Moving is a strange process of self-discovery. I open boxes that were supposed to be neatly packed and organized only to uncover the truth: all manner of crap, odds and ends, and semi-useful knickknacks have been tossed together with the necessities of everyday life. Kitchen utensils sandwiched between middle school yearbooks. Shampoo and dental floss sharing space with wall hooks and a tea-light holder that looks like a bird's nest. Cats and dogs living together. Mass hysteria.
I had this fantasy that moving out of our apartment and into our house (woooooo!) would be straightforward, if challenging. It turned out to be not at all straightforward, and incredibly challenging. Maybe it was the deadline that we set for ourselves. Maybe it was the toddler underfoot. Or maybe--just maybe--it's the now undeniable fact that I am not the organized person I once imagined myself to be.
Yeah, I'm going to have to go with that last one especially.
The downside to being completely incapable of planning ahead and putting things that actually go together in boxes together is obvious. Sure, it seems like a fantastic idea to sweep everything on the left side of your bedroom into a single box because, well, it all fits, and look at how much packing I just got done! But later, on the other end of the move, you find yourself kneeling before a holy shrine of chaos shrouded in cardboard, wondering, "Where does all this go? And what the hell is it, anyway?"
There's nothing fun about confusing yourself (or maybe there is?). There's certainly nothing fun about making a bunch of extra, sorting-through-crap work for yourself when you're already going to be busy worrying about whether or not your new furnace is emptying its condensation into an illegal drain, and how much your cracked skylight resembles an aquarium after a rainstorm.* However, through extra work, I am finding a navel-small upside to gazing into the chaos. As I unpack boxes, I've been unpacking their contents...and finding an interesting self-portrait.
What can I discern about this person (me) who packs her journals with her jewelry? This person who can find her favorite books but not her camera, and her hot-in-a-funny-way lingerie but not her sports bra? What about the person who packs her vitamins with the program for Carrie Fisher's one-woman show, Wishful Drinking?
I refer to this phenomenon as "my life having a production designer." Because I only kind of believe in coincidences.
Seeing myself in my moving-generated chaos has been extremely entertaining, and perhaps somewhat enlightening. Accidental self-reflection is an interesting mental state to occupy while feeling out a new living space. I pull back the tape, assess the disorder, and gradually decide that I like this strange, sensitive girl.
Even though (because?) she sucks at organizing things.
*Water was a big theme during our move. Between the furnace and the skylight, the gutters and the oh-shit-we-need-to-get-everything-into-the-pickup-before-it-starts-to-snow, it was our own personal Great Flood. (Next time...fire.)