Thursday, December 04, 2008

Order in My Court

I am going to be 38 in 15 days. So you'd think I'd know me by now. But I seem to be at some odd stage where I am noticing things about myself again, like I did in my 20s, and realizing I've been this way my whole life. It's like Dorothy discovering she could get home the whole time.

Take this organization compulsion I have. Never thought a thing about it before now. Never saw it as a positive or a negative. Never put it on a resume as a skill. It simply didn't stand out for me as a trait. Only now does it seem to be proving it plays a huge part in who I am and how I do things.

All my life I have:

1 - liked things to balance in every way possible.
2 - hated for things to be out of place and that goes for people too.
3 - loathed messiness. My space, whatever it was, was neat when I started and neat when I ended because who wants to come back to the same stuff from a different day?
4 - made lists.
5 - preferred even numbers to odd. Ok that one may be a little off but it's just another form of balance to me.
6 - nothing really. Just wanted to end with an even number.

People noticed how my desk at work was always clean at the end of the day. When writing papers in school, organizing my thoughts was never the issue. Neither was organizing my locker. If you look in my car's glove compartment, you won't be afraid that you'll lose a hand in there.

I get a thrill at just seeing things in place. I feel at peace. I feel content. If it's messy, I feel scattered. I feel wrong. I get jumpy. I just can't think straight. Normal. I didn't think much about this. So what if I think clothes should be put in rainbow order. How else do you know what you have? Books should be categorized according to subject first, then either alphabetical by author or according to size (depends on my mood). And if you take something out of place, put it back so you'll never have to hunt for things.

I've been known to leave the house late for something because things are out of order. I tend to count things too like how many grapes I put into a sandwich bag to take to work. Gotta be an even number. I suppose I have a little Monk disorder.

So here I am facing 38 - and I have no problem with that - and I find myself growing less and less tolerant of certain behaviors in others as my own compulsions come more fully into the light. To my family: Will everyone please stop coming home and dropping stuff in the middle of the kitchen floor and dumping crap on the table? Why can't the stupid towels get hung up and why do people keep asking me whose is whose when I am the only one who hangs them up in the first place - in the same places - every time?

Balance and order. That's all I want. Is that too much to hope for? I suppose it is for some. I suppose I can be over the top. I laughingly tell people the extent to which I try to balance things, just to see their heads spin. For instance, I told you my birthday. Dec. 18th. Well, Daughter's birthday is Oct. 28. Note the 8 in her number like in mine. (I picked the day so it's no coincidence. I love 8's.) I didn't pick Son's date, however. His is March 14. I didn't pick Mr. T's either. His is Jan. 4. See all the even numbers? Makes me very happy. And notice the way the birthdays fell. the 1st and 3rd month of the year for the boys. The 10th and 12th months for the girls. The balancing of the placement of the months overrides the odd number of the boys' months. (Hey! I'm letting you in my head here for a sec. No judgments!) Soooo, you might remember that a 3rd child (nope, no fourth) has always been up in the air. But I know I'd be picking that date too. How do I get my balance? Well, I'd have to get pregnant in September, first of all. It's an anniversary month so not unlikely. That way I can shoot for June 6 or 16th. Middle month, middle number. Head spinning yet? This is my world. Thanks for visiting.

Back to my patience, she is a dwindling. Take my kids (please!). My kids' rooms stay in a war-torn state and it sickens me every time I look in there. "But they're kids!" "All kids' rooms are messy!" Are they? Really? REALLY? I called my mother not long ago because I had to know. I was giving myself this same excuse in my head but for the life of me it wasn't ringing true. I couldn't remember junk being all over my floor as a kid. Now, I never liked making up a bed, I admit. But I was forever trying to find ways to make things fit neatly together so I could get to whatever I wanted fast. I distinctly remember moving things around a lot always looking for the better way. Dolls were fitted neatly on each others' laps. Games were together and boxes were in size order. My mother confirmed it. I liked everything in its place. So, this mess my kids live in? It's because this is who they are, not simply because they are kids. They will mature and get better, I know. But I will be cleaning up behind them because it's who I am and it stresses me out to do nothing about it.

Who am I? Apparently I am who I always was but I didn't know this aspect until now. But it pleases me to know that I am this way because I have always admired it in others. So now, I admire myself. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy abstract stuff too , if only because I like to try to bring order to it, in my own mind anyway. Yeah. This is me. It's a little neurotic to others but when those same people are missing something, who they gonna call? You got it. And I'll be there to answer.


Theresa said...

Hi Monica, it's been a long time, thanks for your comment on my blog.

I wish I was turning 38 too, but I'm turning even number.

The biggest mistake I made with raising my children (they are all adults now) was letting them keep their rooms a mess, the way they wanted. It didn't teach them good disipline or organization and when they got older, they are not the neatest. I wish I would have made it more important.

Glad to hear from you! We still have to get together someday since we live so close.

The *Lovely* 5FF said...

NOTE: I TRIED TO EMAIL YOU FIRST but the AOL address you have here bounced and said it had not been activated. I see no contact information anywhere and I searched awhile, so I'm posting this here, hoping you have comments set to be modified first so that only you will see it. Once you've seen it, feel free to delete. This was intended for you. Below is the email I initially sent and got back:
Hello! I happened to be searching for some info on the Kiss FM Side Hustle Wednesdays and your blog came up.

Some people seem to take offense to being corrected, so if you're one of those, sorry. However, I appreciate when others help me shine so I can't help but tap you on the shoulder and point out a misspelling. You typed: Let me here that familiar ring again. You're welcome.

On another note, I breezed through Order in My Court and girl . . . you're speaking directly to my soul! I'm not as bad about counting certain things (grapes, for instance) but I love everything in its place and a place for every little thing. Now I don't walk around my apartment as if it's a museum, however, I do have systems of my own in place that make every day life simpler. I love opening my linen closet and being able to put my hands on anything I'm looking for within seconds. Hairstyling tools, all in one bin; body care/scrubs/lotions/oils, all in one bin. The best part about it is that I can quickly tell what I need and what I have on hand. Same with my kitchen cabinets. Being that I'm limited in space, I'm limited in my storage options, but it's funny how ingrained this trait is in me. My closest friends know well, if something is bothering me, I clean extra vigorously. It's kinda like you said, I can hardly think straight if every direction I look there's something taking my attention that should not be. Just this week I've undertaken a major paper filing/shredding/sorting project and I love it when I can open my closet and tell what's in a box without even opening it. Over the years I've been an advocate for the paper free home and even went so far as to contact all my magazine subscriptions and the ones that have digital subscriptions I get online. I can now keep YEARS of magazines, cut the recipes, save the pages I want electronically and move on. My recipes have all been scanned or typed into a program so I was able to save several of my mother's favorite recipes after she passed away. I don't even own a filing cabinet anymore! Even further, when life hits me with a blow, it's ESSENTIAL that my home is in order. I definitely got that from my mom. No matter what's going on outside, at work, with friends and loved ones, when I come home, I have to feel embraced, luxurious, comfortable. Everything matters from the lighting to the cup I drink my tea or coffee from.

Nice to know I'm not the only Black woman with a organizing streak in me!

Happy Holidays! Oh, and . . . OBAMA!!!! That's all I've got to say about that!