Within the walls of this house lies a secret world.
If I had set up a camera to take time-lapse pictures inside our home every day for the last four years it would show a house steadily imploding with clutter.
Now it stands like an ancient city. Hidden under layers and layers of matter. Layers and layers of time. Each layer reveals splinters of stories and relics of dysfunction.
This week I began an excavation mission. I asked my husband to take 2 weeks off work so I could do this. His mission is to hold the kids. You know that old saying Trying to clean with toddlers in the house is like shovelling snow in a blizzard? Yeah, that one. The person who came up with that has surely lived my kind of hell in the last few years.
So I got out my proverbial shovel, and started digging. I’m still digging and digging. Under these layers somewhere I’ll find it. I’m sure it’s there. Whatever it is.
So far I have discovered this…
I’m a collector. Collectors live dangerously on the edge of being hoarders. But they are also passionate and sentimental people. They are never boring.
I’m on hold. I have piles of books. I have boxes of creative projects. All waiting patiently for me. In limbo while the sheer force of toddlers is in this house. The wait has been excruciating. But it won’t be long now. I’m the cusp of creative freedom again.
I’m complex. No surprises here. But I’m owning it in a positive light. For many years my complexity was my shame. I was an oddball. Too emotional, too expressive, too fiery. So I was told. I’ll never forget the day my husband accompanied me to see a psychologist. I’d been having counselling for post-traumatic stress in the years after leukaemia. She turned to my husband at the end of the session and said “I hope you realise what a beautifully complex wife you have”. I’ve never felt so validated in my life.
Unearthing all my clutter has forced me to examine aspects of my complexity all over again. Can I improve something here? Can I throw something out there? But this time there’s no shame. I’m feeling rich.
In my excavations I also found this old picture. My sisters and I in awe of a puppet show on our front porch in Indonesia. I’ve always loved this picture. It evokes the wonder and innocence of our childhood. Life was simple then.
When I look at it I yearn for life to feel this magical and uncomplicated again.
But it isn’t. And that’s okay. What I do have is this.
I have the wonder and innocence of my own children to witness. I get to fully appreciate this with my complex adult mind. Because true appreciation of this wouldn’t be possible any other way. One can’t exist without the other.
I’m still digging. I wonder what else I will find.
I hope to discover lost journals, lost toys, lost books and lost hats. Most of all I hope I find lost time. I don’t know what I’ll do with it when I find it. But I’ll hold it tightly in my hands. And hope it never escapes so wildly away from me again.