For this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge, I dare venture into territory that is terribly uncharacteristic for your Sea Muse.
(and you know something’s up when the picture is not worth the 1000+ words, long posts here being rare these days)
I began this blog for one reason. It turned into something else, then it took another twist and another, and…just like life itself, evolved over the seasons along with me.
Well, it is time for more evolution.
A new season of life…just as we emerge from winter this week and burst into the spring of a new cycle of living, this blog and its author burst forth into a new chapter. Join me, my friends…
So, here is my wall – and please, if you can identify what the hell this is, I will be greatly indebted:
Granted, this does not look like a wall to the average eye. But to me, it represents one of the things – whatever this thingamajig is – that has separated me from my sanity for nearly 20 years.
You see, last July I divorced my husband for a number of complicated reasons, one of which included a hoarding habit.
Was it THAT bad? No, it wasn’t like crap was piled to the ceilings in the house (although I couldn’t bring myself to stick around another 20 years to find out).
But it was one of many habits that, as the years went by, I learned to live with and justify in my head. Any one destructive habit did not warrant breaking up a family in and of itself.
I was tough, I told myself (because I am). I can live with this, I told myself. I’ve got bad habits, too, I reasoned. Nothing is worth divorcing for, I pleaded with myself (for years).
Good Christian ladies don’t do that, I lied to myself. I can rehabilitate him, I fooled myself into thinking. It’s too scary, I bullied myself into believing.
I helped build the wall that imprisoned me.
In the end, I realized there is no excuse for settling for Bad Behavior.
And there is no excuse for making endless excuses.
I couldn’t control his drinking. I tried, but I couldn’t.
I couldn’t control his harsh demeanor. I tried, but I couldn’t.
I couldn’t control his hoarding. I tried, but I couldn’t.
I couldn’t control his financial irresponsibility. I tried but I couldn’t.
I couldn’t control the walls he put up little by little, until it got to the point that he didn’t want me or the kids going to church and paranoia got out of control. I tried, but I couldn’t.
I tried by being the Proverbs 31 wife, the perfect little housewife all these years.
But somehow I wound up wearing the pants. And that’s not a bad thing, as I was raised to believe by feminist mother who clutched my hand and jutted her chin out and stalked through the women’s lib years with great pride, and sent me to a private all-women’s college to drive the point home. Women can do anything! And I never stopped believing that.
I had so, so much to give…I am bright, beautiful, passionate, creative, talented and well-educated.
Sadly, he didn’t know how to receive these gifts, and all the gifts in the world couldn’t teach a guy like him how to love a girl like me.
I am not bitter: this was not a waste of 20 years by any means, and I have a lot to show for it and learned some of the best – and toughest – lessons in life.
Last month I began The Purge.
Anyone who is divorced knows what I am referring to. This would be the physical process of decluttering one’s living space and reclaiming it as your own, with untold emotional yields in the process.
For me, this has particular emotional power since extricating myself from a relationship with a hoarder. With a hoarder, you are not allowed to get rid of anything “because you might need it some day.”
The hell I received for even thinking of throwing out that magazine that held a recipe somewhere in it that he was “going to get around to clipping out…” Well, you can imagine. And being the obedient, submissive wife, I quickly learned not to mess with his shit. I was basically bullied into forfeiting my minimalist preferences.
Before we married, there was a place for everything in my home, and everything was in its place. I got high off of throwing things out or donating items no longer needed. The house was easy to clean because there was hardly ever anything to pick up or dust under/around. It was easy to care for the things I owned, because I truly cared about them. And I could pack my life into my car, save large furniture items.
I must admit that having four children has challenged my minimalist values. However, over the last month of purging, I am discovering that you can have four kids and still keep a tidy house. No one has complained yet of missing anything.
In fact, the youngest walked into his room after I got done bulldozing it (with a trip to the dump and Goodwill afterwards) and chirped, “Mommy! You found my favorite car!” THAT was the validation I needed that I was within my own right to do what I instinctively knew was right.
Restoring law and order.
Today I conquered two closets; a trunkload went to Goodwill and the trash can is overflowing.
I also went on a spree, finding all kinds of nooks and crannies that had been neglected. Ceiling fans got dusted. It was that kind of day.
The gem of the picture above is one example of all kinds of odds and ends littered around the house and yard that were saved by him because if something broke, it was “handy” to have spare parts around or just the right gizmo that might fit the bill.
He buffaloed me into believing it was worth saving everything because every so often when something broke, by golly, he had JUST the right part to fix it with, and he became the hero of the day, saving us money and time. But over time, no time was saved because the time it took him to dismantle and store something did not pay – and eventually, there was no room to store anything.
Everything got taken apart and I was up to my ears in spare parts that I couldn’t even begin to tell you what they went to or why they were taken apart, wires exposed and stashed under the dresser, under the bed, above the washing machine, behind the ironing board and up to the ceiling in the shed.
So I finally hit my ceiling. One day I found myself at the base of the wall separated from my sanity.
I find myself climbing over the wall, inch by inch – and today I finally reached the top where I could peek over and see the horizon of reclaiming my sanity.
And that gizmo in the picture is headed for a landfill.
It’s been a long, long road. The beginning of the end actually began shortly before I began this blog in July, 2011.
So I owe my faithful readers a loving hug for walking this walk with me, even though you did not know what was going on when I wasn’t in my beach chair. In fact, this was my respite from the madness – my sea-escape from the painful reality I faced when I wasn’t relaxing at the beach.
Thank you, readers, for holding my hand through this long journey.
This sounds like a goodbye – au contraire! It is a new beginning, a new phase of life and the blog as we evolve together.
Just wanted to fill y’all in on what’s what. And this photo challenge – a wall of all themes – seemed a fitting time to unwrap my sarong and get real on this beach.
Thank you, God, for my blog friends helping to hoist me up over the wall. Thanks for giving me the energy and freedom to declutter my life, my home and my mind. Thank You for new beginnings that do not come without challenges – those challenges give us our strength and courage.
Thank You for walls, God.