Ep 11 - 10_10_19, 12.42 PM
5:40PM Nov 12, 2019
Lee Skallerup Bessette
Everyone and welcome to another episode of all the things ADHD
ALL THE THINGS.
I am one of your co hosts Lee Skallerup Bessette otherwise known as already writing on Twitter, and now on Instagram as well for whatever reason whoever had ready writing when I signed up for Instagram has relinquished it. I was able to finally claim it on Instagram.
Are you telling stories ADHD style? Lee? Yes, in the interaction?
That was unexpected. I wasn't expecting that but my head
Side-quest. Yeah. Nice. I am your other co host Amy Morrison, also known as digiwonk on Twitter, and also on Instagram because nobody ever else did you want it's mine? Oh mine.
I never understood like why other people wanted readywriting. I was like, it's like, totally anyways random, just like us. So. So, um, I wanted to talk today about tidying up. It's been an end. And this is it's gotten to the point where I think it's a cold take, like, let's be honest, which is probably a good thing.
But But one of the things that struck me about the entire Kondo show and and book and in controversy one way or the other is that no one really looked at her particular set of advice or, or this kind of these kinds of this kind of advice from a non neuro typical perspective.
Right. Yeah, very.
And I'm not saying that that the that what was said wasn't warranted and Particularly analysis that got into the racism that was behind much of the criticism and backlash directed towards her. Um, but, you know, I wanted to I wanted to kind of take it back to the advice and you know, watching it because I binged the show and I know you've binged the show, too.
Oh, sure I did. But let's, let's let people know where we're at. So we're talking about Marie Kondo, and she had a New York Times bestselling book, it was a tiny book called The life changing Magic of Tidying Up. It was a runaway bestseller when it was translated into English from the Japanese. And this was there was a follow up book about tidying strategies. And recently, just after Christmas, Netflix, released all the episodes of tidying up with Marie Kondo, which made a big splash I guess, in everybody's mess of Christmas decorations and fruit cake rafters and so people have been talking about Kondo in a variety of ways about whether tidying up is magic or life changing or oppressive or elitist, or the reverse of elitist or racist or what have you. And and of course we have we have opinions and they have to do with our diverging approaches to tidying up.
Yep. Yeah. And I just want to say that, like, I came for the tidying up to sort of watch it from an almost anthropological perspective. I'm like, Huh, this is how people are clean and and I also have to say that like some of these houses that were a disaster, I sort of laughed at them and I was like, that is not a disaster. That is what are you talking about? That is clean, that is neat. Like, what do you so I would, you know, but also I I ended up staying for two things. One Completely dysfunctional marriages that some people have, which made me feel better about my own. Although not all of them were like that.
I mean, that's the nature of reality TV, right is that it's like a sort of shotgun Freud and perspective aligning kind of thing where you're like, wow, these people are train wrecks, right yeah, I feel my own life, which is maybe both I would query myself.
Yes. But but it but way less trashy than a lot of other reality TV right? Like I don't feel guilty. It's not a guilty pleasure. It's just sort of like I gotta watch the show about tidying up and and, and I also love that the loved it every time she would greet the house. Yeah, like that was a highlight of the episode for me like when it was just that moment of silence. Yeah, they would sit and they would greet the house and thank the house for being there. And I'm like, sorry. That is that is the most calm I've ever seen anyone. And so further than I could ever hope to be myself.
