First an Update:
As an update to my day 2 promise to purchase a bra, I ordered one the same day and am currently wearing it. It has no underwire so pierced breasts should not be an issue unless I choose it intentionally. The consensus: Comfortable, sturdy. I love the first part...dislike sturdy. I will continue to wear this one, but my second purchase will be something less structurally sound.
Books, books, books. I love books. Even though e-readers are all the rage, nothing beats the feel of a real book in my hands. Fortunately, much of what I read is obtained from my local library. I do not tend to purchase many books; though if I enter a bookstore, I will be walking out with a purchase, I tend to view my library shelf like I view my food cupboards...there is a distinct sense of abundance that comes from having a full pantry. There is also a distinct sense of abundance when you have lots of books just waiting to be read.
Today's challenge started to be a tough one for me until I discovered my own stored trove of books in another cupboard. What I didn't expect though was the poignant get-real moment with myself. Life is always so unexpected.
It's not hoarding if it's books.
- Homeschooled Teens...no more teens, no more homeschooling.
- Training Your Beagle...she is 10, almost 11...it's time to get real...no training is going to happen at this point unless it's her training us.
- Where the Crawdads Sing - a book with raving reviews that was not my cup of tea.
- Embrace Your Weird...a fun romp through creativity by someone far younger than me. I realized I know more clearly how I want to be creative. It is just the time that is the factor.
- Money: A Love Story...sensible, lovely, a good one time read.
- Confessions of a Shopaholic...it's cluttered my shelves for years now unread. Time to get real...I'm not going to read it.
- The Gifts of Imperfection...so good. Brene Brown is amazing. I have worked through this book twice. I may go through it again, but there is so much great personal growth out there to explore. Time to share the vulnerability.
- Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom...I have to stop running to a book every time I feel some kind of physical symptom or emotion for the "deeper meaning."
- Chess Openings: Traps and Zaps...one word "Google."
- College Without High School...they all have high school so we failed.
- What Really Matters...great book for homeschoolers.
- Cookbook...see below.
Do you have an area of your life where you have applied extensive effort to acquire knowledge to learn a skill? This was homeschooling for me. Curriculum used and new graced the shelves of my office for years...long past the ages when they would need to learn to read or learn to count. It has been an upward battle with my emotional self to get rid of homeschool books. Remembering how much money I have spent over the years made me want to recoup some of the cost. With painstaking effort, I would list curriculum and books for sale only to have sellers drop out last minute or shipping costs take most of what would be profit leaving $2 in my pocket for all my efforts. A homeschool fair was the source of the biggest earnings, but those only ran once a year. In the meantime, I would have to look at my piles of books, boxes of books...books, books, books.
With my kids almost graduating, I reached the end of my hoarding tendencies. I posted an offer online for homeschooling families to take books for free. Homeschoolers love free. I left the boxes of books outside the front door, and by the time all 10 boxes had been picked through, I was left with 4 boxes which I immediately loaded in the car and took to the thrift store.
It felt good to see my books used by other families forging the same path I had and creating memories with their children. After they were gone, I never missed them at all...not once. The mental energy I wasted dealing with a cluttered space just because of sentimentality I know I will never recoup.
Going through this process made getting rid of a few remaining homeschool books above easy. I feel ever so grateful for the journey, but feel ready to focus on the next leg of the journey which primarily revolves around me.
YouTube and Google have made getting information so much easier and more digestible than a solid tome. Not only do you learn skills, but you may also have opportunities to practice them almost immediately. Being a visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learner, online learning really appeals to me. It is sad in some ways that mastery of a subject has been reduced to bytes in the world of the internet, but accessibility almost makes up for that. Just think...we can all train our beagles almost immediately...still not going to...but we could! (see above list of books to go).
Cookbooks gracing my shelves are a challenge at the best of times. Over the years I have made a concerted effort to not buy the cookbook,but borrow it from the library. Often most of the book is a collection of not-so-great recipes with a couple winners or contain unrealistic ingredients like capers. I am not purchasing capers for a solitary recipe or fenugreek for that matter when I can figure out what that is.
A small spiral cookbook brought up some surprising emotions for me and took me back to the past. The book itself is a specialized diet that I purchased for $70 at least 18 years ago in the days where I was desperate to make my child be like other kids. It was the days when I held onto a belief that mothers could cure just about anything with enough research and love. If only I could just find the right diet, the right therapy, or a magical method, they would be like everybody else.
When your child struggles, it is such an isolating journey. Many years I spent grieving how difficult life would be for my child, and when I confessed my fears to other moms, they would invalidate me with "they'll be fine." I learned over time to keep my struggles to myself, but it definitely made me more empathetic and less judgemental of parents who struggle with their children.
Thankfully, the diet, not surprisingly, was unsuccessful, and while I still hold a heavy heart with how the world treats my child, I would not change them now for the world. Give me a magic wand to make them a "neurotypical" person and I would break the wand. My child is here for many purposes some of which are my business and most are not; however, I see every day how they give people the opportunity to be better humans and expand narrow-mindedness. Their existence never fails to be a gift, and they have proven to be a far better human than I was or will ever be.
Now it is with shame that I look at this cookbook. I did rip out the muffin recipe because it's one of the best and very versatile, but the book will go in recycling. I will not even pass it on to a thrift store because the world doesn't need more books on how to fix your child...it needs books on how to take off our blinders.
Today my answer is to remember the person you used to be and embrace the person you are striving to be. The decluttering journey over the last two days has been far more emotional than anticipated.
When a flower doesn't bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.
- Alexander Den Heijer