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I mean, of course, that I am drowning in physical clutter.  My house has enough “stuff” for three houses of its size and at least six people when there are only three.

I am also drowning in other types of clutter – philosophical, mental, psychological, habitual and any other type of clutter you might be able to name!

I am overwhelmed in nearly every area of my life and I’m not sure how to begin to address them all so I allow myself to be stagnated everywhere instead of doing the sensible thing and tackling one area at a time.  How do I choose where to begin??!!

I know – just pick a spot and start.  I’ve spent so many years preparing for

  • losing weight
  • getting healthy
  • eating right
  • cleaning my house
  • organizing my house
  • writing a blog
  • writing a novel
  • being a better friend
  • being a better daughter
  • being a better sister
  • being a better wife
  • being a better mother
  • ____________
  • ____________
  • ____________

that I am now virtually paralyzed by information.  I have all sorts of good ideas and, as a dear friend of mine tells me, “Margaret, you’re telling me what you’re GOING to do again instead of DOING it!”  I wish I could say that she is wrong but I cannot.  She is absolutely correct.

So, <deep breath>, my sister is coming on Monday.  In an unfortunate turn of events, she is without a job at this juncture of her life.  I’ve written before about her being one of the kindest sisters in the universe.  That is true.  What I have not yet told you is that I can often only acknowledge her kindness in retrospect.

She is, well, that is to say, she CAN be, um, blunt.  You see, for each “dreamer” and “diva” cell which inhabit my body, my sister has two “pragmatist” cells.  There is very little room for sentiment in her world.  She has mellowed over the years but that is the basic truth of my beautiful, baby sister.  In our childhood/young adult world of labels, she was the responsible one with the common sense.  (She was also the pretty one but that is another issue for another day.)  Many people who have known us for some time presume that she is my elder sister because of the differences in our countenances.  My sister is much more guarded than am I.

Monday is the first day of a new way of life for me.  I am sure that when my beloved sister leaves, I will have shed many tears, thrown away many things with which I thought I could never part and have a house (and mind) in much better order than when she arrived.

She will have said things which hurt my feelings.  Unintentionally, to be sure – as she is one of those who “doesn’t take things personally” and doesn’t think I should, either.  A lifetime of interaction with her has shown me, finally, that some people really don’t understand that their words hurt others.  A lifetime of interaction with me has begun, finally, to show her that others can be hurt by the words she “didn’t mean personally”.

I will have hurled words at her in anger with an intent to hurt her feelings.  If I am successful, I will never know.  If I do, if she allows me to see her pain, if she can share a piece of herself, that will be a breakthrough for her emotionally.  I don’t expect it – she thinks I “don’t mean things personally.”

Life is about learning, loving, changing, growing and the stories that come from all of these.  As sisters, we have a lifetime of these stories and we add more with each chance to get together.  This week, she’s coming to help me because I need her.  I will get mad at her, she will get mad at me, we will learn something – about one another, about ourselves – and after a while, we won’t be angry anymore.  We will start and finish as loving sisters.  One day, in the not so distant future, she will need me for something (not to organize her house) and I will go there.  And the cycle of life will repeat itself with a bit more self-awareness on each person’s part each time.

Is this healthy?  Is this what happens in most or all families?  I don’t know and I really can’t say.  It’s what happens with us.  We are the adult children of abuse.  My beloved sister doesn’t see it as abuse but she doesn’t have to for it to be the truth.  We are part of a multi-generational legacy of addiction, alcoholism, abuse, and undiagnosed and self-medicated mental illness.  If our lives are slightly off-kilter, it’s only reasonable.

On Monday, and through next week, if you think about us, pray for us (or send us some positive, Pagan energy).  The Dreamer and the Pragmatist will be trying to find a way to peaceably begin the process of “uncluttering” the Dreamer’s heart.  We are starting with her physical space but I doubt the week will leave either’s psychic space untouched.