Monday, April 27, 2009

Solitude (Thank God for My Own Apartment)

National Poetry Month is almost over. Had to get one of mine in...

Solitude (Thank God for My Own Apartment)

no bra wearin’
wild hair rockin’
wigglin’ ashy toes

a lil’ bit of TV
a lil’ bit of jazz
a lil bit of silence
a whole lotta me


Copyright FCM 2008

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Too Neat to Be Neat

Image by Roma Flowers

"Baby we've got to get you organized," my boyfriend mumbled as he rummaged beneath my bathroom sink among flat irons, tampons, shampoo bottles, toilet cleaner, and synthetic hair.

It was one of those days in which everything I tried to straighten out refused to untwist--a botched Internet installation bill, health insurance confusion, an erroneous credit report. I had even sustained an injury--a two-inch slit in my hand. But of all the day's disappointments, his offhand statement stung the most.

I felt exposed. The clutter in my closet, the unreturned calls and emails, the funk of my finances. My boyfriend's simple comment wasn't meant to be condemning, yet it seemed to unknowingly hint at the root of my ills.

Disorganization is a woe I've wrestled for years. In grade school, I begged for a Caboodle, the pretty case that could hold all my bows, bracelets, and earrings in different compartments. It was an intriguing little contraption. Before long though, bows wound up in the polish compartment and combs and gel were tossed on the dresser; I soon stopped using it all together.

It wasn't until I left home for college that I became self-conscious about my mess. I resided with different groups of roommates during my tenure; one or two of which were Neatness Nazis. I nearly gave myself anxiety attacks wondering if their favorite pastime was discussing my shoe prints on the tile or my wayward hair strands decorating the bathroom floor.

These untidy tendencies were contrary to everything my mom exhibited as I was growing up; after all, she was a maid. I often tagged along with her to waterside homes with marble countertops, which my mother wiped to illumination. I helped her shine windows at the Honda dealership owned by one of her clients. She was forever dusting, scrubbing, and washing, even at home. Unfortunately, most of her pristine habits swept right over me.

“Ask any right-brainer about getting organized and we typically laugh—out loud. This is usually NOT our greatest strength.”

- Lee Silber, Organizing from the Right Side of the Brain

Don’t get me wrong; I’m far from qualifying for one of those talk shows about folks that haven't seen their carpet since Hammer was hot. There's no rotting pizza stuck to the coffee table and I don’t have large rodents as roommates. I’m actually swell at cleaning up, I'm just subpar with the whole…maintenance part.

Now that I live alone, a refrigerator magnet proclaims a bold statement: Dull women have immaculate houses. It justifies the pile of clean clothes, the mail-strewn coffee table, and the brushes and bottles loitering on the bathroom sink. Mess is the vice of creative and interesting people, just as lack of privacy is the price of fame. It cannot be helped. Take me as I am, world!

However, money guru Suze Orman names clutter as a primary detriment to a happy life. "Decluttering your home is the first step toward living your ideal life," she writes in her book, Women & Money.

"I am here to tell you that if this quality is not up front and center and if you do not adhere to it, there is no way you will ever own the power to control your destiny,” Orman says. "Wealth will elude you, and you will be left with the mess you created."

So there's a direct correlation between the panties on the floor and the pennies in my bank account? It's a theory I've never heard, yet can make sense of on some level. If for nothing else, when the crib is clean, I'm not worried about cleaning it, thus freeing up mental energy to focus on conquering the world.

Orman may also be alluding to the notion, "The way you do anything is the way you do everything." In other words, people with chaotic homes probably lead chaotic lives.

I don’t need an epiphany to admit that most of my business is handled haphazardly. I live a "walk-in" type of life--no appointments necessary. I make lists, then forget where I put them. Returning a call within a week is pretty darn good. And I wonder if I'll ever master the art of estimating time ("I'll be there in ten minutes," "Call you back in five").
Some of this chaos can truly be attributed to brain wiring. It's a proven fact that creative types are not the super organized of the world! But then again, creative types are also known as starving artists. Hmmm…okay. Maybe Orman is on to something.

[Delect Inject: Results of my right brain vs left brain test...]

You Are 25% Left Brained, 75% Right Brained

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility. Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way. If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art. Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports. Are You Right or Left Brained?

I want to avoid a life destined for poverty, without becoming an uptight, file-happy, spreadsheet sportin’, dust dictating, lord of the laundry. “Some overly organized people insist that organizing is everything,” says Lee Silber, author of Organizing from the Right Side of the Brain. “They’ll spend a sunny Saturday color-coding their sock drawer while the rest of us are out living life.” Tragic! I refuse to hang up my carefree spirit with my blouses and tees.

Yet, disorganization, no matter how much I defend it as an artsy fartsy hang-up, has had its price. I've paid hundreds of dollars in late fees over the years not because I didn't have the money, but because I had no clue when the bill was due. Opportunities have come and gone and deadlines have passed because I neglected to follow up.

I'll never be a clean fiend nor is it my goal. A spotless house is not on my list of top ten things to achieve in life. But it’s necessary to make those changes that will save time, stress, and money, while leaving the rest alone.

And as soon as I'm able, I'll hire somebody as good as my mom to help keep things in order.