Friday, May 4, 2012

Everything in its Place

We have built-in shelves in our guest bathroom that house an array of my stuff - jewelry from my grandmother, bath salts, hair ties and headbands, toiletry bags for traveling. Despite my few attempts to segregate things into canvas bins and boxes, these shelves have been in need of some serious organization since we moved in.

And it just so happens that I went to visit my oldest and best friend in Seattle last weekend, who is one of the most organized people I know. In her car, she has a mesh Ziploc bag devoted to her kids' favorite chewing gum flavors (whereas I'm always finding melted pieces of Dentyne in the bottom of my purse, pressed into the pennies and bobby pins). She's so organized, there are never piles of junk mail on her kitchen counter - I think it knows the routine by now and marches itself straight to her recycling bin. I promise this post isn't sponsored, but I swear she could singlehandedly keep The Container Store in business.

So I came home from Seattle feeling inspired to do a little spring cleaning of my own. A post-cancer clutter clear-out of sorts. It's slow-going, in part because there are only so many hours in a day, in part because of the crushing fatigue radiation has left in its wake, but also because - as Chris puts it - I'm a crier. I'll explain that in a minute.

Of the two of us, I am by far the less pack-ratty one. Probably because Chris can keep his things orderly, while I just weed out my drawers for a Goodwill run whenever they get too stuffed to close properly. I prefer clean, uncluttered design (read: Ikea). But I have never claimed to be the most organized person on the planet. Or in my house.

Back to the shelves...and my crying. Amongst everything else, I found my wedding jewelry and the note I received from Chris on our first wedding anniversary, back when we were young. (Some things are worth saving.) It said, in part: Happy First Anniversary...So Many More to Come. Immediately, my eyes filled up and welled over. The promise of those words got caught in my throat like a pill. I was not a pretty sight in the bathroom mirror, forehead scrunched and cheeks splotchy as I let the emotion out. And then I yelled at the bathroom walls for good measure. 

Cancer, did you hear me? 

Because I am still angry, and I am not following you into your dark hole. I am clearing out the clutter, shaking off the cobwebs, putting the pieces of my life back in place. I am cleaning house and saying good riddance to you and your wreckage. As my yoga instructor put it a few weeks ago: My body is clean, and I am free.

On the other hand, it took a considerable amount of time for me to regain my composure, and, so, my bathroom shelves remain disorganized. Safer to start with my closet, maybe.

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