caution: my self is under construction

The title of the image is, "A diagram of my internal real estate."  There is a pink frame around a bunch of multi colored squares and rectangles.  The Pink frame is labeled, " Love & Happiness", The light blue square is labeled, "activism", the Yellow square is labeled, "parenting Evie, the Orange square is labeled, "parenting maxine, the mauve square is labeled health, the blue rectangle is labeled, "everything else", the red rectangle is labeled, "relationships" the maroon rectangle is labeled, "learning and introspection', the purple rectangle is labeled, "leisure and pleasure", the green rectangle is labeled, "cooking, cleaning and acts of surivival."  In the center there is a black square labeled "anger Sadness Hurt."  It is framed by a moss green colored frame labeled "selflessness".

The alt text is enabled and should be available by clicking on the image.

I’m in the process of some sort of major internal renovation.  Like any renovation, it is leaving me feeling uncomfortable, inconvenienced, and sometimes pained.

I’m coming to realize that I don’t have a big enough space within myself for everything that I try to be and do.

I’m in a position where more space is just not available.  Now or probably ever.


So I need to declutter–to downsize what I am and what I do.  Because right now, things are kind of a mess inside of me and I’m busting at the seams.  Sometimes, I can’t find parts of me that I need or want.

I’m trying to find a way to internally organize so that I have room for myself.

Anger, Hurt, & Sadness
I’d like to totally turn that black room at the center of my diagram (labeled Anger, Sadness, Hurt) and turn in into recreational space.  Maybe get a trampoline and a fully stocked bar.  But the truth is that I cannot.  I need that space to be set aside for those purposes because if it isn’t, I will end up using other space to hold it.

So I’m giving it a small room.  And I’m strongly encouraging myself to keep it mostly open and to get rid of most of the baggage I’ve got piled up in there.

My most important new rule for my internal organization is not to let that room get so cluttered that I use storage in other rooms for overflow.

Practically speaking, that means I need to keep grudges to a minimum.  Like for Autism Speaks, for instance.  I don’t have room to let personal grudges squat in there.  If someone wrongs me or someone I love?  In most cases, I will endeavor to process it in that room and release it.

In my “relationships” room, I’m adding some space to remember that every person fucks up, that every person has his own baggage, and that there are very few people that are all bad or good.  So forgiveness and understanding will need a good deal more room in there.  Most of the times that I feel wronged personally, over time I come to the conclusion that it was not personal.  It was never about me, it was never malicious,… but the clutter other people can’t contain in their own spaces.

No, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be loving those that maliciously hurt me or people I love.  It means that after my emotions are processed?  They get no space in my house.  Not in that room or any other.

This one is really tough for me.  Because I really do want to do everything.  I want to help everyone.  I want fix everything.  I want to put others before myself every time.

But I cannot.  I’m not that good of a person and I don’t have enough space to be that good without seriously compromising other aspects of my life.  So I need it not to have a ginormous gymnasium size room.  I need some smaller rooms for other important parts of me.

At the same time, I need to give selflessness space because I’d like not to totally suck at being a human.

So in real life, this is going to look like me learning to say, “no” sometimes.  Often even.  It is going to look like me not trying to fix everything for everyone all of the time—which usually ends up backfiring and being entirely unhelpful anyway.  It is going to look like me prioritizing myself and my feelings at times–and learning to do away with the guilt that I sometimes feel for doing so.

My Kids
I’m giving them room within myself.  But they are the exceptions.  They can go anywhere in my house at anytime.  If they need more room, they get it.

Love & Happiness
I’ve never found the right room for love and happiness.  I think that is because they are meant to be strong and thick and solid walls–not a room.  To keep the important parts of myself in and to to keep the things I don’t have space for out.

So that’s my DIY internal improvement project.
I’ve needed to renovate for a very long time.  But there has always been something that I let prevent me from doing so.  But over the past week, thanks to my dear friend Leah from 30 Days of Autism, I’ve figured out that I need to come up with the personal currency to do it.

Now not later.

Because I’ve fallen off the cliff to often.

And because I need my kids to see me saying, “no”, setting personal boundaries, and otherwise respecting myself and what I need.  My telling them that they are entitled to these things themselves is not enough.

I hope that you will like the improvements I am attempting to make.  But mostly, I’m hoping that I like them–that they are practical and livable and enduring.  I’m also hoping not to have to call in professionals but am not above that if this project is too big for me to undertake alone–with the support and love of my friends and family of course.

Whatcha thinkin'?

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