My Dirty Little Secret

i remember it like it was yesterday, how my addiction began. i was at work, my very first office job. i was a new mom, a single mom, working two jobs to make ends almost meet. (they never met)
my job was fairly stressful, as was my existence – but i had become accustomed to stress. little did i know i had over a decade of constant, intense stress ahead of me! but i digress…back to the problem i set out to finally reveal here tonight, once and for all.
the calendar was one of those “page a day” desk calendars, with the plastic base that would tilt it up just enough so that you could read it when seated at your workstation. it was tiny…smaller than a pack of smokes (i still smoked). pale pink, the pages thin, with pale lettering and pretty borders on each page. also on each page was an inspiring quote. each morning i would come in, rip off yesterday’s page and throw it in my recycle bin.
one day, i didn’t want to get rid of it. whether the quote had any special meaning to the date i don’t know, but the quote was one i felt compelled to keep with me. like a talisman.

being a new mom (Big Girl would’ve been 3), i had a gazillion photographs, and had already started to compile a good-sized collection of buttons-on-string necklaces and fingerpainted masterpieces, those lovely prized possessions that can make any stress go away just by looking at them. so when i saw this quote, on this dainty piece of paper, it made me think, “i could put this in a scrapbook”.

that was fifteen years ago.

i am here to tell you that after fifteen years of collecting and squirelling away every little personal momento and pounds of card stock and pretty embellishments, and after spending a small fortune on things like stencils, scrapbooks, photo paper, googly eyes and stick-on jewels, i am actually making an effort to bring it all together in some “crafter’s delight” homage to my existence on this earth.
i have the stub from every concert i’ve attended, a bajillion greeting cards given to me by those i love, newspaper clippings dating back to the mid-80’s, programs from my dance recitals, every report card and piece of artwork ever created by my firstborn, and lots of other silly things like – oh – fortunes from almost every cookie i’ve ever broken open. it is really scary.
not as scary as the fact that i have lovingly added to that by buying the materials to pretty it up! which is not as scary as the fact that i have spent hours trying to organize it, only to abandon the project because it’s too overwhelming, or i get sidetracked by something more immediately gratifying, like life.

in these 15 years i have moved 6 times. let that sink in for a moment. i have traipsed this crap all over the place, SIX times! that’s a special kind of crazy, let me tell you.
i have so many wonderful memories, waiting to be showcased – and i finally got smart. by starting with what is happening at present in my life, instead of trying to go back and recreate. i am going to relish and honour what is happening right now, and at the same time create a momento for my girls of our fun times. then once i’m in the mode and have confidence in my ability, i can reflect and remember the long-ago times without feeling guilt or trepidation.

it feels like a good metaphor for how i’ve decided to LIVE.


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