Or so I thought

so I thought

I’ve shared with you all about how my Pinterest addiction is actually helping me in more ways than just to get organized. I was going through one of my organization checklists I found on Pinterest this past weekend and it gave me the idea to clean out the closet in my office.

Five years ago, I bought my first home (read the story here) and since then, my office has become the room where things come to die. Can’t find a place for something in the living room? Just throw it upstairs in mommy’s office and we’ll deal with it later. Sometimes it gets so bad, I have to throw everything in the closet just to make a path to get to my desk.

Organized home — here we come! I sorted through everything and I mean EVERYTHING. I looked through all the boxes that had been in there since I moved in (did I just really admit to that?). I went through everything to decide whether to keep it, donate it or throw it out.

And there they were … hidden behind the books, photo albums and moving boxes. My old journals. The place I shared my thoughts before I discovered blogging. I pulled a few books and folders out to see if I could remember what the 20-something Penney was like. Other than my physical appearance, had I changed? What thoughts were consuming me back then that I felt compelled to write about?

I sat on the floor and started to read. I couldn’t believe it – my writer’s voice was still the same and the words still brought tears to my eyes. I thought my years of experience would change the things I write about but the emotions I felt those 20 years ago are still the same.

Here’s one of the passages I wrote in 1996:

How do you get past these feelings? You feel like you’re in a place of in-between. Not in that bad place filled with anxiety and chaos but not quite at the place where you’re happy with your life the way it is. You just don’t feel like you’re there yet.

It’s like you’re trying to write out your emotions to get to a good place but this siren – like the fear – is wailing in the background. And you just can’t concentrate on the writing because the siren of the fear is making too much noise. It’s right there in your head, interrupting your thoughts and it just won’t go away.

That was an amazing moment for me. I had no idea how long I’ve been carrying this fear inside me. How much had I allowed that fear to make decisions for me? At what point was I finally able to move past it to get the strength to go through my life-changing divorce?

Things are happening right now in my business. These things seem so big to me right now that I’m afraid to write about it. If I say it out loud or I write out the words, then somehow I’ll be accountable to everyone to do these things. And then what happens if it falls apart?

That the crux of it, that’s the  fear. I fear I’ll be a failure in public. I fear that if I tell you all something that I think is so fabulous and then when it gets done, it turns out to be crap. What if I tell you about something I’m working on and it falls apart? I want to tell you about all these cool things and I probably will when I feel a good comfort level that these things will happen.

That’s the fear over 20 years later I’m still feeling. I’m still in the space in-between and it scares me sometimes that this is all there is. I’m not afraid of success. I’m afraid that I haven’t done enough to get to that place I want to be. You’d think after all these years, I’d be able to shut down that siren. I thought by this age, those fears would be gone or even confronted and dealt with to bring me to a better place.

Or so I thought.

Photo credit: keeping the thoughts warm

13 thoughts on “Or so I thought

  1. Aheavy and thought provoking post. I can empathize – and I am sure many can – with the fear you refer to. Making something public does add a certain burden.
    From what you have said, your business sounds like it is moving in a good direction. I think you have much to be proud of. I hope that someday soon you will feel good enough to share some of the details.
    P.S. I like hearing about the organization!

    • The organization feels like a cleansing in a way. I’m a big fan of trying to keep my desk clean because it feels like everything has been sorted through and will be taken care of. I get this feeling of relief and accomplishment when I get something organized, kinda like your zero emails.

      Yeah the fear thing … seems to have gotten a hold of me lately. I think I’m doubting myself but one thing has become pretty secure. I’ll share that one when I can get it all out where it makes sense. Sometimes I feel like I need to organize the thoughts in my head 🙂

  2. Organizing is cleansing. It’s losing weight too, in a concrete haul the crap out to the Dumpster sort of way. Think of it is throwing those old fears away, maybe you should toss the journals. Totally up to you. If it would be cathartic at all… I look at the junk piling up and think: Woud I want to move all this across the country? If my answer is “no”, away it goes!
    You’ve come so far this year, thanks for always sharing your honest self with the rest of us.

    • I actually thought about tossing all those journals but then decided to put them all in a storage container on the shelf. I know where they are now and I can make a decision later about what to do with them.

      Part of me didn’t want to toss them because it’s my personal history, thoughts and feelings I was going through during those times. But I do agree with you about the cleansing part of this organization kick I’m on. The folks at the Goodwill are going to know my first name by the time I’m done with all the projects I want to do around here 🙂

      I appreciate you all reading my posts. Most days I don’t really plan to write this stuff and then when I sit down and start typing, this is what comes out. This is my new version of journaling … so lucky you – you get to come along for the ride!

      • I can relate to so much of what you say. Up in my closet is the box of pictures from my first marriage, I still can’t look at them, but haven’t quite been able to throw them in the Dumpster either. Part of my youth, I guess.

      • I didn’t know you had a first marriage, thanks for sharing that about yourself 🙂

        Yeah, it feels like its a part of my history. I have books and books of these journals. I’ve been writing since I was 28 and now I’m 45 … crap, that’s a lot of years. I don’t write all the time so each book has a couple of years in it. I’ll probably toss them or do like a book cleansing bonfire one day but now, they’re back in the closet.

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