calling to stay home with my family. Who knows? I aspire to be someone that is open and willing to follow whatever path I feel lead towards and become the woman I have been created to be no matter what fears may try and hold me back.

That my friends, is what can make life such an adventure!