My lilac bush is blooming outside my window.
That’s not supposed to happen in Pittsburgh in late November.
Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe I planted it too close to the house. Maybe it’s just getting older and is more sensitive to the warmer temperatures. Maybe it’s a combination of factors.
I stop every morning to drink my tea and look at the flowers, wondering how long it will take for the freezing weather to take them away. But it hasn’t and they are slowly turning brown, preparing to start over again.
When I turn away from the window, I see my cluttered kingdom from another angle. And I know that what I see and accept as normal from one side looks even worse from the other. It’s rough and jagged and actually not so different from the other side but because I am so accustomed to looking at it, I really don’t see it because I don’t want to see it.
I’ve been through moments like this before. I’m hardworking and smart enough to fix the problem but I get stuck. Maybe I’m still adjusting to my new work schedule. Maybe I’m tired from being on my feet all day. Maybe family obligations keep me away from my projects. Maybe it’s a combination of all these factors.
Or maybe, just maybe, I’m still not ready to let go and instead fight to control what is bigger than me. I continue to try and create order out of chaos.
Everyone wants to help but I need to do it myself. I struggle for the words to explain it. My therapist says that because I was abused pre-verbally, there are no words only feelings and that I have to learn to connect them together. It’s hard because the things I do remember, like my mother forgetting to pick me up at school everyday or nearly killing us all driving drunk or trying to kill herself in front of us are too painful and for me…..there are no words, these events were never discussed.
I could never understand my mother and I tried to help her. I do remember that she always seemed most upset about not having “things”. She didn’t have enough money. She didn’t have the nicest house or furnishings. She didn’t have a nice car. She didn’t have grateful and appreciative children. And more than anything else, she never had enough beer to drink away her frustration and disappointment.
Is that the message that she imprinted on me? That happiness, true happiness is measured by things.
Is the clutter a huge scab that I refuse to let heal because I’m trying to fix the past? Are my things really her things?
My clutter brings me comfort, that I know. But I have created a castle with a huge moat of clutter that keeps people out and allows me to keep everything inside, things that are hard to share.
Nonetheless, I am here and I am loved by my family and friends just the way I am. I do not wish to dwell on the past but want to understand it and move on. To do that, I have to dig my way out, whether it’s one piece at a time or all at once. I just have to do something.