The Victorious After

So yes, I made good use of Patriots’ Day Weekend to get my home office/goddess room in good order. I’ll toss in one glossy “After” shot right here.

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For the “Before,” you can just go back to my whiny post from Friday night. However much courage it took to post that picture 4 days ago, I do not have enough extra bravery lying around to post that embarrassing picture again….

So: rather a big change. I’m a little bit proud of myself for pulling it off.

I am also very much in witness of how strong the urge is for me to apologize for the various imperfections of this accomplishment. In the lower right corner of the picture above, you can see a couple shopping bags: those are the bags where I stuffed all the loose papers from this room. I’ll need to keep going through them, to sort out what to file/keep, what to shred, and what to toss in the recycling bin.

Considering where the room started, I can intellectually acknowledge the futility of holding myself to the standards of perfectionism. I can tell myself that it’s legitimately, objectively a victory to go from the initial pig-sty status to a room where 1 small corner has a few bags of stuff that still need to be sorted and addressed.

I tell myself that. And all at the same time, I still don’t feel as if I should be too proud of myself for doing such an imperfect job of cleaning.

And that awkward kind of half-pride, half-shame gets intensified once I cop to the quantity of stuff that I simply moved to other staging areas of the house. There is a bit of logic to that approach: I’m already using a corner of the bedroom for my slow wardrobe purge, so it’s kind of silly to have a shadow wardrobe pile in this entirely different location. And that “unpacking area” of the basement remains clutter central, so I might as well take advantage of it.

So, I feel bad for trumpeting too much of a victory here, on account of the hard truth that I didn’t so much clean as I did relocate the junk. Except, that’s not entirely true, since I filled a few bags and boxes with trash and recycling and stuff for Goodwill.

Also, there remains something very symbolically powerful to me around making a decision to prioritize my goddess room as one of the spaces in the house that deserves being kept at a core level of comfort and livability. Even if they’re messy, we still keep the kitchen, the bedroom, the living room in a state where we can actually use them: we can cook and sleep play with the dog and watch TV together. Why did it feel so unreachable for me to permit myself a similar level of imperfect beauty and function in my own space?

Actually, no need to answer that. I know why. Ye olde feminine putting-myself-last acculturation and the double-barreled shotgun of self-judgement and shame around my clutter-bug tendencies.

So, in that context, I’ve talked myself back into treating this reclaimed room as a win. Imperfect, partial, yes. Miles to go, indeed. And still: a victory worth celebrating. A gift to myself and my contentment.

A re-consecrated space.

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Image credit: Photo taken by the author, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

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