Spring Cleaning

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practical

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Spring Cleaning
« on: March 19, 2017, 08:56:39 PM »
A couple of weeks ago there was a giant crash in the dining room, a pile of large cake plates from the top shelf of our china cabinet had crashed to the floor. Im per se very chill about these things, if neither life nor limb is lost, it is a simple task and not anything else, but this time there was a sense of relief when cleaning up and it made me think.

4 plates crashed down, 3 glass and one pottery, all but one broke, the only one that didnt break was one I had bought myself when I was still a student, it was something special I had saved up for. All other plates had originally belonged to my parents and had ended up in my household in various ways.

There was the pottery plate, which belonged to a set of dishes. Those dishes had been especially made for M by a potter, cost a lot of money and led to some arguments between my parents which I was pulled into. When I moved away, M offered to give me a complete set of good china from her many different ones. She suggested the pottery one and I went with it, but then a whole drama developed where she guilt tripped me about what a sacrifice she was making and ultimately I could only have it if I gave her two very large cups I had bought for myself and had special meaning for me. I was too much in the FOG back then to just say forget it and gave up my cups. For all these years I had held on to those dishes, because in Ms world you had to have a good set of china for visitors, and so dutifully I pulled them out for those occassions. After the cake platter crashed, I thought Why? This isnt me, DH and I have an eclectic collection of cups and mugs from various trips, which we love, why not use those? They represent who we are, they have meaning to us, while Ms old dishes mainly come with negative energy and old ties of obligation, of what one does. I packed up those dishes for charity and went out and bought some simple glass plates as alternative to our everyday plates, and they look wonderful with our cups and make me feel light and happy. 

One of the broken glass plates I had asked for from F together with some bowls and smaller plates. He had brought it all back from a trip when I was a teenager. Upon reflection I realized it was part of my attempt to have one normal parent, to create an idealized narrative, to hold onto something that never existed: a happy home. When I look at those plates I feel as if Im sitting again at my parents dining table and staring at my salad, trying to avoid hearing their argument, or retreating into myself because they are arguing with me over my lack of enthusiasm for salad (You have to eat it! Your F picked it and put a lot of work into it!) or another topic like what I wanted to study. They also remind me of the countless meals I made for M when she had guests, because that was one of my jobs as dutiful daughter. I have had those plates for years and have never used them, despite them being beautiful, the memories associated with them are just too negative.

The other glass plate was something F sent me because he wanted to get rid of it. It was in his way, it reminded him of M, and came with a lecture I dont know why your M needed to spend all that money, we could have been much better off , What am I supposed to do with all that stuff?! Youll figure something out., disposing of his toxic garbage along with the plate, while totally ignoring his enabling behaviour over years and years when it came to her shopping and so much more.

The one plate that survived has meaning for me, and I decided to see it as a sign. I went through the whole cabinet and now we only have what we like. It is a lot emptier now.

Im planning to go through the house and look at things, things that just sit there because I havent given myself permission to give them away or throw them out. They are still there from when I tried to create fake family memories, pretend my FOO was normal, and having family porcelain was part of this illusion and denial of the truth.

A few things Ill most likely keep, even if they go into a box, like a small hand-embroidered tablecloth from M she used for birthdays, a day she managed to make special. I want to keep the few good memories I have, I have the scars to remember the bad ones any time.

Being OOTF, I have reached the point where I can acknowledge the truth and let go of the illusions - the things I attached them to - as well as taking the healthy step of freeing myself from things that are a burden and carry negative energy. It is about conscious choices.
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? Rabbi Hillel

"You can forgive, but you cannot forget." Otto von Bismarck

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broken

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Re: Spring Cleaning
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 01:27:41 AM »
Practical, I love this!  I've been reading "The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo about going minimalist the Japanese way: by keeping only those things that "spark joy".  Like coming Out of the FOG, it is changing my life.  I've come across stuff given to me by NM, (oddly..  mostly dishes) and getting rid of several items. 

You are right, "light and happy" is a wonderful way to describe what remains.  I'll think of your experience when I work on this new-me project this week!

