Posts Tagged With: letting go of shame about messiness

Day 472: “M” words

I’m about to make a momentous confession*,  my readers.

I think of myself as messy.

Am I messy? Maybe. But what does that even mean? Am I too messy? Compared to whom?

Most people might see themselves as messy, if they had a mother like mine, renowned for her neatness, tidiness, and meticulousness.

So it’s difficult for me to measure my messiness.  Am I moderately messy? Mucho messy? Just a mite messy?

My guess* is that on a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 is maximum messiness, and 0 is no measurable messiness at all, I’m a …

Man! I really resist being numbered (or otherwise measured), much like Mr. Patrick McGoohan’s character, in The Prisoner:



(I found these images here and here)

I don’t know … if I MUST choose a number … it would definitely be a number that has a six in it, maybe somewhere between a 60 and a 65?

Hmmmmm.  With those kinds of numbers, my messiness is WNL — Within Normal Limits, as we say in the therapy biz. While I might modulate towards the messy, it doesn’t interfere with my functioning.*

Yes, I’m not remarkably messy. Since I’ve been an adult, nobody has

  • refused to live with me,
  • given me ultimatums,
  • done an intervention,
  • gotten mad at me,
  • suggested I get help, or
  • otherwise made any kind of major fuss* about my measure of messiness.

However, I feel like they might, at any moment.  That’s because I have labelled —  filed, stamped, indexed, briefed and debriefed — myself as


and that has made all the difference.

Well, I’m working on taking a different road through the woods, now.  Maybe I can replace the “too” in that label with a more modulating word, like:


But you know what? When you are trying to rewrite an old script, it doesn’t make sense to restrict your vocabulary. Let’s open up the alphabet, for this portion of the post, shall we?

As I was saying, maybe I can replace the “too” in that label with a healing, more helpful word, like


or even better:




Let’s see if Google Images has anything to contribute* for the word “messy” at this point:


(I found this image here)


(I found this image here)


(I found this image here)

And let’s see if I can use any of my own photos* to end* this post.

Well, if you were to ask Michael which of our two cats is messier, he would definitely choose the one on the left, Harley.


He still looks pretty neat to me.

Thanks to my mother, to Patrick McGoohan and The Prisoner, to Robert Frost, to the Berenstein Bears, to Justin Boyd at, to Mark A. Hicks (for the pig illustration), to people and other creatures ranging from 0 to 100 on the neat-to-messy scale, and  — even though my thanks have already included you —  MAJOR thanks* to you for moseying, moving, materializing, or otherwise making it here, today.

* has no suggestions beginning with the letter “m” for this word. Believe me, I checked.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 370: Reasons why snail mail freaks me out

Almost 200 days ago, I wrote a post called Why I’m Anxious Today (E-mail, anybody?)

Since I wrote that post, I’ve made a change.

(cue drum roll):

I’ve performed a hyphen-ectomy on the word “e-mail.”  That is, I now write it like this: “email.” This may be a small, irrelevant change to you, but that’s an example of something I like to tell people: “Every change, no matter how little, counts.”

Admittedly, that’s not a GREAT example, plus it’s a digression away from my title, today, which is NOT about email, but rather about …

(cue drum roll):

Snail Mail.

I confess: Both email (with or without the hyphen) AND snail mail make me anxious.

Today, I shall expound on the anxiety-provoking qualities of snail mail for me, these days.*

Reasons Why Snail Mail Freaks Me Out

Reason #1:  There’s way too much of it.

This applies to both email and snail mail. As a matter of fact, I just checked that earlier post about email, and #1 was the exact same phrase with the exact same punctuation!  What are the chances of that?

I guess the amount of snail mail which arrives and accumulates around here is REALLY** making me nervous, because I’m trying to distract you (and myself) with (1) rhetorical questions about coincidences and (2) inviting you and me to go into the past.

Okay, so back to The Here and Now …. that is, the amount of snail mail there is in my life, today.

I would take a picture of the amount of mail there is, in my immediate vicinity, as I write this post, but … I have some shame about that. So I won’t! You’ll just have to imagine how much mail there is — opened AND unopened.

Okay! Now, I assume that the amount of mail you are picturing right now has to do with … your own feelings, thoughts, and experiences about Snail Mail.

Actually, you know what?  Forget your experiences. I am going to reverse myself, right now, and CONFRONT MY SHAME about the messiness of snail mail in my life. In other words, I shall take a photo, right here at Blogging Central.  Hold on ….



Here’s something interesting about that photo:  Blogging Central has looked much neater in previous posts, like here, about a month ago:



And in case anybody reading this post is thinking — regarding that first photo — “Gee, Ann. That doesn’t look like THAT much mail!” … let me show you another photo, from the Here (actually, upstairs from where I blog) and Now:



Hold on, there’s more:


One more:


Okay, here’s my dilemma, at this point in my post.

I’ve started a list, about reasons why snail mail freaks me out, and I don’t want to add another entry to that list. I think this might be enough. Which leaves me with a list …. of one. But, hey!  It’s my blog post!  I can do what I want!

So what is my major point, in this List-of-One post, today?

What do you think?

(pause, giving you space to think about what this post means to you….)

Now, I’ll tell you what I think: I think this post is about shame regarding my organizing my external environment, including how — when I try to get better about something —  it often looks and feels worse (at least for a while).

I am letting go of shame, though, in general, and as I try to get better organized about snail mail.

I’ll tell you one thing that’s helping, right now, with snail mail organization  …..

Throwing more away.

(New) Rules About Throwing Mail Away

I shall throw mail away if:

  1. It came before a certain date AND
  2. It’s not important.

What gets in the way of that?

Judging what’s important.

That can be challenging, for lots of reasons, including the fact that so much snail mail has a strong opinion about its own importance. For example:



Guess what?  I just threw those away.

Thanks to people who are organized about mail, those who are not, and …  I guess that includes everybody.  Wait!  I also want to thank you, especially, for visiting today.


* I say “these days”, because snail mail has changed, over the years, Including what we call it. Before email, snail mail was just “the mail” (in case you don’t remember that).

** Ka-ching!  I now owe more residuals to The Culture Monk, who uses REALLY in his title, every day.***

*** At least, for now.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

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