Cleaning out the closet

It’s my first full day at home, and in light of the fact that I will be immobile due to wisdom teeth surgery tomorrow, I’m trying to get things cleaned.

Since returning from studying abroad a year ago, I haven’t been home for more than a week at a time.  Due to this, my bedroom has become a dumping ground, a corner to shove things in as I transition from place to place in life.  After a year, it’s gotten pretty out of hand.

The thing about cleaning out your closet is that I’m not only discovering things I didn’t know I had, but am relearning things about myself that you had forgotten.  Rifling through the pages of middle school notes, sketchbooks, and attempts at poetry make me feel like I am meeting the younger version of myself.  I’m finding things I used to be passionate about.  I discovered a couple passive aggressive letters my best friend wrote me in high school where she apologetically tells me everything she hates about me.  Reading through her words, I think about how much I have changed and wonder if, deep down, I’ve really changed at all.

Confronting my past is actually very useful because my main goal over break is to figure out what the future holds.

Sentimentality aside, it will be great to actually be able to use my closet, desk, and dresser again.  It’s a long process.  The main portion of my room is currently dirtier than it was when I began.  I’m covered in dust from pulling things from corners and shelves that haven’t been touched in years.  But progress is being made!  I dragged my younger brother with me to WalMart earlier this afternoon to buy organizers and I’ve put together three bags of old clothes to donate.

It sure will be great to have a clean room again!

When was the last time you cleaned out your closet?  Did you find anything surprising?

If I were a villain, this would be my tragic backstory

I.

You know the paper that goes around muffins and cupcakes?  At six years old, I was convinced that they looked like sunflowers.

One day during kindergarten, my mom packed me a muffin.  When I finished eating, I boldly approached Mrs. Hopkins and gave her the paper.  I was filled with the can’t-sit-still anticipation that six-year olds feel when something wonderful is about to happen.  My heart glowed as I watched my teacher inspect my thoughtful gift.  Her expression, though, was not one of pleasure.  Disgusted, she demanded “Why are you giving me garbage?”

I tried to explain that it wasn’t garbage–it was a sunflower!  It was a beautiful, thoughtful gift!

She threw it away.

I was crushed

II.

When I was eight, I desperately wanted a pet fish.  Around this time, it just so happened that my second grade teacher’s classroom goldfish had babies.  Mrs. Anderson told me that I could have one when they got bigger.

Determined to become a fish owner, I went home and did as much research as possible.  I inspected my dad’s old fish tanks that were in our pole barn (all broken) and scoped out the pet section of Wal-Mart for potential bowl accessories  (Castle?  I think, yes.)  My parents were hesitant, but I assured them that I would feed them every day and clean the tank once a week.  Grudgingly, they agreed.

Every day, I pestered Mrs. Anderson about the fish.  She had placed the babies in a separate bowl.  I’d gaze at their tiny bodies swimming about and constantly asked: “Are they big enough?”  “Are they big enough?”  “When can I take mine home?”

One day, Mrs. Anderson combined the fish bowls.

The mom and dad ate the babies.

To this day, I have never owned a fish.

III.

In middle school, I had to take this class called F.A.C.S.–also known as Family and Consumer Science.  Each week, you’re given a partner and assigned to a station.  At these stations, you learn practical life skills like budgeting, marketing, child care, how to properly set a table, cooking, etc.

One week, I was about thirteen at the time, I was assigned the sewing section.  The task was to make a wall hanger with pockets using the sewing machine.  At the end, we attached a wooden rod and string to our creations so we could hang them up at home.

All week, I battled that machine.  It was a long, valiant struggle, but I made the best wall hanger I possibly could.  I even decorated it with permanent markers, spelling my name in colorful block text.  I knew that my project wasn’t anything amazing–nothing like the spectacular wall-hanger that I saw Lisa making the week before.  But I had worked hard, and I was proud of my accomplishment.

At the end of the week, I presented my wall-hanger to my teacher (also named Mrs. Anderson) for my grade.  She was a kind-hearted, soft-spoken woman and I expected a “well done” for my efforts.

That’s not what happened.

Mrs. Anderson looked down at my sewing project…

And she laughed.

I haven’t touched a sewing machine since.