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Malini

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Re: Spring Cleaning
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 04:33:33 AM »
It feels like Karma that those plates came crashing down at this point in your journey!
I'm looking at my own glass cabinet now...

3 years ago, I purged my home of all the stuff NM 'gave' me. She was actually getting rid of stuff she didn't want and trying to make me feel it was all soooo valuable when in fact it was faded, chipped, and never ever, a complete set. I held onto it because I thought it was proof of her love, it was, but not the  'love' I imagined, proof of her 'not love' actually.

MiL moved to a smaller place a couple of years back and opened her glass cabinet and said I could choose anything. She had some beautiful stuff, as she worked in a glass and China store and I now have some beautiful things and whenever she sees being used she is so happy.

She has a saying,  'one must give with warm hands', as in, not waiting until death to get stuff, and that has stuck with me with my children. If they want something for their own homes, I should be loving enough to give it now and not make their getting it conditional or just fobbing off old crap I don't want anymore and expect them to be grateful.

The only stuff I have kept from my parents home all belonged to my father or his mother. It's a link to my Asian heritage and I treasure it. But now, I'm wondering if he agreed with NM giving it to us or if she 'got rid' of it to hurt him, because he adored his mother and he actually now has nothing left of her.  :sadno:

It's good and healthy to get rid of things that the sight of triggers such bad memories and I do think that is why they carry so much negative energy. Good for you for taking this opportunity to 'spring-clean' your memories and surround yourself with positive, meaningful or even cheap and cheerful (IKEA  :bigwink:) objects that bring you joy.


"How do you do it?" said night
"How do you wake and shine?"
"I keep it simple." said light
"One day at a time" - Lemn Sissay

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VividImagination

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Re: Spring Cleaning
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 06:18:21 AM »
I get it.

NM and enSis decided years ago that I liked a certain type of collectible. I never bought any, commented on them, admired them...they just decided that I would collect them. I am not a knick knack person and don't collect anything, while both of them definitely are.

Every Christmas and birthday I received one of these fragile collectibles, despite the fact that I have active little boys. During my NC with them I packed the figures up and actually considered shattering them on the driveway. DH didn't understand why, and I explained that they were a physical representation of the fact that my mother and sister had no idea who I was and didn't care to find out.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 08:09:44 AM by VividImagination »
There are three solutions to every problem: accept it, change it, or leave it. If you cannot accept it, change it. I f you cannot change it, leave it.

Sometimes you're damned if you don't and damned if you do.. so damn well do what's best for you!

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Fightsong

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Re: Spring Cleaning
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 06:37:29 AM »
I get it. Not many months since I went on a similar drive to rid myself of all sorts of  physical reminders of  how little I am cared to be known about. I chucked out the lot. Felt amazing.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Spring Cleaning
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 06:37:30 AM »
Yes yes 1000 times yes. Good for you and for all those of us cleaning out the things that are triggering. That's what started my whole redeocrating craze culminating in my KonMari phase last year. Looking around my living space I realized mixed in with my style were these other things that just didn't fit and on top of lack of fondness many items were actually triggering. My living space was triggering! I couldn't believe I was surrounded by triggers so no wonder I still didn't feel peace despite low contact. After redecorating every time uPDm tried to 'gift' me used items I responded with a no thanks. Now when I look around I smile and if anything doesn't make me smile out it goes.
PD have no power, only words. We choose to give those words power, influence or keep them as they are, empty words. (thx WI) Accepting others are incapable of being anything other than what they are is step one. OOTF affiliate program http://www.outofthefog.net/Books.html

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Houstorm

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Re: Spring Cleaning
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 06:43:48 AM »
I found this post so powerful, especially as summarized here:

 that they were a physical representation of the fact that my mother and sister had no idea who I was and didn't care to find out.

I've been doing a bit of this kind of cleaning of triggers and negative items but I'll embrace it consciously now that I've read your reflections.  Thank you for making me feel it's ok to purge like this!  I still had residual guilt about it.  My uPDmom gave my kids lots of clothes that I absolutely cannot stand.  I'll start there! 

