Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Breaking Point

Are there little signs in life?

A few weeks ago, I was down in the kitchen when I heard a tremendous crash. Conor was upstairs, and I thought maybe he'd fallen off of something, but I held my breath for a moment and never heard crying. Then he appeared in the kitchen and said, "What was that noise?" Oh. So, it wasn't Conor. He went in search of the probable calamity, and found it in my closet. He came down animated, arms and hands flying dramatically, his eyes wide and his voice streaming words a mile a minute, emphasizing the horribleness of the situation. "Okay," I said. I had piano lessons to teach. I couldn't even muster the desire to go see one more "situation".

Eventually, I went upstairs to face reality. When he said the shelf had fallen, I thought it was the other one, the small one that holds wrapping supplies, sewing supplies, and extra purses. That one has fallen before.  I did not expect it to be the one that held my entire rack of clothing and boxes of memorabilia. I was strangely unmoved. It felt so typical of my life right at that moment.

Everything had looked so tidy and organized. Slacks, blouses, cardigans, long-sleeved shirts, short-sleeved shirts, skirts, dresses hung in order. Jeans and pants folded on top next to sweaters and nursing scrubs. Then boxes of keepsakes, the kids' favorite childhood toys, memories of people and places of my past. All carefully placed and easily accessible, before the weight of it all bent the supports that held it up and sent it crashing to the floor in a heap. But it had looked fine and had been seemingly sturdy for over nine years. No sign of impending surrender.

I often look put together and organized too. Strong, even.

I had no energy to deal with this disaster. I didn't even know where to begin, truthfully. It seemed so daunting and I knew it would involve power tools at some point. Instead, I closed the door and chose to not freak out or panic. I didn't cry. I might have even laughed a bit at the irony. Fortunately, I had just done a load of laundry and hadn't put it away yet, so I just lived out of that hamper. It was fine.

Then, late one night, about a week later, when I was up anyway (thanks to my night shift sleep schedule), I thought maybe it was time for a purge. At the time, I didn't know how I would build a new closet, but I knew I could at least clean out and sort.

One by one, I took each item out. Amazing how much clothing I was holding on to for when I lose weight. Depressing! Skinny clothes that haven't fit in years! All they do is taunt me and make me feel horrible about myself. It was time for them to go. After all, when I lose weight, I should buy something new!

This is only the beginning of that purged pile. I ended up donating three trash bags full of perfectly good-for-someone-else clothing.

I folded the shirts and pants and sweaters and placed them in the closet unit that Adam hasn't taken yet. All of the dresses and skirts and shirts on hangers got draped over Lyndsay's bed for the time being.

This has kind of been a sign to me of the breaking point I'm at in my life. I've held on to things that just don't fit for way too long. I've carried the weight of the past unnecessarily. It's time to sort through mindfully and decide what should stay, and what is no longer beneficial to my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Hoping and longing for what used to be, what I wish still was, is not propelling me forward; it's holding me back. And I don't have all the answers as to how to fix what is broken inside of me, but I can begin by taking inventory and making some hard decisions.

I don't have a functional closet yet. I've been taking from Lyndsay's bed, a laundry hamper, and the portable closet unit. It's fine for now. A friend came over and took measurements and is going to put up new rods and shelves.

The things that will hang there fit me now. And only the most important keepsakes get to stay.


Jennifer said...

I've been going through my belongings, too.

The past needs to recede from my present in every way possible.

I'm even gathering up my photo albums to have the images scanned onto disks. I don't even want photo albums around anymore. Time to move on!

Love you, Jenna!

Anonymous said...

What an interesting and power analogy. It is amazing what we try and make work in our lives and then it hits a breaking point. Best of luck!

B said...

Sometime just a word of encouragement says it all. You are one of the strongest women I have came across. Your testimony and love of the Savior is bar none the strongest---Thanks for your wonderful example!

Southern said...

Jenna, I am about to install new racks in my closets too. They have a newer design that is actually simpler and easier to do, and as long as you can find the studs underneath, it isn't really very difficult. You can buy the pieces individually at Lowes or HD. Closet Maid calls it ShelfTrack. Look it up. You already have most of it if you saved the racks that fell. Much stronger and easier to install. (Yes You Can!) I'm sure Aiden can do it with some simple tools. Look it up. Here's a video. SouthernMan at your service. Best of luck with it all.

Jenna said...

Southern! Thank you! I wish I'd gotten your comment a few weeks earlier.... a friend's husband in my ward came over and put up new (wooden, sturdy!) shelves and a rod for me. What a relief! :) Thanks for believing in me (and Aiden!) though!