Road Blocks

Much like traffic interrupts a lazy Sunday drive processing encounters road blocks. Kondo suggests that during the KonMari process that you do it all in one sitting (see my father’s mantra successful people do it now really fits into a multitude of areas of life). The problem with this is that, well sometimes it’s just not realistic. If you remember my clothes took me 6 hours to finish and let’s be honest two weeks later I still have four bags of clothes to donate that are taking up space on my bedroom floor. 

So I sit here on February 7th and still haven’t finished. In fact I haven’t even finished reading the book. I am trying to catch up and write what this process has been like for me. The powerful changes it has sparked. The challenging questions it has stirred and left mostly unanswered. But as I try to write my blog (which I recognize is half written and now this post will be out of order) about my first day of doing the KonMari Method I  sit here looking at piles of crap. Some small, some large, some well contained in storage tubs and some in a chaotic mass, but all piles of crap nonetheless. Piles of papers, books, toys, pencils, photos, piles and piles of stuff. Stuff that just doesn’t have a home. 

  I can’t focus on telling you what made me cry or how my heart is lighter or how my tolerance for others has decreased. I can’t even share how my self care continues to improve daily. Instead on this SuperBowl Sunday I stare at the empty cabinet that David built to put the liquor in and the 50 bottles of liquors which are still sitting on the floor and all the piles around me. My knee jerk reaction is to take the many piles of crap and put them in one of our storage tubs and put the tub right back in the storage. That seems much easier than dealing with it.

The irony and most difficult part about this process is that I’m doing it alone. David supports this process but he’s not joining in and helping. That’s neither a complaint or a judgement purely an observation and a statement of fact. I told him he didn’t have to and he hasn’t. 

The analogy shouts loud and clear I have to come to terms with the fact that this is my crap (the emotional crap that keeps me running and the literal crap that I see on the wooden floor in our apartment). Some of it is in fact stuff mixed in with David due to our history and the fact that he also collects piles of miscellaneous stuff. But the fact remains it is now clear I have to deal with this crap alone. What a painful fucking realization. This is my road block. The flashing sign that says “Stop! It’s time to deal!”

I’m great at compartmentalization of everything and anything. It’s an amazing and soul sucking skill. I do it literally and figuratively and really always have. 

 When I was in junior high I learned quickly that in order to get free time I had to be neat, clean and orderly. I was a normal eleven year old girl who had better things to do than to clean my room. So when my dad or his then girlfriend instructed me to clean I grabbed plastic grocery bags and bagged everything up that didn’t belong. I packed each white plastic bag nice and tight, tied the top and threw it in my closet. I then cleaned so every inch was spotless.  My room now spotless and my freedom gained while all the while no on ever looked in my cluttered and jam packed closet. My life lesson early on? Appearance of perfection was better than actual perfection. 

At 36 I recognize that I still suffer from this. I am the clean one in my friends and family. My house is always immaculate and tidy.  I am always ready to entertain. However when you look closer you would see the plastic bags of an 11 year-old being stealthily hidden in a closet. Today as I dump another tub out and try to go through it without just hiding it back in an “appropriate” place I can feel my frustration and my overwhelm creep up. 

I am tired of staring at piles of crap. I am tired of being exposed. I want organization. I want cleanliness. What I need is to empty my closet out. I’m struggling doing this alone and that has to be ok. I would suggest if you’re single do it alone. If you are in a relationship doing it together might be more helpful so you understand what is happening with the other. However, don’t miss the opportunity to really go through YOUR bags hidden in your closet. Don’t dump them on your significant other expecting yet another person to clean up your mess. 

I did not succumb to throwing stuff in any container (except for one basket of mainly David’s stuff he can organize later). I saw the road block. Didn’t try to take a short cut and admitted the difficulty in the process to David. Here I am proud to say I successfully put my running shoes up if but for one more day. 

Run JKO Run!

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Discovering a New Method

A few days before Vegas I was prepping for my trip this summer and getting a photo for my new passport at Costco. I had to wait for the photo to be be processed, which honestly is weird to me since all you do is hit print, but alas I walked around as told to. I walked over to the books and started to browse. Back story: one of my sorority sisters had posted something on Facebook about how people who don’t read are less likely to get college degrees etc. I of course challenged that thought process and admitted to not having had read a book in years and I have a Master’s degree. I wasn’t proud of my lack of reading in fact just the opposite. This was only another piece of evidence that I lack in self care and in prioritizing any time for me. So I challenged myself. In 2016, I will read and finish a book a month!

Anyway, I was browsing the book section and I paused and in that moment an older woman, maybe in her late 50s, started talking. This isn’t abnormal for me. I have never understood why people randomly talk to me, they just do. Someone once told me it’s my face. I’m not sure how I should take that but eh whatever I get to have great conversations that most don’t get to (but that could be an entire other blog). This woman asked me, ” Have you ever read that book?” I looked at her perplexed and realized she was talking about the one I had paused in front of, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  She went on to tell me how great the book was and how she had yet to put it into practice but was excited about it. I nodded my head in the appropriate places with my mmhm and really in the appropriate places. She had so much passion it didn’t really matter what she was saying, I was sold. I walked away book in hand, picked up the worst photo ever (for the record when the man taking your photo says, “We have a mirror would you like to use it?” You should probably use it. HA!) and left.

I felt a level of serendipitous motivation to start reading the book. Not so much that I started reading it that night but I did begin the following day, or maybe it was the one after that. Doesn’t matter, what matters is that I started reading. It was an interesting read. So interesting I kept reading. I read on the plane.

I read in the back of the car in Vegas. I read in the hotel room. I read like I’ve never read before. After my powerful choice to battle in Vegas I came home with passion and with a purpose. I continued to read and talk to my husband, David, about the book and exclaimed to him that I wanted to follow the practices that Kondo laid out in her book.  David humors me a lot, one of my favorite parts about him, so of course he was supportive.

