Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Theory

I know that I owe several long-ish posts, including, but not limited to: a holiday recap, recent Soph-isms, and pictures, pictures, pictures. (I didn't have any good belly ones of me, and will take one when/if I ever put on makeup again.) But I wanted to break my posting dry spell with a short little post regarding my latest insight on my journey of self-obsessed self-discovery.

I am a neat freak.

Please, please, stop laughing. If you've doubled over in laughter, take a moment to realign yourself before reading on. (Note: For those who have never had the privilege of a) living with me or b)stopping by my house unannounced, I will let you know that my living quarters in reality, whether dormitory of single-family home, have never exactly matched the above statement. I am, in fact, the girl who fell asleep with a bagel in her bunk bed, only to have it fall onto her roommate who was sleeping in the bunk below.)

But upon recent reflection, I have come to realize that I crave order and organization. I discovered this after my recent 10-week clean out my closets/cupboards/attic campaign. The pleasure I took both in creating the organizational system and in reveling in its completed glory were a little shocking, if not a little unhealthy. I charged into the Christmas season with a clean and truly organized house. I have also recently noticed my tendency to organize the minutia around me. Example: While sitting in a meeting, I looked down and noticed that all the assorted candies provided by the presenter had somehow made their way into a symmetrical design. Hmmm. This also happens with assortments of pens, toys or random piles of change. It's as if I can't help myself.

During the holidays, I had houseguests for 16 days. I hosted several parties. My house stayed clean and orderly almost the entire time. My most recent guest left on Sunday. Since then my family and I have been living in relative squalor. So how does that qualify me as a neat freak??

My basic theory is this: Clutter and mess (e.g. the boxes sitting in my living room waiting for me to put my Christmas decorations away) make me frustrated, irritable and depressed. Order and organization energize me. As soon as I let my guard down and the clutter begins to pile up at all, I get discouraged and overwhelmed. I do what any self-respecting person would do and throw in the towel. I sit on the couch eating old Christmas candy and watching that terrible game show "Merv Griffin's Crossword." (The only thing on at 2pm.) And I'm stuck. My lack of inertia to get up and do the dishes and fold the laundry then sneaks its way into other tasks, such as posting to the blog in a timely manner and returning phone calls. Next thing I know, I haven't showered in two days and my toddler is watching Cinderella on a 24-hour loop.

So I've got to find a way to stay on top of the mess and clutter that ordinary life creates AND be quicker to recognize clutter-induced depression when it appears. Which reminds me, I've got to go fold this laundry that's been living in baskets for four days. I'll reappear when the Christmas decorations finally come down. . .


Megan said...

Believe it or not, I completely understand. I'm pretty sure I remember that incident with the bagel - was that senior year? I think Kel would disagree about any neat freakness I could have. Perhaps having a reason to clean, such as company or the new year, is giving you the inertia.

I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures!

kel said...

Neat freaks unite! Chaos makes me crazy. (As if you all didn't already know that). Sarah, I always knew you were a closet "neatie". I've seen you fold your underwear.

kkyle said...

I have to join the club as well. I get irrationally angry at both human and animal beasties who mess up my tiny little apartment (aka, Christa and the dogs wreck my stuff). I understand the inertia as well, but usually find that the anger propels me to action!