Tick Tock

It's drives my husband crazy when we go to bed, but I find the sound of a ticking clock very comforting and relaxing. Perhaps it reminds me of my mother's heartbeat in utero? I don't know. It just is what it is.

(borrowed from Ananse Productions' website, ananseproductions.com)

So perhaps it's ironic that right now the ticking of the clock, the passage of time, is drawing itself out and making me anxious. Over a month ago, Dr. Chabaud and I sent a proposal to the Institute on Compulsive Hoarding and Cluttering to present during the break-out sessions during their upcoming International Conference in San Francisco on children of hoarders. Dr. C is a sought-after speaker and is already scheduled to present at several conferences this spring and summer, and together, we feel as though our proposal is very strong. Quite simply, we're going where the conferences on hoarding have not yet gone. We're the first, and honestly, I don't think anyone else has the data!

But waiting is, as is so often is...the hardest part!  TICK, TOCK!

I have reminded myself over and over of all the cliches:

Good things come to those who wait....
...No word is still good...
...They can't reject me, only the proposal.
But I still have a low level of anxiety and nervousness that we won't be chosen.

So to make it through the next 36 hours, I have to try something new to calm my mind.

I am reminded of my great fear of rejection. In school as a kid, I was always the last one picked for team sports. I learned early that I wouldn't have people "choosing" to sit by me, so I'd wait and be coy until most people had picked their seats and then choose mine. In new situations, I'd always hang back and watch people to judge first who was low-risk (thus safe) to approach and avoid those who seemed high strung. That is who I thought I was, the one afraid of rejection and just not quite worthy of acceptance and love.

But slowly, over the last two years, day by day I've identified the things within me that were broken, or at the very least inefficient and sought to create a better life for myself. That has included doing some pretty scary things, things that left me "out there" alone and in a prime location for rejection. I've gone from the girl who told half-truths to hide the family secret to a beautiful woman who openly admits and names the pink elephant in the living room.

How did I do that? By learning my true value, embracing it even when I would rather rest on the old lies from the past, and telling myself over and over and over again that I can be the person I want to be. I have returned to the early childhood stage and moved from my ideal self to my real self and embraced that girl.

Sure, the ideal self would be great, but she just might be intimidating to others. I mean, if I'm intimidated by others who appear to be more put together and yet still have flaws, how would the realization of an ideal self make me appear to other people? In fact, I think one of my greatest strengths is that I know the fear of rejection and try to be as open to others as I'd want them to be to me. But that has taken lots of work. It's taken weeks and months of telling myself in my head, "If you were new here, you wouldn't care who came up and introduced themselves and showed interest. They are really no different than you are." And slowly, I've become the one who steps out and introduces herself first, breaking the ice.

See...this is already making me feel better. Because I realize that is exactly what submitting the proposal is like. It's being the first to introduce themselves. It's saying, "Hi, we're children of hoarders and this affects us too! Please let me share with you what this is like for me too! I'm not invisible. Just give me a few seconds of your time. I might just be the missing key to the problem!"

So...TICK TOCK...I continue to wait for word.

What is one of the things you still struggle with, a pattern that you know is broken but you still return to? How can you start by finding a different way to look at things or do them? What do you need to keep you moving forward? Please share!


Teresa said…
I have struggled with too much stuff for all of my adult life. I am an adult COH who began to hoard (although not nearly as severely as my parents) when I was still young, as that was what I thought was normal. I have worked at being a non-hoarder, with varying success. My best time has been over the past 6 months. By fluke last fall, I came across an idea for chipping away at the clutter, and I began to call it my 2000 Things List. I got rid of just over 2000 things from my house between September and December, 2011, and I am doing it again this year. I also decided to set up a blog to talk about the List, my hoarding influences, and my successes (www.The2000Things.com). 2000 things out of my house is not a lot, but it is making me think differently about what I do with my possessions and what I bring into my house.

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