Order and Chaos

I know I just dropped a bombshell of an announcement and ran, in my last post, but really that’s been the best way to deal about the massive change happening in my life. The Thing is happening – it can’t be stopped, it won’t be stopped, I don’t want it to stop, but it still comes with a ton of changes (both big and small) that need to be accounted for. My life had a rhythm to it, one I was fairly comfortable with, and The Thing has turned that on its head. So finding a new normal is a lot like finding order within chaos.

Part of the struggle with finding that new normal was that my dwelling reflected both the order and chaos now in my life. If you walked into my home you would not see random things on the floor – if it’s on the floor, there’s a reason. Clothes are put away, things are in closets and cupboards … and aside from a layer of dust, most people have said my home is what they expect from a crafter – lived-in, some chaos with crafting, but organized and welcoming. Except it wasn’t feeling welcoming to me – I was seeing piles of clutter and chaos and things that didn’t have a place or a home and were just there. I’ve been grateful to not spend a ton of time at home over the last couple of weeks so I wouldn’t have to see (and mostly deal) with this.

The reality is that messes can’t be ignored. They can be moved, they can managed, they can be ignored for a time … but they do eventually have to be dealt with. Any mess – knitting, work, personal, and literal mess in your home – eventually you will need to confront it. As a response to the anxiety some of these things causes me, a lot of messes I’ve just put aside recently to deal with later. Clutter in my home, knitting projects I should fix or frog, those leftovers in my fridge I should toss, the dishes in my sink, things around my home I know I need to box and put away – I was ignoring all of it. I’m still ignoring a lot of it. Tackling some of these means some pretty hefty things to me, and I wasn’t feeling ready, I’m still not feeling ready.

But I’ve got some great tools. The biggest ones? Friends and family. The support from them has been amazing, whether it has been actively talking to me about what is happening in my life (and not just The Thing related, but work or other personal triumphs and fails). Knowing that I can reach out to people and say things and get something back is invaluable. Some people’s roles have been just spending time with me – bowling has been critical to my happiness for the last few months, but so has getting back to my D&D group, so has spending times with friends, so has going to work. Each time I leave my home it serves a purpose that, yes, sometimes I need to remind myself of if I’m feeling tired or not social, but I’m learning to take each outing one at a time – do I need this? do I want this? will this help me? will this hurt me? And sometimes it’s okay to stay home, so I have.

Another tool has been finding blogs online for people also going through January cleans and decluttering … seeing other people do this, seeing them push through their own issues and writing about them has been a great tool to help me when I’m struggling through my own. Again, it’s all one-at-a-time. One 30 minute clean, one area of my home, one project to tackle. The places in my home I’ve spent time to clean and declutter now feel calmer and safer to me. I look at them and feel peace instead of chaos, and I’m happy I took the time to do it.

So let’s check in with the JanPlan, since we’re about halfway through the month:
– I’ve decluttered a few places in my home – I’ve thrown out things I know I don’t need or just won’t ever use. I took down or put away things I no longer wanted to see out and about in my home, but wanted to keep for whatever reasons. I made changes or have plans to make changes (examples: I bought new sheets for my bed, and I have a solid plan to get rid of the couch bed)
– Mojo-wise I’m feeding my soul as needed with what makes me happy. I’m not tripping over myself to knit if I really don’t have the energy for it. I’m about to start a cross stitch project because it will make me happy to stitch this pattern. Bowling makes me happy and lets me throw out the aggression and stressors of my life; my D&D group and those boys make me laugh and feel alive and I think I’ve finally found my groove in our game. I have knitting plans – both WIPs I need to finish and new projects I want to start. And I already know of two 5k walks I want to do this year (with maybe a third one? still deciding)
– I am taking one day at a time, as much as an uber-planner can. Today I found out that something I was planning to happen next month isn’t. Instead of immediately throwing a fit at the person for the change, or ranting to others about the change, I took a deep breath, looked at my options, and made other arrangements with others for what I was planning that I could still do. Before me? Panic, chaos, anxiety attack. Me now? As calm and cool and collected as I could be. That doesn’t mean I’ll always have this reaction, but I was proud of myself for it. And other small day-to-day things I’ve rolled with as best as I could this month … so all things considering I’m doing well. I’m not expecting to always be this “together”, but I’m grateful for every time I can get through these types of stressors.

Next post – less of the heavy stuff, I promise! Maybe a “What’s actively on my needles”, or maybe a post about what WIPs I have (*gasp* the horror, so many), or maybe a bit more talking about cross stitching, as that’s new and exciting to me (and another thing Manna tried to teach me years ago that I said was too hard and I’ll never get this). What I like about this blog is being able to talk about it all – crafting, life changes, nerd things – this is all the day-to-day life of a crafter with mental disorders, and I think it’s really important to show that you can do both: craft and manage. Chaos can be turned into order, and order becomes chaos – and both are important part of life.

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