As i was cleaning and reorganizing my living space this morning, a memory came to me. It was a gentle reminder that i have always been meticulous, some would call it anal. If it needs to be labelled, i would prefer to call it attentive to detail. The memory was of living in our big, old turn of the century house on Atlin Avenue in Prince Rupert.
Being the eldest, probably to the chagrin of my three years younger sister, i got the largest bedroom. And to further exasperate her, i had to walk through her bedroom to get to mine. There was absolutely no reason she would need to go into my room (unless invited). So i don’t know how that stack of 45’s (an ancient term for the smaller size of records that spun at 45 revolutions per minute) got accidentally knocked over and swept under my dresser.
My room was larger then Mom and Dad’s on the main floor. It took up nearly two-thirds of the top floor. i can exactly visualize it in my mind. The main portion of the bedroom is larger then my living space here on Faithful Street. There was a very large alcove, a walk-in closet with window, two large windows and ,to a child’s great delight, a wonderful attic that you could crawl through behind the walls of my sister’s room. Her room not only had a large attic space but two extra large attics, one of which was her playroom and the other, the length of my bedroom and about half as wide was where the parents’ kept their treasures and memories. It was in that attic where i would look through Mom’s photo albums and i even found and read some of her diaries. (It seems snooping was popular on the top floor of 1919 Atlin Avenue.)
I could go into much more detail. I won’t. As you can read, even the description is precise. My room would be spotless. i would rearrange all the furniture on a fairly regular basis, like every week or two. My parents allowed me to paint my room and my wicker furniture. For awhile my room was mauve and the furniture was purple. i would constantly sort through and purge my belongings, either giving them away or selling them to my sister. With her money, i would most often go out and buy my brother and sister little gifts. i would categorize and sort books, records, treasures, everything. This activity, for me, was and still is, very comforting. Yes, it certainly does smack of a control issue. It was a way that i could, and still can, feel safe in my environment.
Even though, i had a few friends, i spent much time alone. I read, cleaned and spent time in my room with music and books, writing and thinking and playing guitar. It seems that from a very young age ,i had found a way to self-soothe. As far as i can remember, i have been a very sensitive person. Too much stimulus either outer or inner could and, occasionally still does, precipitate much anxiety. When i enter places that are crowded, disorganized and cluttered, i feel a rising sense of panic. If i am able and it is okay, i will release that tension by offering to clean or organize.
In 1997 an article, i wrote was published in a “green” parenting magazine called “Natural Life Magazine”. i went searching for it just to illustrate how i have attempted to accept a degree of messiness. Have i succeeded? Not really? Are my children, as adults, now self-directed in their own tidiness? Well, it’s all a matter of degree. If anything, i believe they are accepting of how clean, or not, their living space is.
Perhaps, the greatest difference is i try to use my tool of tidiness in a positive way and not as a anxious response. Note the chosen word, “try”. I also try not to demean myself for when i am unable to be impeccably organized and tidy. This being, me, with conditions and responses is both perfect as is and still a work of art in process.
Anyway, for a laugh here is what the article said.:
The Messy Room
By Linda A. Boulter
Here are some positive reasons to let your kids’ rooms stay messy until they decide to clean them!