Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Getting deep, with socks...

So the kitchen is still on it’s way. The tile has been grouted. But sometimes we find a spot that needs adjusting on the fill, and have to go back. Then we need to seal the grout and caulk around all the edges of things. I posted a teaser photo on Instagram. I’d like to wait until at least the caulk is in before I blog it. Just for that wow factor caulk provides. (The stuff is magical.) And the room still needs more touches after that, but I figure I don’t want to keep you waiting forever.

Anyway, in the mean time, I thought I’d write up this random post on socks.

The thing I find really interesting, is that it took me a really long time to do this silly little change. This sock arrangement is something I have wanted to do for at least four years, maybe longer. But so much inner dialogue stopped me from doing it. And it’s JUST socks.

And that’s a big part of why I’ve been so quiet on the blog... stuff like this. I’m a work in progress right now, and it’s a very delicate place I’m in. So delicate it messes with socks. (ha!) And well, everything.

    It’s just been a time for reprieve from eye balls for me. The last few years have been a lot to manage, and managing them in front of people was even more to manage. The back to back sequence of my difficult pregnancy, followed by my brother’s death created a situation that made me feel simultaneously alone, yet entirely too checked-in on. It started creating this situation where I was depending on the blog for an outlet of my real self, and I wasn’t finding people in person to be that real with. And then when I would be that open and real on the blog, it would cause a whole lot of chain of reactions from relatives who started to worry about me. It was hard to convey that I was fine, I just was processing. And the processing’s value was over powered by the energy it took to constantly deal with everyone’s feelings but my own. I finally had to take stock of this and realize that in order to value myself I needed to shift this dynamic.
     I have. Quite a bit actually. I’ve found people to be real with in person. I’ve started valuing myself. And I’ve been quiet in the places where I’ve needed that space to heal. 
     A lot (but not all) of that space has been online. Its been really good for me. And honestly if I could go back in time, I would have NEVER signed up for Facebook. Oh the complications I could have kept out of my life! I signed up as soon as I got married. And soon after that I was a mom. I hadn’t figured out social media yet. It was WAY too much pressure on this girl in those new situations. I wish I could have lived my life without knowing who could get their pre-maternity pants on before me, and who was getting whole nights of sleep before me, and all the ways I was “doing it wrong” in mommy-war-world. I could have just been myself, quietly in my own house, in my own world, minding my own business, totally unaware of how I measured against anyone but myself. Wouldn’t that have been nice?
    That’s not to say, this kinda stuff stresses everyone out. It doesn’t. But it stressed me out. And due to a lot of my own stuff I brought to the table. 
     I was carrying around a lot of things. But the biggest heaviest thing I was carrying was the idea that I had a say in how other people feel. Not just that I had a say in it, but that I was often a major impactor of other people’s feelings. And not just that. But that I had an all encompassing job in life, to do everything I could to not negatively impact anyone, in any way, by anything I did.
   (Now there is a bit of truth in this large concept. Like walking up to people and saying awful things about them would not be a good way to live. Or constantly talking poorly about people when they aren’t there, also not a good way to live. And, yes, I do impact the people I live with, with the way I treat them.)
   But my deal was not that stuff. I thought this responsibility was SO MUCH MORE than that. I thought if any action I took brushed against anyone at all, in any small "wrong way", I had committed an atrocious sin. 
    The easiest example was my weight loss. I couldn’t see myself losing weight, as possibly inspiring anyone else to make healthy choices. I could only see how I “caused” jealousy. (Lesson -- I didn’t cause that feeling.  I have no control over how anyone reacts to anything. They are the ones who decide how to react to things.)
    But this same thing was down DEEP in my bones. So deep that I couldn’t agree to be myself in many areas. Because... what if myself, was the most hurtful thing in the universe? What if my very being was unbearable?
    It’s the strangest thing, really. Because in tons of areas, I’ve been totally ok with not being “the norm.” (Like a lot of people think my house purchase and subsequent years of making it over, is crazy. And that didn’t EVER phase me. This is my choice and I love it.) But in other, sometimes unexplainable, random things, I’ve been paralyzed.
     It’s actually less strange than it initially seemed to me. Things like my house, which caused people to think I was crazy, were easy for me -- because thinking someone is crazy is not jealousy. Most things I’ve been afraid to do or be are things I was afraid that people could be jealous of. And my concept of what might make a person jealous was fairly enormous. And if it wasn’t jealousy I was afraid of, it was irritation. If I was afraid my choice could irritate someone, I was afraid to take hold of it, or at least say that I did. And my concept of what might irritate person jealous was fairly enormous. So I’ve boxed so much of myself in. All while thinking I wasn’t because “Look at me, I can makeover a house, and DIY thrift store shorts…. I do weird stuff other people don’t  -- so clearly I’m, me.” 
     (Now I will say, on big things I’ve over-rode this protocol. Like when I chose to do a home birth or home school. Even if that brushed many people the wrong way. For big things I can power through because I can look at the big picture and say it’s worth it. But for little things I didn’t see myself as valuable enough to do it then. If it’s not changing the course of my life, well let’s not bother rocking the boat. But enough small things add up to start impacting a life.)
     It’s taken me some time to examine my way of looking at life, hold it up to the light and start to see it more realistically.
   And it’s been really relieving.
    I’ve been able to set a lot of false guilt down. I’ve been able to start letting go of what’s not mine to control. (Guys, it’s been SO good, finding out I’m not supposed to be responsible for stuff, that I’m not responsible for! Do any of you know how exhausting that is, carrying stuff that’s not in your control? It’s physically heavy. I came home from counseling one day, honestly floating -- like when you take roller skates off, after a day at the roller rink -- because I was given permission to let a HUGE weight go.)
   It’s not always easy to leave these things set down. After I set each idea down, initially everything inside of myself says “You know, that actually IS yours to carry. PICK IT BACK UP!” I can’t even begin to tell you how hard that battle is. Panic attacks and withdrawal symptoms hard. Some of the heaviest lifting I’ve ever done. (All so I could NOT carry something. So ironic.)

