This morning as I was tidying up, I briefly entered our laundry room/office which is our “crazy room.” I think most of us have one of these, or the equivalent – a crazy closet, drawer or cupboard. It’s the place where everything you don’t want to deal with goes to die. And I found myself thinking that the crazy room is very similar to that space in our psyche where we dump all of our emotional crap that we can’t deal with at the moment.
I keep telling my partner, “we need to deal with that room, it’s out of control.” And it’s true, it is out of control. For someone like me, who likes keeping the house clean and organized, the room makes me anxious. But the crazy room is actually more representative of my true emotional state than the rest of the tidy house. The crazy room has unopened boxes, piles of cords and computer stuff, unfolded clean sheets, my partner’s plaid shirts hanging from an IKEA shelf like little headless Grunge creatures, a dead plant, my ileostomy supplies (thank you cancer), a giant box of small catheter tubes (again, thank you cancer) and various other randomness.
And just like I side-step and avoid the issues that I don’t want to deal with, I also breeze right past the dead plant – sitting on the floor – to put in a load of laundry. Why not just pick up the plant and put it out in the green bin? That is what an emotionally healthy person would do, I think to myself as I breeze out of the room again. But somehow that damn dead plant and the rest of the crazy room has come to symbolize all the ways in which I am emotionally stuck, frozen, paralyzed.
I am extremely lucky in that I can afford to see a therapist, it’s a luxury many needy people don’t have. So in a sense I have an ’emotional cleaning lady’ who helps me clean up my personal crazy room twice a month. And yet, somehow, it seems no matter how hard I try, my crazy room never gets completely cleaned. Just as my cleaning lady and I finish cleaning one area of the room, another area beckons for attention. Its boxes need unpacking, its cords need untangling and its damn plant needs to be thrown out!
Is it just me, or does it feel like we are all starting to Brand Ourselves? Through social media we each curate our lives and reveal in mostly filtered perfection, (or sometimes purposely non-filtered perfection), images and witty sound bites creating in essence our own brand. The Brand of Me. I am part of this trend too, I post regularly on Instagram: there is Mary Ellen the Pit Bull Advocate, Mary Ellen the Living with Cancer Through Humour Gal, Mary Ellen the Vintage Loving Stylehoader. Is this a bad thing? I don’t know, but it does make me a bit uncomfortable.
It used to be that creating a brand was done primarily by companies in order to sell a product. To this day fashion retailers continue to be focused on creating a desirable brand in order to make money: “Understated elegance for the woman who knows true luxury.” “Affordable classics with a twist!” “The only watch for the man who works hard and plays hard.” But now that we are all self-branding, are we in some strange way selling ourselves? And to whom and for what reason? Many successful fashion & lifestyle social media wizards are actually selling items, often through sponsored ads, so that makes sense. But what the hell are the rest of us doing? I realize I am probably just overthinking all of this, but it still kind of freaks me out.
The other issue with everyone becoming a Branding Queen (or King), is that – at least for me – it can lead to increased depression & anxiety. If I see one more perfectly decorated home with that damn fury IKEA bear rug thrown casually but not casually over a mid-century chair I am going to stab my eye balls out! Or another reclaimed wood dining-room table, sparkling with glitter and pastel food and champagne bubbling over in mis-matched but perfect vintage glasses with an incredible floral arrangement in a milk jug bought for just $2 at a garage sale! I can’t take it! This past weekend I actually suffered from a bout of “Insta-Madness:” I went to my favorite Leslieville bakery – Sweet Bliss – and bought myself three delicious treats (luckily for me my partner is Paleo, so I get all the sweets to myself!) Upon arriving home and admiring my goodies in their low-key unadorned box, I found myself thinking that they would look much prettier “styled” on a vintage floral China plate. OMG! What has happened to me?! Thankfully I am not THAT insane and I happily enjoyed my sweets on a regular, almost ugly plate. And they were damn tasty!
I guess for now I will just cut back a little on social media so that I can remain sane-ish. But then again, I did just buy my dog a new bandana, so I might have to Instagram that as part of my “I’m a Pit Bull Advocate” Brand. #stopthemadness