car wreck

(just in case you can't tell what this is a bad iphone picture of me going through a car wash)

Lately I have been a bigger mess than normal.
My house is a wreck. My flowerbeds are scary.
My shower has things growing in it.
I’m forever behind at work.
I’m not doing the things that I usually do well.
I am in the middle of about 6 books but am not close to finishing any of them.
I didn’t give up anything for Lent.
I am not following through on some of my relationships.
I’m posting less. And reading less.  And running less. And praying less. And sleeping less. And wasting more time than ever.
So I took Friday off to stay home and grade papers and clean my house and try and get on top of a few things in my life so that I could feel a little less overwhelmed.

And I had a great day. I slept in a little. I got coffee. I took coffee to some friends that I hadn’t talked to in a while. I picked up for a little while. I graded for a little while. I took a short run. I shaved my legs. I attempted a nap. I wrote a blog post. I did lots of little bits of things but somehow still managed to accomplish mainly nothing. And still felt overwhelmed. Even though everything in my life is pretty good and relatively stress free.

I’ve mentioned before that I have shame issues about my car.  Big shame issues. I’ve even posted pictures before. And my car is only worse now than it was then.
And I meant to tackle it on Friday. And then again for the rest of the weekend. But somehow never made it past the cupholders.

So last night I got a trash bag, a new canister or cleaning wipes and went to town. My husband asked if I was alright and even checked my forehead for a fever.  And a few minutes into the front seat, after finding a book I thought I’d lost, I was ready to quit. This was going to take forever and I’d at least cleared out a place for a passenger to sit. But I kept throwing away and sorting and wiping.  And sometime, right about when I was ripping out carseats and shaking for loose teddy grahams, it started to feel really good.  I was making progress and could actually see my floorboards. And I’ve never been the girl that likes to clean, that gets that happy satisfied feeling when she vacuums. I hate it. I’ve always hated it. But something about reclaiming my car started to clear out some space in my head. 

I filled almost an entire bag with trash, went through a whole canister of wipes and found the following: 3 pairs of earings, 13 books, 4 hotwheels, 11 mix cds, 1 my little pony, 2 pairs of sunglasses, my school id that I had lost, 3.79$ in change, 5 mateless socks, 1 watch, a starbucks giftcard that I’m crossing my fingers has some money on it, a winning scratchoff lottery ticket (no jackpot but 4$ is 4$), more legos than I can count and all kinds of other crap and unidentifiable food items.

The sun had long gone down. My kids were in their pjs piled into my bed watching Star Wars. Again. And I drove off to the carwash and to vacuum out my car. I splurged on the deluxe and vacuumed until I ran out of quarters.

And my car is still kind of gross. So many drinks have been spilled on my seats that they will never be the same again. I couldn’t get all the ick out of the cupholders and the vacuum wouldn’t reach a few places between the seats. But, someone could get in and I wouldn’t have a panic attack.

This morning after getting ready for work I walked out and got into my car. And somehow overnight, I had forgotten. Kind of like a dramatic new haircut that surprises you again in the morning.
My car wasn’t a complete disaster anymore. And something in my heart began to feel just a little bit less cluttered and overwhelmed. Me and my car both felt a little more presentable. And one thing I kept thinking was, all of those things I found in my car…things that I thought were lost or knew were there just couldn’t get to…I wonder how many things are like that for the rest of me.  And makes me ask the question, if I get rid of the mess. At least some of it…what am I going to find?


Young Mom said...

Oh I feel you on the grungy car. I tend to let it go during the winter because I don't feel like cleaning a car in -40 weather. But come spring, the deep freeze no longer keeps smells at bay, and suddenly the remains of that hamburger and the wet diaper stuffed into the back seat pocket start to overwhelm the garage. :(

Kate said...

I was forced to clean my car last week. I was ferrying around another mom and kid. The kind of mom who's own car is ever spotless. I didn't get to the car wash. Or vacuum. I winced a little, but, I did get the trash out.

It's amazing how much better I feel less crowded by the clutter. My brain works. My sleep comes more easily. I have patience. But, gosh, I hate to clean.

katy said...

I am one of those people who has a physical stress response to being surrounded by clutter. (It's been amplified by marrying someone who is also this way.) That doesn't mean we don't still have piles of junk around our house at times. And my car can look like a bomb went off before I tackle it. But I've found that as I'm surrounded by more and more clutter, I become an uglier and uglier version of myself. Angry, frustrated, huffy, quicker to snap at my family. Frequently tossing the junk is a "must" in our house, in order for us to function well and stay emotionally healthy. Mess just creates too heavy a weight on my shoulders.

Kristin said...

I love how honest this post is. Most people hide their junk--the physical and that mental--but you lay it all out there. Thank you for being you.