Guilt by POV

Are you ridden by guilt? Bleeding from the whip of shoulds? Constantly scolded by the internal editor of your life? Seared and scarred by the looks of others as they cast their peepers your direction? Are you using your artist's soul for excuses? ABE's (any body else's) excuses for the mess you're in?

Yup, you're probably a human being trying to find time for all the things you'd like to do and all the things you must do and finding that something is coming up short. After all there is only twenty-four hours a day and we all get the same allotment.

Who's point of view are we using to stew ourselves in guilt sauce?  Our own, knucklehead, the question was rhetorical.

What are we going to do about it? What was I going to do about it?

My sister--again...

I forced her (heavily bribed her and used a little guilt on her myself) to come out to my house. Her other directives were working so well that, yes, I finally found the kitchen floor and (whisper here; MOPPED it).

I took her through the process of my mess and how I try to work my life.
She said, "Go get me some coffee, this is going to take a few minutes." I ran for the coffee maker, found it, make the request, returned and she already had an answer. She'd peered through my piles, dislodged some catalogs, moved some books, and generally peered into my dusty soul.

Then, she said as she sipped the wicked brew I'd managed, "You've managed to say no to everyone but yourself. You have more things here to do than an army of people can do. You have the remains of over four organizing methods. You have more file cabinets, sorters, organizers, stray books, than that army could use. But, I have a solution."

Thank GOD, I thought. Maybe I can get relief from the quagmire of my guilt.

She said, "You need to be constrained by space and time."

Like that was news.

She went on,"You are only allowed to use this box for your projects--including your writing projects." Then she sternly stared directly into my weasily eyes. "And you will have all of this other stuff cleared out of here by sundown tomorrow."

The look in her eye stopped the whining before it started.

She said, "Just like with the rest of your life, you need to pare down to what is currently useful that will fit in your space. You only have so much space and all of the expectations you have for everything else that you can't get to is giving you a paralyzing form of can't-get-it-done-itis.  This includes the space in your head. If you don't get something done about it which means gone, you can't free your brain up to work at what you desire to. You have more going on here than a herd of monkeys. Stop it!"

A lot was done in two days. It took a week to clean up the mess from those two days. I'm still clearing out how-to books and finding stuff that doesn't apply. I can't do it all at once. I'm only able to make myself do it in fifteen minute intervals using a timer.  But. Already I can breathe.

Are you suffering from guilt because you're looking at your life from your point of view and whipping yourself for not being whatever you think you should be?

Then stop, get a timer, and start clearing out stuff you're feeling guilty about. Pare down. If it isn't there to see, you can't feel guilty about not doing something about it. By the way, relatives like husbands and children are a bit harder to work with, but with everything else pared down, I actually baked a cake that silenced the guilt in that quarter just a bit.

Oh, and did I ditch everything? No, I put in a file that labeled Someday/Maybe. I'll go through that file and toss stuff when it gets too full.

I'm a lot happier this week than last. I managed to get some more writing in. Love that.


Joan Vincent said...

A very timely post for me. I have been beating myself up all week for not being the kind of person I want to be, for not doing at least some of the things I should be doing--need I go on? Thanks to you I've stopped what is essentially whining and started doing. That always makes me feel better. Glad you do too!

Pat Davids said...

You should bottle your sister's wisdom and sell it. You'd make a fortune.

My life has recently been turned sideways. My beautiful and awesome office has been turned into my 12 year old granddaughters bedroom. My den is now a bedroom for my grandson, my lovely guestroom is buried under the remains of my daughter's recently ended marriage. Imagine two households jammed into one.

I wouldn't have it any other way. They are welcome forever, but I need to find the up button to get back into writing. Soon

Nina Sipes said...

I had to do something!!! I was a cranky whiny person with an aching case of POV. From my perspective NOTHING was working like it was supposed to. And I put a lot of effort into my efforts.
Seeing some of my desk top and having some space in the file drawers makes life too good. By accident I unloaded a HUGE project off my shoulders onto an unsuspecting victim--the Morton County Sheriff. I asked him if he knew what his part would be in bindweed law compliance. When he didn't know, I said I'd send him what I had if he would like....hey, hey, hey, that's a bonus today! Since he'll have to inform the county commissioners and other county beings, I'll get to fold my hands of the job. For now anyway. And since I got to send it by e-mail, I have perfect proof of when it went. Ah, life is good. I do feel better.

Nina Sipes said...

Yeah, my sister is golden. Plus she knows me inside and out.
Having family around, especially in murky times can be tough on everyone. It can also be a lot of fun. I hope everything turns out as it should.
I guess you'll be writing in your bedroom or utility porch?

Pat Davids said...

Nina, all my office equipment and my huge corner desk was dismantled by my grandson's friends and reassembled in my bedroom. It will do.

Nina Sipes said...

That's a handy bunch of friends! He and you are lucky.