I contributed this guest post for AlpharettaMoms.Org this month. Hope you enjoy!
WHAT’S IN YOUR ATTIC
Today I cleaned out my attic. It’s a walk-in attic full of Rubbermaid boxes filled with children’s hand-me-down clothing, school work, abandoned instruments, old picture frames, the dresser from my daughter’s nursery furniture, bed rails, wreaths, and luggage – everything that belongs in an attic. You have to understand, this is the great dread of my life. Like it or not, there was no avoiding the job, because it’s that time of year. The holidays are coming and guess where all the holiday decorations are stashed? Yep. Believe me, there was a moment when I thought seriously about secretly driving to Target and loading up with all new garb, exactly matching the old garb. A twinkly Christmas lie.
The trouble started when I created this disaster last January, a month that blew through my life like morning breath. I tossed a whole year into the attic, everything I couldn’t handle, and went on without looking back, without care, without consideration of the consequences. That heap has lurked just behind my bedroom wall, mocking me. I tried not to think of the horrible mess. But it’s November now. It’s Me versus Our Crap.
I cracked the door and I swear if there were a caption underneath what I saw it would have said, “These Are the Piles of Your Life.” I felt defeated before I’d even begun. Here was the evidence of my Pottery Barn Mama failure. More than that, my complete inability to scrapbook. My bad habit of buying one after another vaporizer, hot and cool air, unable to understand how they work. Here was proof that I am the family camel, storing away every piece of junk re-gifted Mulberry candle set, or silver-plated heirloom gravy boat, or Jesus’ Last Supper VBS Hodge Podge placard. I started out trying to cram it all back inside the Rubbermaid boxes, but none of the lids would fit. And like a little wink from God, I discovered that the roof had sprung a leak at some point and molded a mountain of winter blankets.
I tore out of there in search of gloves and a gas mask, imagining cancer-making black mold grabbing me by the throat. I grabbed the biggest, industrially serious trash bags from the garage and suddenly the whole thing turned into a full-on war. I may have let out a Braveheart battle cry. Four hours later, I had a new pile, sacks of trash lined up in my upstairs foyer that would have filled Santa’s sleigh to the top. I actually cheered – CHEERED – when I could finally see the attic floor. Do you know, I even vacuumed that sucker? I stood back and beamed at my accomplishment.
That’s the moment when you realize there is no soul on earth who gives a rip about your clean attic, except you. Nobody else can truly appreciate your hallway trash. But also, you realize in this sort of transcendental kind of way that what seemed insurmountably disastrous a year ago, is now unceremoniously being hauled down the stairs by giggling kids. (Also, I regained a lot of faith in miracles when the talking Buzz Lightyear I’d tossed out kept his mouth shut so I didn’t have to open any of those bags.)
My husband, my hero, came to check on my progress and to bring Motrin. I said, “Check it out. I got rid of my hump.”
I think it lost something in translation.
Secretly I was feeling a little shaky inside. If I wasn’t a camel anymore, did that just make me a…donkey? But here’s the thing, at the bottom of it all, I found the Christmas decorations, and a little something I hadn’t expected: gratitude for a life so full and something that felt a lot like anticipation. I shut the door without looking back, ready to string some lights and hang some garland. This holiday season, I’m imagining attics everywhere, overfilled, unorganized, challenging us all and giving the gift of a Thanksgiving Blessing to me and all the rest of you Martha Stewart drop-outs – space for something new.
Kimberly Brock is the award winning author of the #1 Amazon bestseller, THE RIVER WITCH (Bell Bridge Books, 2012). A former actor and special needs educator, Kimberly is the recipient of the Georgia Author of the Year 2013 Award. A literary work reminiscent of celebrated southern author Carson McCullers, Kimberly’s writing has appeared in anthologies, blogs and magazines, including Writer Unboxed and Psychology Today. Visit her website at kimberlybrockbooks.com for more information and to find her blog. You can also find her Author page on Facebook at Kimberly Brock, or tweet her @kimberlydbrock.