We've all read or seen Marie Kondo's sensational work, in which she helps otherwise productive and sensible people, conquer their overwhelming organizational woes with a touch of magic and an extraordinary amount of intention and effort, haven't we?
If you haven't, Quarantine Season's gotta be the IDEAL time to cozy up with another cup of tea and donning the same fuzzy socks you've been wearing for the last 5 days...errr, weeks(??) while hanging with Tiger King and catching up with Jamie and Claire Fraser.
I know we are all thinking, "NOW could be the time to get inspired to tackle our OWN "to-do" piles that have been amassing steadily, and have been waiting for the next 3-day holiday weekend, when we have "more time on our hands," Right!? ....right?
Well, When else in our lives, will we be forced to be so intimately acquainted with our clutter, AND not have have any convenient "time conflicts" to avoid them?!
::::Jeopardy Theme Plays::::
Fair warning: If you do decide to watch Marie Kondo smash closets, drawers and garages and turn them into something even Real Simple magazine would be envious of, no amount of hand sanitizer or toilet paper will spare you from catching the KonMari bug!
Wah- Wahhhhh.... hahaha! Let's get to the real point of this post, though.
In her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo testifies to the transformative power of self-discipline, intentionality, and gratitude as tools for creating a peaceful and joyful way of being. Asking if an item "sparks joy" is the sieve through which each item must pass, in order keep it in your life. If it doesn't pass the test, you must thank the item, then do away with it! "Cute! But, what does this have to do with you, Megan," you ask?!
Well, other than the fact that, ethically and probably legally, I had to give Kondo credit for the reference to her book in the title of this blog post, I had an epiphany yesterday...
Not the kind of "Eureka!" type of epiphany that happens when you are hit on the head with a falling apple and suddenly you know secrets of the universe, but rather, an epiphany that happens quietly, when you realize this was something you "knew, in theory," but had to learn for yourself, and now you get it! You understand why the string quartet kept playing on the deck of the Titanic, or why the ladies powdered their noses and applied lipstick after the Titanic had struck the ice burg (class and social issues aside). People needed to feel a sense of normalcy to help them cope when life feels out of control. By putting on lipstick, you are doing something YOU can control. Having some control makes us feel less helpless. In this time of such uncertainty and anxiety, with routines disrupted and lack of connection to many of the people and things, of which we care, the most....
NORMALCY IS MEDICINE. NORMAL IS MAGIC.
Having some control can help us feel a sense of purpose, and a sense of purpose keeps hope and optimism alive.
A healthy dose of magic can transform us from helpless by-standers, trapped in our houses (that somehow get smaller by the day, amirite?), to optimistic princesses with, like a half a mile of hair, who converse with birds, or get mice to help us with chores, all while whistling a happy tune!
...No? That's not your brand of fantasy?
Ok, how about more like the calculating and patient, Edmond Dantes, the Count of Monte Cristo, who masterminds a genius revenge plot, while he was social distancing? See? Purpose!! It gets you through some shit!
Now, I love my long periods of alone time, but like most people, I also need connection, especially if it includes coffee, tea and soulful conversation with people I care about. I've always wondered how long I could be content to sit and laze about without it really affecting me... As it turns out... it's about one menstrual cycle. Ha!
Ohhh, the water works have opened up the last few days, folks! I haven't cried much during this whole social distancing experience, but this week the novelty has worn off and I just miss "NORMAL." I miss having purpose and direction and I miss my kids. Since I live with people who are still working outside of the home-- one being a cashier, my kids, my ex and I figured it was safest to have the children stay with their dad, where there would be very minimal exposure to the coronavirus, instead of passing them back and forth. None of us have health insurance. Need I say more? And man... its rough. I feel like I am missing out on helping them through this, and being able to snuggle them whenever I want. I miss the day to day, helping with learning and cooking them meals. Anyway... Easter was coming up and I needed a few little things from the store, so...
--I took a shower.
--I blow-dried and curled my hair
--I put on make-up
--I put on skinny jeans, a BRA (I know, right?!) and a sweater.
--Yo... I even put on a little fragrance oil called "Persian Garden."
Where did I go?
I went to Dollar Tree. Yep. Dollar Tree.
No one but I knew I had on lipstick, because I had on a face mask, like everyone else. But, after I got home, changed back into my sweat pants, put on my plush robe and the fuzzy socks I called YOU out for wearing, (hahahahahahahaha!) I looked in the mirror, and felt kinda cute in my pandemic attire.
I put together Easter baskets, just like I have done every year, but this time I didn't sneak off into a locked bedroom to fill plastic eggs with treats, since my kids were miles away. I sat up a little bit taller on the sage green microfiber couch as I watched The Intern, (starring Robert DiNero and Anne Hathaway ...highly recommend, by the way) with my mama. (The silver lining to all of this is being able to build a relationship with my mom, which I never really had.)
Seeing long, coiled locks of hair on my shoulders, in my periphery and feeling the silkiness of lipstick on my lips as I watched a cute movie, I felt a spark of joy, like I had been intentional, and had accomplished something that day and I felt grateful. Grateful that family and I are safe, and even though I can't be with my kids, they know I love them and they are being well taken care of.
Getting dressed might seem like something trivial, in the grand scheme of things, true. But, by putting in the extra effort, I did accomplish something NORMAL. And when normal is starting to feel like a scarce commodity...
...Normal can be magic.