Well they say that moving house is on the top 5 most stressful things you can do in life but ah … yeah, I’m finding moving to be deeply stressful, anxiety-filled and so on. A good friend of mine called Bullshit on my blog of late, and he’s right. I’m only talking surface feelings and whilst they are true and honest, they’re not all of it. Not by a long shot. I got a lot going on. And I still feel quite self conscious  about expressing that all to the fullness that I used to do.
So moving house is stressful. It’s a hoarder’s nightmare really. And now the truth about why I was mainlining so many episodes of those shows is out! I promised myself after the last time I moved house, which was so deeply traumatic and stressful that I haven’t been able to even contemplate it til now, that I would slowly go through all my possessions and declutter. So that next time I moved, it would be less stressful. And for periods of time, I did do that. But I had the luxury of space and as long as I couldn’t see things cause they were packed away, I was happy.
But now… now I am moving again and I have to look at things. And I am upset as to why I have so much stuff; why I need to hold onto so much stuff; and why I can’t seem to just part with it now. The other thing is, when you’re living in a place, you have the luxury of not having to deal with something if you don’t want to. You can just put it away for later. And later, you know, you’ll look at it and deal with it. When you move, that “later” becomes “right now”, whether you like it or not.
I imagine this experience is on some spectrum of what it would be like to go into a diagnosed hoarder’s house – the degree of hoarding such that they sleep on the floor by the front door because they physically cannot get further inside their house due to “stuff” – and telling them they have to move. Now! How I feel seems somewhat akin to the anxiety they experienced at having to face up to what is in their home and make decisions about what they can trash, donate or giveaway. But I’m a typical Pisces – always swimming in opposite directions at the same time. I want to both keep things and be ruthless and throw it all away and have clear spaces, no clutter. And so, my “later” is “now”. And if I had less stuff, this moving would be less prolonged.
Two examples of stressful situations for me this weekend.
1. An example of the “later is now”.
We’re packing up some stuff on Saturday and as we’re both taking things to my car, C asks “so who gave you this baking icing set?” And it was like I’d be hit in the face with a baseball bat. “What?” I ask and he says, “they paid $120 for it?” Second hit to the face with the baseball bat.
And so my past caught up with me briefly. Two birthdays ago, an exboyfriend had gifted this to me. He was ex at the time, and I really don’t know why he came to my party. And he bought me this gift. The idea of a gift itself was loaded because for the entire time I’d been seeing this guy, he’d presented himself (because he genuinely saw himself this way) as something other than he really was. And as one example, he saw himself as this great gift giver but what he actually was was someone who talked about giving great gifts, or thinking of great gifts he was about to buy me, but never ever bought me anything. For Christmas, just before my birthday, he’d given me a family block of chocolate – fruit and nut, I believe, to which I am allergic. And before that, he’d felt so bad about the giant mobile phone bills I racked up whilst I was travelling and calling him (I can’t remember whether we were calling each other as much but it was local rates for him and roaming for me?) that he was *going to buy me this great backpack” he’d seen in a hiking store. Not really the kind of gift I’d imagine people would think to give me (I have a backpack for hiking btw for when I backpacked in Europe, 10 years ago when the idea sounded more fun than now). But the thing is, he never ever bought it for me. Just. Didn’t.
And the relationship was a bad one – meh. It was my rebound from the big Ex. And whatever. And another example of me learning stuff. Booooring. The point is, after the whole thing, by the time it was my birthday, he was trying to be “friends” because he thought we would be better that way. (Turned out, I didn’t need the kind of friendship he was offering. You live and learn.) And the gift he chose to buy me was this. At the time, I was just so stunned – it so did not seem like the kind of gift you buy for me, nor the kind of gift I’d want. He’d seen me do a bunch of baking for I think it was Wastelands II for a book launch but that was because self catering is cheaper. I do like to bake, that’s true. But … I dunno, it’s just not something I see myself doing. I need a lot of free time to be in the mood for cooking at all.
So what had I done with this gift? I hate returning gifts. So I’d left the envelope with the receipt inside and the note on the front, with the gift and put the whole thing on the top shelf of my pantry “for later”. And later, it seemed, was Saturday, when C cleaned out my pantry and found it. And what did he do? He opened the envelope and the box. And then, at my response to this item being put in front of my face asked, “Can I have it then? I’ll totally use it!”
To which, to be fair, is the funniest thing ever. Really, it’s really really funny. It’s the perfect gift to have gotten my next (and last) boyfriend. And actually, in that case, was the right gift to get me. Since I already had the gift that is C.
So I had that kind of mixed set of emotions to process. One example of why going through your stuff is stressful.
2. Unfinished projects; unmet goals, short attention span; things that turned out to be less perfect than envisioned.
There’s no real way to say this without sounding obnoxious but … I pretty much always feel like I am underachieving. And to have to sort through my study and craft, well it makes me feel like shit. Talking this through with C and friends this morning, I know I can list the number of things that I *have* achieved this year. But, going through my to read piles – there are several, with different levels of meaning, and then need to be moved together so as not to get lost, kinda stressed me out. Looking at the number of books I wished I had already read, and because there are so many books I also still want to read. And looking at the different kinds of books – NF, novels, collections, anthologies, graphic novels. It seriously stressed me out.
And further to that, I started to try to honestly sort through my craft projects and cull things that I genuinely will not do or complete. In an effort to put the spending guilt thing aside, kits and so on that I bought when I was on that particularly kick, and which I am no longer, I am putting up on ebay to sell. I was able to cull a few out that way, with minimum stress. It’s a beginning. There was more stress looking at the number of works in progress (WIPs they call them). And yes I know, you can’t die as long as you have some WIPs around and all that, but I seriously finish very few of the things I start. And I know it’s meant to be fun and all that and there’s not supposed to be strict rules or guidelines to down time and recreation time and I must be a process and not a product crafter. But still. It stressed me out. So many cross stitches, for example, which I could not part with, mean to finish, even though I haven’t worked on one in several years. So much cheap acrylic yarn in my stash that I may never use.
And so much time already accounted for – I think that’s partly it. Looking at how many years worth of recreational time I have already reserved with books to read, knitting, sewing and stitching. It more than stressed me out. It seems silly to write it down. But there you are.
And this? This is the small stuff. I got some bigger than small stuff too going on. July will be better, I know it.
 Self conscious may or may not be the right word for it but I’ll go with that for now.
Tags: crafting, life, what i would like to read