Procrastination and Chaos.... the partnership from hell

This is my year of growth. This is my year of finding my happiness. My entire life I have been a disorganized person. I was never the child who arranged their stuffed animals by type. I never folded my clothes neatly in a drawer. I’ve never had organized cleaning patterns, filing, or bill payments. I am a procrastinator through and through. I have had years and years of practice of being a disorganized mess. I am that person at work with the messy desk. Organized chaos! That is what I always tell my co-workers who stare in astonishment that I can locate any kind of paperwork at all. Do not get me wrong, I am very very good at my job. I’m just chaotic in the way I go about it.

As a child I was a “shove everything under my bed and hope no one looks under there” kind of person. I’d even neatly arrange a few boxes in the front, so that at a cursory glance everything appeared neat and organized. That is the best description I can give of myself. Seemingly well put together, but a FUCKING MESS on the inside. My father worked construction an hour away from our house. He left at 5 am every single morning and most evenings would not return home until about 5 or 6. He would be filthy, exhausted, and asleep on the couch almost immediately after dinner. He was/is a hardworking man. My mother was a stay-at-mom until I was 5 years old. She started baking cakes out of our house and selling them to friends. Her cakes became wildly popular and before you knew it this meant opening her own business. She and my dad were the only workers for the majority of the time the business was in operation. (Well and all of the free child labor. To all of the children with parents running their own small business I see you, I know your pain J) His sleeping on the couch became helping my mother bake and decorate cakes after his exhausting construction job. We were there almost all of the time. We even slept there on most weekends. The end result of all of this were two overworked parents struggling to make ends meet, who barely got to spend time at home. They were so damned tired by the time they got home, the house basically became a disorganized mess. Get home, eat, throw dishes in sink because everyone was too tired to touch them, kids go to bed, get up the next morning go to work, day after day after day. Trash piled up and laundry piled up and toys and the older we children got the worse it got. I am not blaming them for my own disorganization, I seriously just never learned it because there was never time and it was not something innate for me. I was never taught the importance or the efficiency of it. I lacked the concept that my family was a team and because of everything we had going on I needed to pull my weight and help. Instead? Instead I was just angry that our house was a mess and I as the oldest child was expected to clean it. As a result of that anger, I became better at surface cleaning, hiding messes, and doing just enough to keep my parents from getting angry with me.

So here I am, a put together person on the outside with secret chaos on the inside who was so good at hiding it that NOONE EVER CALLED ME ON IT. EVER. Do you have any idea how much anxiety this caused? People had to be very close to me to even begin to see a bit of my messiness and even when they did mention something I would get defensive or deflective. I got insanely good at changing the subject and pretending like I wasn’t a mess. I didn’t even let myself think about it. I became overly good at talking. Not action. I became reactionary and was very very good at it. Had I put just a touch of the amount of work it takes into actually organizing my life instead of hiding my problems and procrastination, I would be so much further ahead. Instead I sank into the comfort of chaos (because just like any other bad habit, the known becomes the comfortable) through friendships and relationships. I did this until, I met my husband.

How he puts up with me I do not understand because the thing about my husband? He is the most organized and logical person I have ever met in my life. I am chaotic, and emotional. We always joke that he is the tactician and I am the warrior. He looks ahead, sees the mass of chaos and tries to find the best way through the madness. I dive directly into the fray and fight my way through the masses. I fight and punch and kick. I clear my own path while he is yelling, “THERE IS A BETTER WAY!” He sees through my bullshit in a completely unapologetic way. The first time he told me I had ADD I tried very hard to deny it. He would sit there and tell me all about my intentions, my messes, my avoidance in a startling way. He didn’t buy my excuses and he called me out on everything. He did this over and over and over again for years. He saw my flaws in their most raw form. He was going through his own problems at the time and the warrior in me would never let him give up or fall completely into the dark dank hole of depression he was stumbling around. It was easy to ignore my problems and completely wrap myself up in his. More on this later but for now I will just say that recently things began looking up for him. The spotlight was back on me and my issues. Listen he says. I can help he says. Follow my lead he says. I am not used to help. I’m not used to the light at the end of the tunnel. My god is it ever hard to change 37 years of bad behavior. 37 years of constantly struggling because you just didn’t know how to fix it.

Example: Last night he offered to help clean up and organize my computer. I wanted this. I want to be better about this. However, I was scared. I wanted to clean it first. How funny after all of this time I didn’t want him to see my mess. I didn’t want him to see my flaws. How fucking stupid of me. He knows them, he sees them, he is WELL aware of them. He sees the ones I am not even aware of. I was defensive, I was guarded, I was flippant. He found messes on the computer I didn’t even know were messes. Because of my self conscious bull shit, because of my absolute FEAR and the wall I’ve built because I don’t want people to see this part of me and how truly vulnerable I am there, I managed to frustrate him to the point where a fight started. All because he tried to help me. (Insert giant sigh of regret and pain here). May I also say that he is blunt, straight-forward and honest? He doesn’t let me wallow behind my wall. He calls me out and verifiably so, because if anyone else was arguing with me I would win the fight. I can argue, god can I ever, but he is better at it. He knows me so well he is two steps ahead of the next thing I will do or say. Sorry doesn’t cut it, having a bad day is not an excuse and I need to be self-aware of my reactionary self at all times. I have an intelligent, logical, organized person here to help me become the best version of all that I am and yet my first reactions are typically that same old crap.

This is hard. I’m re-reading this and feeling like I’m being very hard on myself. Well perhaps I should be! I have plenty of things I like about myself but this blog is supposed to be about fixing my flaws and the things I have never liked about myself. So, for awhile, this will be hard. Logic tells you that getting that putting things off is a terrible idea. Chaos tells you that it’s ok, it can wait. There are more fun things to do and hey you’re tired right? You’ve had a long week, put it off until tomorrow. Then tomorrow becomes the next day and the next. Suddenly you are behind and mad at yourself for it. Just get it done. It makes life less stressful.

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