     And that’s part of my quietness online too. Just battling myself over here.
     But I’m starting to win.
     And I’m starting to change. 
     And I’m starting to breathe.
     And I’m starting to figure out who I am, when I don’t need to be this undefinable entity that’s impossible to be. An entity who’s main goal was to basically be unseen because I thought being seen was hurtful. I’m starting to see my general being isn’t a weapon of mass destruction, just on the verge of decimating all in it’s path. (Honestly, that what I thought I was doing when I lost the weight. Or made a big purchase. Or walked out of the house looking nice.) And so I’m starting to accept my general being enough to ask myself: what do I really like, what do I really want, who do I really want to be? I don’t even know the answers to those questions yet. But I’m starting to. 
     I’m starting to see that being who God made me, is the point of him making me that way. It’s not selfishness or hurfulness. It’s not a determent to other’s. It’s a gift to them.
     (Guys, my Meyer’s Briggs profile is starting to shift. Like this is major change.)

ALL this major change….
leads me to socks.
I’m letting myself, be me.
And well, me hates trying to match up socks. ESPECIALLY, and mostly, because the mysteries of the laundry cycle mean about 60% of our socks don’t have a match most the time.

I have wanted to, for years, switch to all white socks. No matching up required. If one get’s lost, it’s not going to impede the finishing of the laundry.

What was keeping me tied to these socks?
The idea that I’d disappoint anyone. Such as:
  • Anyone whoever gave us socks, at anytime. Or who’d like to give us socks in the future.
  • My kids. Who might miss some of these socks.

Issue #1: Anyone who ever gave us socks.

          Reasons why it’s still ok to be done with these socks:
  • Having a different set of standards doesn’t equal ungratefulness.
  • People’s joy comes from giving, what the Receiver does after that isn’t in the Giver’s hands.
  • True gifts have no strings attracted. 
  • You are not obligated to receive gifts with strings attached
  • Not all these socks were gifts. We bought many of these ourselves, due to (on my end) fear of accepting and saying what I really want. (And it’s ok to own that, release that, forgive that, and move on.) 
  • It’s ok to let go of belongings that are no longer needed and wanted/ working their intended purpose.

Issue #2: My kids might miss the socks.

