As a little girl, I liked going to a brick and mortar school. When I think about the things that I liked best it wasn’t the teachers or the subjects, it was not the hallways or the friends – it was the desks. The stuff that was mine that made it feel right. My desk and my personal items inside. I liked having a different pen for every occasion. These things made me feel ready to learn. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my whole mindset for learning was interrupted by wanting these little things to be just so. I can remember whole lessons going by without even looking up at the instructor simply because I couldn’t find the pen I wanted, or I had a new set of colored pencils that had to have just the right spot.
To be transparent: I’m still this way. My favorite grocery list is color coded and organized by aisle, and when I try to shop without my nice and neat list I fall apart.
Don’t write me off as obsessive just yet though, there’s a story behind my little quirks. And sadly, this gathering mode was a coping mechanism I developed early on to make me feel protected. Safe. All the gathering and organizing made me feel like I had a piece of home with me at all times. My stuff. Nice and neat. That’s what makes me feel secure, nice and neat.
Fast forward to when I began the process of getting my ducks in a row to start educating my own children, and I reverted back to the same gathering mode I was stuck in back when I was a professional student. I thought I was doing what was best for my children, until I realized that I was actually creating self serving space. I was setting up my home unconsciously prioritizing nice and neat over growth and discovery. My internal security was being dismantled every time we used our craft supplies and things weren’t put away just right. And that’s when I realized that things had to change. I had to change.