Friday, February 11, 2005



I almost titled this "unwanted visitors" but that's not entirely true. I'm usually pretty lax about having people over. I make sure the place isn't a wreck (i.e. dishes are done, floors swept, bathroom clean) but I don't stress over the fact that I have a lot of stuff. I figure, hey, they like me, they can deal with the fact that I have a billion books in the living room. In fact, a lot of my friends like to browse the "library" and check out books and videos.

I'm even okay about my very very neat and clean (did I mention they are extremely tidy? and organized? and neat and clean? very neat? very clean?) parents coming over, which they do like once a year or so, typically when I haven't made it to visit them in a while, or I'm graduating with a PhD or something. So the emphasis isn't really on the house and my possessions, although I know they wonder why I am the only member of my family besides my aunt who doesn't scrub everything with a toothbrush each week, and touch up the vaccuum marks in the carpet daily. Yet they are kind about it. Or at least they don't mention it. They know I'm the weird artsy, intellectual one, and that I need my accoutrements.

But I have an interesting dilemna.

As I said, there's not usually a lot of "stuff" for me around having people over. In fact, I just invited a bunch of folks over to have a dance meeting, and a potluck and clothing/book exchange next week. I didn't think "oh but I have too much stuff in the house!"

But I'm having hesitation around having a newish person in my life over. She lives about 75 miles north of us, and Ki (my partner) and I have spent every weekend with her since November 19th. We go visit her on Sat usually, spend the night at her place, and all go to dance class together the next day. Sometimes we stay longer, coming up on Friday, or staying over Sunday night.

Well, T. has never been down to see us. And she's willing to do so. But for some reason, I don't feel comfortable with her coming over.

I tried to logic it out. Is it because my other friends have been here before, and so they know what it looks like and are used to it? But alas, there was a first time for them, too. And as T. points out, she might get used to it as well.

I see T. as very neat and tidy, with not a lot of clutter, probably because she's neat and tidy without a lot of clutter. But I have other non-cluttery friends, including MQ, who is always giving her stuff away, and whose floor is clean enough to lick, should you go in for that kind of thing. And my parents, the extra-strength neat people? and my sister, also super duper deluxe clean? No worries there.

Then I thought maybe it was a class thing. I live with 4 others, she has her own place. She used to own a huge house with her ex-husband. I've never owned anything larger than my car. Ok, well my full-sized Dodge Dakota truck (vrrrroooom). But I have friends with insane amounts of money, like heiress amounts, like "My dad owns that TV station, oh and that skyscraper, too" piles of cash. And they come over. And they have fun. And it's all good.

So what the heck is going on?

T. asked if I thought she would judge me, and I said "maybe." Because she might. But hey, I know my parents, for all their tolerance, have judgements about my home. People judge me all the time about other things, and I'm good at saying "gee, mighty strong judgment they have" and letting it go. (For the most part. I'm human and so a small percentage of those judgements upset me.)

So what is it about this situation with T?

Here are some musings. Not all of them feel "right" but I am trying to think of whatever I can that might be causing this. Because if I wait until the house is done, she ain't comin' over for like two years. And in order to feel comfortable having her over, I need to sort out what's going on.

*My house no longer matches who I have become, and who I am striving to be. So having new people over to witness that gap is uncomfortable.

*I don't want her in my space because it would let her in closer. (Although this is a weird one because she's already in pretty far.)

*I don't think she'd understand my way of life (housemates, futons, fridge divided by 5 people).

*Bad first impression? i.e giving someone an image they don't really need, and which will be hard to get rid of later, like your boss picking his nose and eating it, or your ex-boyfriend in that hideous neon green speedo.

*Different taste. I have old, funky furniture that I love (for the most part--there are some pieces I'd definitely trade). I have bunches of books. I think Ki and I see uniqueness, and treasures, and funky hip shabby chic where she'd just see junk, something to put in the room until you could get something new. But even as I type this, I realize I don't care all that much what she thinks of my fabulously ecclectic taste.

*And now for some twisted logic: I have been working on decluttering for a while now. And a few things came up for me. One is that T. or other new-to-me visitors will look at the house (which I feel is still a mess) and think "wow, it used to be worse?" I'm not sure it *looked* worse, but there weren't really systems and such, so functionally, it was worse. This is perhaps why Ki and I "see" a difference when it's really still about the same visually, with one or two improvements. So this goes with the judging thing. And it's stupid, really, because I know you can't control another's reactions or judgements, and I usually pick friends, lovers and the like who value me.

*And some even more twisted brain children: T. asked me last night if I would still be getting rid of all the stuff if she *wasn't* coming down. And I said "yes." I've been doing this for a while now, and I'm going to continue, independent of whether or not she ever sets foot out of her sparkling surroundings. But I realized her question brought up some resistance in me. I'm doing this for myself (and to a lesser extent for Ki because she is impacted by it) and I know that. But there's a part of me that wants to make absoultely sure T. knows it too! Why, I can't say. Not because I'm being mysterious, but because I don't know. I'll have to think about this more. But I can tell you this: if someone else could motivate me to get rid of stuff and clean up in a lasting-change kind of way, I'd have been neat & minimalist long ago.

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