          Reasons why it’s still ok to be done with these socks:
  • Initially I was afraid of limiting my kids things in general. I have brought up at many points in counseling different categories, and subcategories, of things I’ve been afraid that if I limit, or eliminate, because I’m afraid that I will somehow negatively impact my kids childhoods. And each time we talk through how I’m not actually depriving my kids of any legitimate needs. That it’s ok to help kids learn stuff by initially doing it for them -- because that’s the role of a parent, to be the role model.  Part of my job as a parent is helping them learn to manage their things. And we’ve discussed how that gives them a solid base for adulthood perceptions of things and money. (I actually never brought up the socks in counseling. I’ve gone through enough other random goofy things questions that I was able to process the socks on my own this time. lol)
  • My kids’ natural instinct is to be hoarders. (Are all kids? I don’t know. Probably not because certain of my kids are much more prone to hoarding than others.) I’d literally be on that show if I saved everything they wanted to save. One of them, as a two year old, had a "special collection" of empty granola bar wrappers. (And that tuned crazier by the day as we had to start opening the granola bars with scissors as to not “hurt” the pictures when tearing it open) Before I even knew it was happening, a whole drawer had been filled up with wrappers. Actual garbage is painful for them to get rid of. She would weep over these things. (And I know the difference between two year old tantrum, and actual mourning. Highly Sensitive Toddlers are something.) It’s been a learning curb for me figuring how, and when, to rip the band aid off in every “thing” area of our lives -- so as to not worry they will actually be on that show themselves as adults, while not breaking their spirits in the process. But I can safely say, that now we have a good working relationship with each other -- she trusts me not to remove more than she can handle, and she’s starting to feel safe to remove things herself as well. It’s been a good journey. I saw the socks as an extension of this journey.
  • I was worried I’d stifle their self expression. After thinking about it -- I had to accept that it’s ok to not express yourself in EVERY way. They don’t NEED to express themselves with socks. And if that’s a deep seated desire in them, they can have that as something to look forward to later in life. (Either as adults, or perhaps when they do all their own laundry at home, well see.)
  • I’m actually giving my kids the gift of more independence in this laundry maneuver. I want to get them involved in more self care and home care now, so that later in life it’s second nature and easy. This simplification of socks makes them more capable of doing more of the laundry on their own. And they actually do appreciate that.
  • I actually left a very limited few “other” socks in their drawers for special occasions. So they don’t have to wear white socks if it will look terrible.

So yeah, after I weighed all that out (Which is again comical. Because LOTS of moms are already on this limited sock train, without the raging internal debate.) I got out ALL the socks and did all the dirty laundry, and matched everything I could up. Pulled my select few special socks out. And bagged up the rest.
Went to Target and bought some white Cat & Jack socks in two varieties. 
These ankle socks for the girls. They pass their sensory inspection -- which is saying something! And the ankle has a sweet detail for a little cuteness. I bought them in medium, which can fit both girls (It’s a little big on my five year old, but it works.) I bought 3 packs for both kids. I figured that’d make sure I’m not cutting it close on laundry slow moments.
And these fold over socks in 2T for my two year old. For now I just bought one pack. For some reason his sock consumption is slower. But might add, if necessary.

Then I figured, while I’m at it, lets try something new. 

We only need socks when we are headed out the door. 
And then it always turns into wasted minutes going back upstairs to get them. 
So I decided to try keeping them in the coat (and shoe) closet.
So far (one week in) it’s been pretty great, and very easy.

I just put a mason jar in the laundry room to hold any single sock, until another shows up. (It will be SO EASY when one does!)

I’m really happy I finally did this. 
My brain has one less sound in it.
As soon as I did this, I felt a deep peace.
These little things bring me so much joy because it clears up so much space inside me, and so much of my time, for what matters. 
The kids did complain for a minute about their only being white. But it was over pretty fast. I let them know we’d keep a limited few other socks upstairs. 

They really do like that it’s so simple to get outside now.

 And they are excited to help with laundry so they liked this easy set up.

(I may get a second bin if it gets tricky having the girl and boy socks mixed together. So far it’s been fine.)

And if ever we are deal with more sizes at once...
I’ve seen the idea of adding color coded thread to the toes. That’s a good idea, I may incorporate if need be.

My five year old (the one who’s most sock-sensory-picky) acted very stressed about the size being generous (but it’s probably only a couple months before she’d need this size and the small would be too small.) But after two days she’s not said anything.

I haven’t given away our other socks yet. Just packed them up and hid them. JUST IN CASE. I don’t know what would make us need them. But I just feel like I need to try this system out a bit before giving the other socks away.

But yeah. That’s my SUPER in depth thoughts on socks. (And my brain.)
Hope you enjoyed the random vulnerability, while waiting on my kitchen. :)

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