I also love the idea of giving with warm hands.  A lovely and true description of generosity.  Wish you all a good day!

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Fightsong

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Re: Spring Cleaning
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 06:47:58 AM »
Houstorm, those clothes. oh yes, what an excellent place to begin !  Purge and be free. no guilt. You don't have to keep stuff you don't like.

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lightworld

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Re: Spring Cleaning
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 07:48:45 AM »
Practical what a lovely post. It's strange how a lot of us have been through  'clearings out' lately! When we moved to our new  home I got rid of a lot of  the stuff I had cleared out of my parent's house when they moved into NF. I held onto it because although when they first moved in they claimed not to want to take any of their personal stuff, slowly over the following months they demanded that B or me bring them this photo or that picture so I was afraid to let it go in case they asked for something. Also I realized I had been 'given' stuff in the  past by my parents in a spirit of seeming generosity only later to have it demanded back so they could give it to someone else, usually my GCB. Consequently when I was young and had  just  left home, I never felt that I permanently owned anything and I realise that feeling has continued for me for years.

It is odd how inanimate objects can make you feel negative or positive. On first reading in  "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up", when Marie Kondo tells you to only keep things  that spark joy it sounds  a bit crazy but it's certainly true for me for both things that make me feel good and bad.

Thank you again for the post it also reminded me of clearing out their stuff in my head too, my negative self talk mostly comes from my parents and I'm working to recognise that and banish it from my mind. Another whole area to spring clean!  It's all so refreshing and healing. LW
 :hug:



"The opposite of love is not hate it's indifference" Elie Wiesel

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stasia

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Re: Spring Cleaning
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2017, 09:38:22 AM »
It feels great to get rid of that stuff, doesn't it?

We're moving, and I decided that I don't want to haul the big rubbermaid bins of stuff M has given me to sell online for her, to yet another apartment.  (it's worthless and she wants top dollar for it; I've been trying to unload it for at least 5 years.) Donated it all. Didn't tell her. I also threw out a whole bunch of greeting cards from her that I'd saved, and some other random crap that she'd given me that wasn't my style but I felt bad giving away in case she asked me to produce it later.

I still do worry that she's going to ask me to produce something she's given me, because if I can't, she'll be angry. "You don't have any respect for my things!" But I just couldn't keep hauling it around any more like some weight around my neck.

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Amadahy

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Re: Spring Cleaning
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2017, 11:20:42 AM »
Quite significant and affirming, practical!  A day of cleaning outer and inner and welcoming springtime.  ❤️
Ring the bells that still can ring;
Forget your perfect offering.
There's a crack in everything ~~
That's how the Light gets in!

~~ Leonard Cohen

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practical

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Re: Spring Cleaning
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2017, 07:58:06 PM »
Thank you for all your responses, I guess spring cleaning is part of coming OOTF  :bigwink: I had done the same with my closet a couple of years ago, and it was really liberating.

I was very tempted to throw a few dishes against the garage wall, but then I would have to clean them up  :roll:, so it's not worth it in the end. Somebody will get those dishes at a GoodWill and be happy, will build their own associations with them, and I think it is wonderful they can be recycled in this way, it is like a kind of excorcism  :witch: .

I learned something else, you can buy nice things without breaking the bank. I had never really given this much thought, IKEA was more than good enough for me (Malini, how did you know?  :) ). For M everything had to be special, which meant expensive boutique stores, the combination of uNPD and the manic-depressive illness was simply destructive. I was often taken along to these purchases and then was told "Don't mention it to F, I'll have to wait for a suitable moment to tell him or he'll be unreasonable and angry.", making me a partner in her crime. So, the act of going shopping in itself made me aware of some scars from the past but was also liberating. I spent as much on the new glass plates as M would have spend on one place setting  :stars:  and to round it all out I found a beautiful cake plate today at an absolute bargain price. I'm really excited  :)

And Houstorm, get rid of those cloths, you don't want your kids to remind your of your M  :aaauuugh:


If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? Rabbi Hillel

"You can forgive, but you cannot forget." Otto von Bismarck