I mean, it's interesting because we're, we're coming at this from our sort of like elements of neuro divergence, right? And, and it was really moving for me to watch her, sort of sit down and touch the ground with your fingertips and draw those little circles and just sit. Because I do that. I've always done that, like, whenever I move into or out of spaces, I, like many artistic people tend to really become attached to my physical environment, often more so than to the people in that environment. And so I always have a very strong sense of, of my dwellings as being a member of my family, right. Like I've always had that. That sense where I like when I moved into the house that we're in now, which was a bit traumatic because the house that we were living in before was kind of suffering too I like I call it a hostile takeover by condo developers. And so I was not wanting to move, right. But we were sort of forced to move in and I experienced that like, really, as a trauma and when before we moved into the new house that we'd had to buy and sort of the great rush and panic and Flurry, I remember, we got possession, and I got the keys. And my daughter was at working at school and my husband was out work and I came into house I have very strong memory this of running my hands along all of the door jams, and walking into every room in the house and walking into all of the closets in the house and like literally touching everything like the house was empty, and it was cold and like it was like just completely uninhabited. And it was like just really, really important to me to develop a relationship with this space and so, like I was surprised to see the reaction To Marie Kondo's practice of greeting the house and centering in the house and and I didn't sort of think about the ways that I did that until I saw her do that. And I thought, well, of course, right? Doesn't everybody do that? And no, they don't, right. And as I was just really interested in that, because my husband also has this kind of like orientation to houses that they are just, you know, four walls and a roof. And it's an address that you get your mail delivered to, right but I always develop these kind of like, very attached emotional relationships with my dwelling spaces. So that felt very authentic and comforting to me to watch her do that. And I think that's unusual, as it turns out, right?
Yeah, no, I never like and again, it, it never had occurred to me and we've lived as we've moved a lot now. Yeah, so I grew up in the same house. You know, my mom still lives in that exact same house. Right and when we moved there when I wasn't even, it was barely two years old maybe was a little before I was two years old. So I literally have lived my entire life in the same house. When I go home. I'm literally going home. Right, right. But it's also a place that hasn't been my home for over 20 years. And argue and I couldn even I couldn even make the argument longer than that while I was still living there. And so we've moved, you know, again, I'm going to count how many it's like we've lived in like 10 different dwellings at this point during the, like the point of my 2005 marriage. Right, right. So we and so almost 14 years, we probably had 10 maybe an exaggeration might only be eight, but it's still a lot, right. And you know, this apartment that we're living in right now that we just moved to is is another example of that. Where like, I didn't even come and see it. When they went to pick it out. When I said Look, I said look, if You're happy with it, and the kids are happy with it, right? If the kids aren't happy, then like that, it's never going to work. Right? So you're happy with it and the kids are happy with it, then, you know, I'm I'll make it work, right? Like, my stuff is going to be there and I can, you know, I'll make it work.
Oh my gosh.
I can tell you like, I'm looking at my hands and my palms are sweaty, like, I'm actually nervous. I'm listening to this. I like now if I blink, it's sort of clenching and I'm clenching my fingers. I like deeply anxious about what you're telling me like when I was in my undergrad, I moved like you know, every eight months the way you do got an academic schedule and stuff. And I'll tell you, the days that I moved into each of those spaces, I was already apologizing for the space about my eight months from now moving out. God I mean, like, I just get so attached and and I'm always the one that has to pick where we lived. I think you know the house needs to point it This sounds crazy the house needs to point in a certain direction right? It needs to have a certain energy to it for me like I have very specific rules about so i would i would never never let anyone because for me so like Tom My husband is in charge of like negotiations around like price and all of this stuff because I can't handle it but I have free reign of picking because he does not care and I'm like no because the one bathroom does not face so like I there's wow I can't imagine a moving as much as you and and be moving into a space that I did not myself pick out I'm like trying to deliberately slow my breathing now so that my voice doesn't get squeaky while I'm talking.
And it's just it's such a different Yeah, you know, it's such a different sort of mindset and but I also recognize particularly With my kids who are also non neurotypical that it is deeply important to them, right? And so it's sort of like, I can control the things that I control and that are important to me. This isn't one of them. I know its deeply important to my kids who will be like, no, this place is haunted. We're getting the heck out which I'm like,
yet but I'm like, you know, I mean, it's a place. And if you guys think it's haunted and won't live here, then we're not gonna live here. Right? You know, what are the houses? So they visited two places. So we have this really nice place, but they visited another one. And they couldn't stop talking about how bad it was. And how weird it was. And they were just like, and again, it was it was a, this happens. This has happened a couple times now, where we had a choice between a house, you know, a standalone unit and a condo or an apartment. And each time the kids are like, No, we want a house. No, we're definitely taking the house and then each time, they went to the house and said nope. Nope.