I know myself well enough to know that as one of the busiest people I know I often have the best intentions and the sloppiest follow through. I also know that only applies to things that are solely for me. Which literally means that if it’s something that will have a positive impact on my person in some way I will find a reason to not do it. However, if it was for anyone else I would jump on it, immediately. Needless to say I was skeptical on what my follow through would be in this new method that I found to simplify, purify and and energize my life.

We arrived home on Wednesday night exhausted and went back to the grind Thursday. I am pleased to say that Saturday morning I woke up, saw clients and came home wanting to be lazy and instead chose to put this new method, what we will call the KonMari Method, into practice. A practice that I will forever be grateful to. If I could find the woman in Costco and thank her I would. But the words wouldn’t be grand enough to express what our serendipitous meeting led me to do. I would also love to sit with her and ask her, “Why haven’t you put this into practice yet!? What’s holding you back?”

My question to you is what conversations have you had that you overlooked? What pieces of advice have you rejected because you thought you knew better? What method has worked for you in the past? What method do you do that you know isn’t working? What method do you have on your bookshelf, literal or figurative, that you know will work and you just aren’t able to put yourself first long enough to put it into practice?

Here’s to an amazing start to looking at what I’m running from?

Run JKO Run!

Beauty in Disbelief

I have interesting things happen to me often. Not so much because I’m this amazing human with great luck but because I often don’t react like you or the person next to you would. Case in point.

While standing in a Vegas casino bathroom with what would be considered an aunt in law (I don’t know, is that a thing?) I was doing my normal bathroom routine. You know the one where multiple women walk into a bathroom and you awkwardly listen to each other go to the bathroom, someone continuing the conversation and the others trapped in communication while trying to ignore the not so mysterious noises. I’m normally the one who ends up talking, as if my ability to give someone else privacy in such an intimate moment is impossible. Although let’s be honest I’m not alone.

Anyway, we’re talking about who knows what while everyone is doing who knows what and I’m now waiting at the mirror washing my hands and silently judging myself and my Vegas experience in the gold plated mirror. Not like a wow you look like crap judgement but more like, well I don’t know what it was like. Like a sneaky punch to the gut, or maybe like a sneaky pile of dog crap that you step in on the way to a first date, my aunt looks me straight in the eyes and says, “Wow! You are beautiful. I mean seriously, you have the most beautiful face I have ever seen.”

I feel like the normal reaction would have been, “Ah shucks thank you” or “Not as beautiful as you” or my least favorite “No, I’m not!” The fake humility that either screams please give me more compliments or my self-esteem has sank to an all time low and has very little hope rebounding. How did I react you ask? I looked at her. I paused, stared at her as if she was speaking gibberish. I didn’t even respond. It was like I had become mute. She repeated it three times before it sank in and I realized that I wasn’t speaking just smiling, awkwardly smiling.

I looked down at the marble sink and washed my hands and mumbled something. I hope it was thank you but truth be told I don’t actually know. The group of women left the bathroom and she walked behind me with her hand lovingly on my left shoulder. I went on with the night not telling anyone what happened, not even my husband who I share everything with. Instead I began to ruminate.

The rest of the night I pretended like that awkward moment did not happen. I am able to do that. In fact I am trained to do that. Then we took a group photo. I didn’t like it but really pointed out the positives in everyone else and ended the night with a smile.

The following night we took another photo in front of a colorful sign for Beatles Love show and as the group laughed and prepared for the show I looked at my photo and zoomed in. The more I zoomed in the more my heart hurt. I sat in the plush seats and became silent. I flipped through my photos and created a collage of the photos I took over the course of the past few days while on vacation. I stared in disbelief in what the photo said. The photo screamed loud and clear, “The scale is not lying. You are a fat octopus again!” I instantly began to tear up. My husband sat next to me and rubbed my leg, told me I was beautiful and that he loved me. I silently cried and waited for the show to begin.

 That was a pivotal moment for me. The moment I realized I did not believe I was beautiful anymore. That moment I felt like giving up. The moment I looked at photos of me, a woman who makes positive impact in the lives of others, and found humiliating dissatisfaction with where I had allowed my health to arrive. I have been down this path before, https://reflectionsofjamieko.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/running-through-life,I have been up and down and up and down and hit another high. I had stepped on the scale and it read 234.4 (well that’s a lie it hit that a few days later) and like that I was huge and lost.
I struggled making the best of the evening but managed to put on a happy face for all people concerned. However, deep inside I felt like I was dying a miserable death of hopelessness. The kind of death that says FUCK IT let’s eat cake (or in my case a bag of chips). Thankfully there were things happening while on vacation to distract my self-loathing and when the night was over I slept a sleep more important than I would have ever imagined.

When I woke up the next day I had a choice to make. I could suck it up and start again or I could cry in my spilled milk and go to a buffet. Either way I don’t think anyone would fault me. Let’s be honest my husband loves a good buffet. I decided to walk the walk and work on my negative self-talk and my rumination. I put my big girl panties on, my sports bra and workout pants and began to battle. My husband and I went to the Bellagio gym, which for the record was beautiful and we got our sweat on. We walked a total of 43 miles while on vacation for 5 days and worked out in the gym twice. It was the pivotal choice I made to get back on track.

I realized that my weight gain was me running from something. It was time I begin to understand and to truly process. If I wanted to keep the weight off, find my happiness and truly discover what it felt like to feel beauty again it was time I hang up my running shoes for good and stare whatever it is I’m running from straight in the eye so I have a chance to believe once again in the beauty that others see!

Here in lies, Run JKO Run.