Looking Inward | Cleaning Frenzy

Since my life derailing event, life has been more like floating in midair and sitting on top of a cage rather than inside of it.

I want out, but there’s a mental block that’s keeping me from moving forward. I’ve considered therapy, but it has never worked for me and since I can’t find decent work nearby, I don’t have the means to afford it.

My book hoarding has saved me this time because with no money/savings and all the time in the world, I can escape in literature. Lately, I picked up Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the improperly capitalized title of which my grammar junkie‘s brain has struggled to accept.

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It claims that it can change your life by allowing you to rethink the way you tidy spaces. My recent obsession with spaces and the unhealthy obsession I have with eventually wanting to own a home in this godforsaken economy allows me to indulge in this seemingly simple task.

Basically, I am hardcore cleaning my room. I have assessed this challenge as much as I can and have come to the conclusion that nothing truly negative can come out of this experience. I am refocusing my life and getting rid of everything that ties me down – namely, all the random crap cluttering my room. It drives me absolutely nuts. Many times, instead of a peaceful retreat, my room (which is currently my childhood bedroom that I hadn’t inhabited for a solid 5 years or so) feels like it’s closing in on me.

A few of my LA friends believe in spirits and that there is a spiritual vibe within every object just as there are good/bad vibes that come from humans and plants. It seems that Kondo feels the same way because her method stems from getting rid of everything that does not bring you joy.

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“no joy”

For this room, that’s pretty much anything in here that I obtained before 2011. Most of these mere objects I have simply grown out of. Even the signed Ingrid Michaelson poster on my wall from a concert I attended in Albany with my mother for Mother’s Day doesn’t bring me joy anymore. Another poster on my wall says, “If you want to fly, give up everything that ways you down.” That was a pre-2011 poster that resonates right now, but I will let it go once my hardcore room cleaning is done.

Pre-2011, I just wanted to escape. All of middle school and high school held this flight-or-flight response, possibly stemming from my newly formed depression. I just wanted to leave, no matter how. I blamed my surroundings, and not myself, for my sadness. For the most part, that made sense. My surroundings did cause me existential pain. My high school was horrible, my family and I did not get along (we do now though, to some extent), and the only solace I could find was in my local ski resort. That was fine.

My wall hangings all reflect a need for escape. It’s a reminder that I can’t stay here. This place, these people, my surroundings in general do not provide a healthy environment for me to live. Another place I found, recently, was a co-op in Albany where I felt somewhat at home. Granted, the extremely low wages they pay their overeducated employees set me off a bit and you can tell everyone who works there is exasperated, but nonetheless, they’re like the best people ever. I always get at least one hug and five hellos when I enter the store.

Now, I kind of have the means to escape. I had about the same amount of money when I left for LA as I do now. However, that wasn’t even close to enough and my parents helped me with money for a good five months.

My mind isn’t there yet. I can’t leave because my brain is telling me that I’m not ready. This time is so important for me to work on myself. I remember being so into the grind of working like a crazy person and barely ever having time for myself that I know this time is precious. I should use it effectively.

My depression/anxiety tells me to think otherwise. Hiking, reading, and cooking has really helped me redirect my negative energy into something positive. I’m spending more time with my family and really getting to know them. I’ve created goals for myself and I’m working towards starting my own company? Maybe?

When I think about the Universe, I think about how you can look outwards to space, to communities, to climate, and you can also look inwards – into the cell, the atom, how organelles mimic communities (or vice versa?) and everything works together. Some cells die off because they need to in order to benefit the community and others thrive. Some move around and some stay put. In addition to constantly thinking WWCMD (What Would Cave Man Do?), I think of everything like that. How do I contribute to the community? What is my purpose? We all have one, otherwise none of us would be alive.

I have a purpose, but I need to find it. It wasn’t what I was doing before. That’s why I was derailed from my original intent. I needed a way out even before it all happened. Maybe this was a way for energy to redirect into something more positive? I like to think we all benefit each other somewhat without even realizing it. Just the other day, I made a FB post asking who had a crush on me. Someone had professed their love on sarahah and I had no idea who this person was. Are we children? I was kind of into it. Anyway, approximately 10 people responded to it. I had people PMing me or texting me like “yeah I’ve had a crush on you forever” and as far as I know, the original poster did not reveal him/herself. What? I had compliments coming from everywhere, it seemed. Even friends who definitely were not crushing on me commented like, “I have a crush on you!!! Everyone who knows you has a crush on you Michelle!” and “Actually everyone who has met you has a crush on you…they might not even know you… 🙂”

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WHY ARE YOU ALL SO CUTE? I screenshotted everything so I can easily look back when I feel down (which is most of the time) and like the earth and everyone in it is plotting against me (literally why does depression exist and can it go away plz). It just goes to show that you are important to people, even if you have no idea that you’re important to people. It’s part of the beauty of this life – having someone reveal to you that they love you and that you’ve left an imprint on their lives in some way.

One of my favorite moments was when my friend A told me that a conversation she had with me back in high school was the push she needed to become a nurse. I remember that conversation, but had no idea it left such an impact on her. She told me she didn’t think she was smart enough to go into medicine and at the time, I was very gung-ho about pre-med, pretty much talked about it all the time. We were at the beginning of our senior year (or maybe the end of our junior year?) and I told her that her fears were ridiculous. She had the perfect personality and drive to become a nurse and that it’s a mad noble profession. She’s a nurse right now and even if she were to become a nurse without that conversation we had, it feels so good to know that I helped make that impact on her.

So, maybe I’m not doing anything noble right now. I’m no longer climbing the San Gabriels and rather climbing the Catskills or the Berkshires instead. I’m not meeting influential, interesting people every day, but I am meeting real people who don’t hide who they are behind a façade of perfectly edited social media posts. It’s weird. My heart is telling me both to leave and to stay put. I feel ready though. It seems like the time is coming soon. I just don’t know what step to take next. Hopefully this cleaning frenzy will clear my mind up a bit.

The last poster on my wall has a small poop stain from my late pet finch Tito. He used to fly around my room and literally poop while flying. I still find little poops I missed 5 years after his death. The last poster says:

I always wonder why
birds stay
in the same place
when they can fly
anywhere on the earth.
Then I ask myself
the same question.

-Harun Yahya


I’m making a video about my nutty cleaning journey that I’ll post to the blog. I’m not sure how long it will take, but I want to do a full redesigning of the space, too. I’ve been playing with a few ideas. I’m super excited.

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