They know what they like?
it's haunted. There are weird things on the wall like there's a fireplace in the middle of the master bedroom with ornate, weird stains all over the white carpets like no.
Like, oh my goodness,
Fair. I was like I'd probably live here if I had to but fair you guys don't want you and you want the condo then we'll take the condo like it's all right.
When people have people have deep investments, you know whether I mean, people have relationships to the spaces that they live in, like those relationships can be relationships of convenience or apathy. You know, your relationship could be like a booty call relationship with the space, right? Because it's the one that's available when you need it, even if you're not there forever. And you know, some of Wanted like Mary, every apartment you've ever been in? Right? You have a deep rooted relationship. And some of this may have to do with the way our brains are organized. But then there's the question which we want to get through today of what you do with the stuff in your house. Yeah, after you read it, or after your kids greet it and make sure that's not haunted.
or weird, as, right, but I love how, how younger brains articulate things so much differently. Right? Whereas it's like, you know, we would say it has a weird energy or like what you said is going to be welcoming and they're like, it's haunted.
Yeah, we're just weird, right? It's just weird. It's just weird. Like, this is no years. Yeah.
here Yeah. Yeah, like there's no article. So we actually so it was funny the timing of it because we had just gone through basically tidying up because we We're going from 2700 square feet to a little over 1200 square feet right
that's a pretty big purge. it is a family that did that right there wasn't the episode yet. The one family who is like downsizing from like a huge Michigan house I think to like a Los Angeles apartment and the struggling with their winter coats you don't need winter coat in LA. No, just
actually once you live there for a few years, when it gets to be about 60 degrees, which is what in Celsius, like like 50 Yeah, mid teens the winter jacket The parkas do come out.
Oh my god.
When when I know. When Murray and I live down there, my husband and I live down there we would roll we were on the we would go to the beach on Christmas Day and everybody else would be in like parkas and we'd be like waiting in the water. Like this is not cold guys, like come on right? Not cold at all. But Anyways, yeah, but again, we have this, it was interesting to see how the kids interacted with with the process. And you know, for my son that way it actually went okay. He needs his lions is like, I'll get rid of just about anything. I'm not getting rid of my lions is no of course collection and really spark joy. Yeah. And I'm like, we would never get rid of your lions, right? Like there's no Why are you even suggesting that like this is that you just needed to hear it? Right? Yeah, you hear it and Okay, or my Pokemon cards? No, of course not. We've organized your Pokemon cards. We'll find more of them when we move I'm sure, scattered about the house. So you know his and again, it turned out that that's why also I was just saying I'm sitting into this room because it's the smallest room in the house. Because he doesn't actually have that much stuff other than like, A million stuff lions, which makes for great soundproofing.
Of course, there is so it's a win win. Yeah, for mom.
But then my daughter, and and I'd like to just and I wouldn't I won't do this often but I will give a shout out to my mom who came out to help. And one of the tasks things that I passed her with was you need to go through each of the kids rooms and do a purge with them. Yeah. And I think she finally got an understanding of what I go through every day with my daughter.
Because that's emotional work. Right? So you asked your your mom to be Marie Kondo with your kids, right? Because Yeah, that process can be if it's your stuff, right? It's incredibly emotionally taxing if you have investments in your things, or if you have like executive dysfunction related to making decisions. Yes, it can be incredibly taxing to be asked to, you know, organize your things, let alone like both organize and call. Right and the person who supports that work. In this case, your mom right is doing a huge amount of kind of like emotional labor to keep the wheels from falling off the bus. Right? Yeah.
