Colored File Folders and the Organization of Life

Face of forgivenessBelow is the “famous” blog post that resulted in two comments that made me decide I could change the world (or at least the lives of one or two people) through blogging.

When I originally posted it, I was in the early stages of my ADD / ADHD diagnosis, just starting to understand that all was not lost in my life and coming to terms with the fact that there was a legitimate reason for the persistent challenges I’d been facing.  (Not sure whether I had quite admitted my OCD hoarding tendencies to myself yet or not, though.)

After a lifetime of failures (or what I interpreted as such) and the resulting self-hatred, I was finally looking at myself in a new light.  I was beginning to forgive myself for my perceived inadequacies and trying desperately to love myself again.  More importantly, for the first time in a long time, I was finding hope.

“So kids, I spent the day sleeping.  Woke up around 6:30 PM and
debated on whether or not to take my Adderall.  I thought about
just going back to bed, but I had an inkling to be productive.  I
can’t very well just “hang out” with my house as it is, so that was
pretty much out of the question.  And since it’s Saturday,
tromping out into the world didn’t seem like the best idea for my
sanity.  A thoughtful trip to Starbucks would be more frustrating
than successful as the place turns into a party zone on the
weekends.  No offense to any weekend Starbuckers; I understand
it’s a coffee shop and it’s meant for conversing amongst friends.
I do it too.  Just, when I’m alone, and trying to clear my head, I
find it quite difficult to concentrate between the screaming machines
and the dozens of conversations going on at once…not to mention the
spaztic musical selections that somehow manage to find their way to the
speakers of the joint from time to time.  So, when I AM alone, I
choose to avoid the place on the weekends, at least as night
approaches.

SO…I did decide to take my Adderall around 7:00 and decided I would
try to address the house.  Every room in the house has clearly
been traumatized by the whirlwind that is my life.  I’ve brought
everything down from the attic.  I guess I finally realized that
this place is more than a transitional residence.  Although, as I
write that, I don’t even believe it myself.  Perhaps I’ve realized
that even in transition, I must be whole.  I need to know what I
own.  I need to see where I’ve been.  I need to throw a bunch
of crap out…and give a bunch away.  There are piles of this and
piles of that scattered across all existing floorspace.  Multiple
trashbags, housing pieces of my life, have found their way into every
room as well.  Despite the chaotic look of things, it truly does
represent progress.  Trashbags and piles prove that I’ve actually
gone through stuff, so that’s definitely a step in the right direction.

I stumbled upon a lot in the process.  I found a lot of things I
had forgotten I own.  I took a few trips into the past, said
goodbye to a few old friends.  I’ve seen the struggles of my life
come alive.  I’ve faced the countless incompletes and put some of
them to rest and some of them to finish.

Many times I’ve been here, among the crap that is my life, trying
desperately to climb out of it…to understand it…to let it go.
I’ve held onto so many things as reminders of what once was, what
could’ve been, and what never was.  Other things I held onto with
the hope that one day I would get to them, to read them, to finish
them, to become whole.  These things represent my infamous “to-do”
list that never seems to get done.

This time is different, though.  I see all of this now with an
understanding of the places I have been, the person I was, the person I
am today.  Looking back over my life, I used to see two separate
lives-the early years when I was happy and the later years when I
yearned to be.  There was a defining moment that separated these
lives.  I placed an immense amount of power on that moment, and,
thus, regretted it deeply.  The more I learn about myself now and
the more I truly remember who I was before, the more the separation
fades.

Timing was unlucky.  Life was rough, I couldn’t concentrate.
It made sense.  I blamed myself; I blamed the situation.  I
could not fix it; believe me I tried.  The same day over and
over…I could not move forward.

And now I see…  Taking the importance away from that moment
empowers me.  It’s not all that it was cracked up to be.  I
will never say it didn’t hurt, terribly, but it did not define me; it
does not define me.

I am more than the moments of my life.  I am more than the
incomplete projects and the unfinished business.  I am who I have
always been; I never actually turned my back on myself.

It’s odd finding the strength to forgive myself after so long.
It’s scary taking my life back and knowing that where I go next is
totally in my hands.  As odd and scary as it is, it makes me feel
alive; it gives me hope.

Sure, I take longer than most people to do things, but I care about things more than most people do.

During my excavation, I came across an empty journal.

Most of my journals are at least scribbled in on the first page, even
if that’s as far as I got.  Over the course of my life, I’ve tried
to “start over” several times.  And each time I start over, I feel
the need to start a new journal.  I don’t want the scribblings of
the past to haunt my present or hold me back from my future.

This particular journal; however, is still blank.

People have given me plenty of journals throughout the years, and
always with the best intentions.  Sometimes, as with all gifts, a
journal I receive is not my style at all.  If a journal is not my
style, it won’t inspire me and I won’t write in it; it won’t feel
comfortable to me.  I don’t like things that do not feel like me;
they do not fit.  As I weeded through the library of journals I
have collected through the years, I realized I had received several of
them as gifts.  Most times I cannot justify spending even $10 on a
journal, even though I feel that writing is a necessity for my
survival.  I tend to end up with a pile of half-written-in
spiral-bound notebooks, as is the case to this day.

There is one journal I bought because it had several sections, each one
a different color to suit your mood.  I had written in two
sections-the blue section of sadness (tear) which had several entries
and the green section of inspiration, which had only one entry
regarding my intentions to write comically on my webpage, which I never
actually did.

There’s a second one that I bought, a simple black one with the word
“journal” imprinted across the front in a classic font; it’s a soft
journal and the one that I feel most attached to, although it is not
the most written in.

The journal that I found, actually separate from the rest of them, is
one that I bought at a dollar store.  It grabbed me though, more
than most.  It’s simple as well and reminds me of something I
would find at Junkman’s Daughter in Athens, something I would buy in
attempt to talk myself out of a depression or to focus on the better
aspects of life.

It is a white, hardback, with black letters on the front reading, “Some
are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust
upon them.  -William Shakespeare”

I don’t much care for the pages inside as they are marked with dotted
lines and some flowery doodle in the corners.  I remember
purchasing the journal thinking that I had been great once upon a time,
that I had been born great, and that I hoped to be great again,
thinking that maybe this journal or at least the quote adorning it’s
jacket cover might inspire me to achieve that greatness.

For years, I idealized my younger self and hated my present self for giving her up.

I realize now that if greatness once resided within me, it must still
reside there.  I am the same person I was the day that I was born;
therefore, if I was born great, I must still be so.

Nothing beautiful may bloom in a garden of hatred, but in the face of forgiveness, beautiful things will surely blossom.”

Posted January 29, 2006 at 1:52AM

Guys, it’s kind of amazing what you can do with just a little hope.

(Update: I added the picture at the top because I couldn’t handle a picture-less post.)

2 comments

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