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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Life in my Head

My head feels like a disorganized three ring circus with me trying to juggle the roles of lion tamer, acrobat, (a rhythmatically-disadvantaged-mennonite-acrobat at that), clown and lion simultaneously. A train of thought begins, only to collide headlong into a vw packed with 44 monkeys twirling fire-breathing dragons. The show has begun, but there's no popcorn made, I can't find my baton, and I've just gotten a great idea for a vintage fabric circus tent. So I begin by twirling needles.

Its colourful, but dangerous.

A recurrent head theme is Clutter. It goes round and round because not only do I collect clutter in the phsysical realm, I also have a great deal of stuff rolling around figuratively, in my grey matter.

Now that "simple living" is a trendy cult, I've read enough propoganda to wonder if there's much credence to the idea of de-cluttering one's environment so that the mind can follow suit and remain on one train of thought for long enough to find some resolution. Its complicated though. I like old stuff. I like treasure hunting. I like toys- for the kids and for me. When I feel the walls closing in on me, I head out for a walk or a drive and I go see if there are any treasures for us all to enjoy. Fortunately, I donate things as freely as I replace them with others. My thrift shop pile in the garage is always high, otherwise we'd likely suffocate from stuff-itis.

Am I in some sort of a rut? Would my head clear a little if I "fasted" from this collecting obsession? The thought fills me with terror. I may as well join one of those cults where they put off going to the bathroom as some perverse attempt at self-discipline. And how many pieces of lustre ware would get away on me if I sat at home and tried to turn myself into a sensible person? How many vintage table cloths would slip by instead of becoming Mary Poppins style carpet bags? How could I possibly be happy?

In my other life in the other city, I was surrounded by the most inspired women who constantly kept me at the sewing machine churning out some exciting thing or another. I miss them severely and although I am insanely happy to be living where I am now, its a componant of my life that I miss deeply.

There's no way to sum this up.

What do you think? Is there a correlation between the stuff in one's head and the stuff in one's closets? (Well, if I had closets. I've always lived in these old, storage-free facilities.....)


Nancy said...

So is this vintage fabric / sewing thing truly an 'obsession' or something you just really enjoy? If it is something that gives you joy, then go ahead, ejoy! But...if you are trying to fill a void...if you are trying to soothe a wound...if the stuff in your closet is comforting something in your soul...than I'm afraid there is a correlation between the 'stuff in one's head and the stuff in one's closets'.

Heather said...

The cult of simple living creeps me out as much as any other cult--especially when they get spiritual in weird ways. (I can think of a few.) However there is something to say for occasionally halving what you have. It makes it easier to enjoy the great finds if you separate out the good from the great. I do it several times a year, at least. I also love collecting old things but when my mind wearies of all the stuff and figuring out what to do with it I get rid of the stuff that no longer pleases. I don't think it leads to an uncluttered mind though I do think it helps ease the mind to look around and see order, at least occasionally. :) My favorite rule (though I break it all the time) is to decide if the thing I am buying is worth getting rid of something else to keep--if it isn't then I save my money, if it is I try to remember to get rid of the item I thought it was better than. :)

self taught artist said...

What do you think? Is there a correlation between the stuff in one's head and the stuff in one's closets?

Honestly I think it is an endless, continuous journey. Having repeatedly gotten rid of everything (furniture, knick knacks) 2-3 times in my adult life, I am now at a place of having little to nothing. I too had the brain that never quit. What I have found is oddly enough, getting rid of everything is like no different than trying to quit smoking/drinking/eating too much. It is addictive and when you take away your addictions the brain usually freaks out.

Having said that, I think the more you can purge yourself of the stuff and be with the frantic thoughts and wierdness, a layer sheds.

so no, there isn't a correlation immediately in my head but over time yes. I have more time to live and experience things and really do feel lighter. More chance to explore what is behind the urges to waste time/money on crap...which leads to more passion and fulfillment.

Rosa said...

You all think to much. Just buy the stuff. Its great I love finding it in your house when I come. I love receiving it as surprise gifts and wow I can't beleive that your even questioning this .....Get out they are sucking you in those crazy clean floor neverland people come back to the hill hippie country. We just don't think so much...

Joyce said...


But, Rosa, I need you for this. Without your inspiration it just piles up and up and up and... well you get the picture. But you're right! people around here are frighteningly clean.... depressing, really.

HeatherCE said...

Come to my house Joyce, it isn't so clean.
BUT... I do think it helps to unclutter my mind if I unclutter a closet. Not every closet though, that's madness of a different sort.

pluckymama said...

Clutter suffocates me. I hate it. It makes all the clutter in my head feel even more cluttered. If buying "stuff" to fill a void is something you're doing often then I don't think it's healthy. When I'm stressed I do enjoy browsing in shops but I never buy anything because then I'd have more clutter.

Ruth said...

:) I'm not clean....!!!...and i won't even mention that my garden is full of weeds and i must have at least 2 boxes of cheerios laying ALL OVER MY FLOOR.

i am hoping....praying that the answer to your last question is a "no". but i can't be certain....


Judy said...

It was a real bugger packing up all my stuff to move, but I LIKE my stuff.

Like you, I give a lot of it away and also re-thrift. I feel good about that.

But, I pretty much know where everything is in my head.

It's in my head-file marked "I'll think about it tomorrow."

Rosa said...

I figure that this pile of egg cups teetering on my monitor, 14 wicker baskets pilled on my schooling cupboard and 407empty frames rammed on one counter or the other spells out pretty much how my brain is .. but what the heck I say keep em quessing. Hey Joyce you better get down here the gin is runnin low in the barrel.

Anonymous said...

Why would you want to change something that is so I am not a "clutter bug" and sometimes I feel as if I must be the most boring person on the planet. I think we all need some clutter, either in our heads or in our homes, or both. Come to think of head is jam pack full of clutter, maybe I should start cluttering up my home...might bring me more joy..?? See, you're an inspiration!

Joyce said...

well, this has been fun, and enlightening. Your perspectives are different but they are all true. When I say that I like clutter, its "intentional" clutter that I refer to. ie collections of pitchers on my buffet, or lustre ware creamers on my china cabinet. Yet, all of you had something helpful to say, plus I got a few laughs to boot!

(I did stuff another two garbage bags yesterday with STUFF that I don't think the kids will miss. Why give away my stuff when its theirs that annoys me?!)

homo escapeons said...

I think that most people have some stuff..pffft!..I mean TONS OF CRAP that needs to stay in the closet where it can remain out of sight & out of mind whilst entertaining guests.

If we dealt with "everything" in a timely manner we would be so boring and 'together'.

Have you noticed that modern houses are built with ten times the amount of closet space that our grandparent's generation required! Obviously they were too busy to squirrel away any secrets...oops!
That's just great I killed my theory!

Which means that thanks to five decades of Pop Psychology in Cosmo & Good Houskeeping we moderns celebrate lives supposedly unemcumbered with secrets, and play out in the open with our warts exposed for everyone to enjoy ...
but we still need MORE closet space?

Anonymous said...

I need some stuff to look at - otherwise I sit and think about death.