Because it's an it's emotional labor that like my husband definitely cannot do because his brain does not work in his brain works like normal people's brains. Poor guy is trying to deal with like three people switch executive function.
and with my son, again, like I said, like, my son, it's clear what his priorities are, and he keeps them fairly manageable, at least and so we can kind of understand it a little bit better, I think. Whereas so this is I'm doing other things and packing other stuff in the house and all I can hear is, you know, and it says same sort of thing doesn't shouldn't ask doesn't spark joy, but it would be like What about this? What do you want to do with this? Oh, no, that's special.
Right? Right. Everything is special.
And the incredible thing is, and I could appreciate it because it wasn't me at this point, and I was just overhearing it. Everything was she had a story for every single object in her room. Right.I was just astounded. I was like, and some of them I was like, that is not the story behind how you got that thing at all. But one director, I'm like, no, that's not Nevermind. There's no point to remembering the actual details around a lot of these things. Right. And so, you know, my mom comes out of the room and it's, you know, she's been frustrated by this and that's, that's fine. I appreciated it and saying, like, well, I'm sorry, I only got like one garbage bag of stuff and like maybe a pile of the giveaways. And I said, Look, that's better than you. What I would have gotten in it's definitely better than what my husband would have got so like that and when my husband and I are fighting about it now you know this is progress. Don't get me wrong.
So this is where I think like Kondos method is kind of genius, right the the Kon Marie method because the way it starts the course so there's the order, right? So it's close, and then books and then papers and then quote unquote miscellaneous and then finally mementos, right. So when you start with clothes that what she gets everyone to do is to take every single article of clothing that you own, like from no matter where it's like he admits in the garage, it's in the attic. It's in like the downstairs closet, the upstairs closet, it's a drawer, you put all of it in one location. And then normally like what happens in this show, like without exception is people are horrified right? by how much clothing they have, like just horrified like that first episode. While we were moving, right, like so you start with clothes and people just when they see the enormous pile of stuff that they've kind of hidden from themselves, they're like, shocked. And it takes a while. And when so it's, you start there, and then you start to get rid of clothes so that by the time like, it moves from the easiest stuff, which is like clothes because the enormous pile usually snaps people into some sort of sense of like, this is an insane amount of clothes for one person. So all right, and like really shocking to me actually. The number of things that you can see in the episodes that are close with the tags on them, right Oh yeah, people have purchased and not even worn once right? Like there's like a not just like, oh, there's this one blazer that has tags on it. It's like people have oodles and oodles and oodles of things that have not been worn at all. Okay, you go through clothes and then like books and then by the time people get to the end of the process like around the miscellaneous stuff like how many like, egg flippers does one person need? Like they're already so beaten down by their own stuff that they got a lot faster, right that they like I think the order is deliberate in to get people out of that stickiness related to like getting rid of the first thing. Yeah, right. So by beginning with clothes which like often there's a lot of stuff you can cull fairly easily that then the process I think like a snowball rolling down a hill kind of gains momentum and speed as it goes i mean i'm sure you I mean you move so much You must have experiences that it's very difficult to start but by the time you like, are 75 boxes pack, you're just throwing stuff out because like you don't care anymore.
We're leaving it behind. We're like, you know, we don't really need to move this. The amount of furniture we left behind when we moved to Virginia. Yeah. Also because my husband bought the wrong size truck or rented
Right. Okay, so there's a bit of a structural constraint there.
It turns out that Amy and I ended up having more than an 80 minute conversation about tidying up with Marie Kondo. I've decided to break this up into three parts. So this is concludes part one of our discussion on all the things ADHD about tidying up an organization and stuff and how that intersects with the ADHD brain. You can always email us at all the things adhd.at gmail.com that's our web address calm is all the things ADHD calm and you can get us on Twitter with the hashtag all the things ADHD so we hope you enjoyed part one of this super cold take at this point. And we are going to have two more parts which will conclude actually Season One of all things ADHD podcast, mostly because we've run out of time to record them and I'm doing this all in one big binge on in one day.
You know, because ADHD
so I hope
that you stick around for parts two and three because it's really really good stuff. I'm really glad we had this conversation. And I hope that you to tune in next time for the next episode. Thank you so much for listening