How much does our framing of events change how they affect us?
If you define an event as traumatic, then you’re traumatized by it. Now yes, I’m the first to say that some things are definitely traumatic. There’s no way to reframe a rape, the death of a child, or betrayal by someone you trusted.
However, there are some things that affect us very differently if we change how we perceive them. I’ve known this for quite a while, realizing that some people turn a minor issue like running out of ice at a party into drama. But I wasn’t really applying it to my life as well as I could.
My living room is currently covered with’s belongings that were in the storage space under the stairs. There are more that need to be brought up. We’re going through and sorting the stuff into categories so that she can actually use things like her art supplies and sewing stuff, putting those things into better containers near her drawing table and sewing machine. We’re getting out the warm weather clothes and packing away the cold weather ones. By the time we’re done, the plan is to have all of her belongings stored in her own closet. Nicely.
Honestly, I’ve been sitting here resenting the mess, resenting the work, resenting the events that led to its necessity. She is 11 years old and should be perfectly capable of sorting and taking care of her own belongings. Grrr!
But then I thought, “Well, we’re moving in a few months. Doing this now means it’s going to be much easier to make that move, because we’ll have already weeded through one person’s stuff.” Since we didn’t do this kind of thing before we moved three years ago, we ended up moving a lot of crap that we should have simply tossed, and nothing was packed very efficiently.
We’ll also be better able to get to the stuff that’s still in the common storage area, which has been a problem of late.
Things she no longer wants or needs (by her definition—this isn’t being imposed by us), like outgrown clothing, will be taken to the Foster Family Resource Center or otherwise passed on to those who do want and need them.
She will be able to really get to her belongings easily and quickly so that she can use them to create beauty rather than spending time looking for them or asking for new items because she just can’t find the ones she has. (Note: This child has enough art supplies to open a store. Seriously. Please, please, please—if at any time you buy a gift for, she doesn’t need them! Attractive ways to store for art supplies, though—those are needed!)
Now I feel better about the whole thing. I feel lighter, and I’m not nearly as grumpy.
I’m thinking about other things that have me stressed, and turning them around to find new angles.
Yes, I resent having a chronic illness. It has, however, helped me to learn to communicate better, to take care of myself better, and to ask for help.
The custody situation—well, yes, going to court sucks. I don’t like having someone else choosing the timing. But it needed to be done. The current custody agreement hasn’t ever worked well for us. sambear’s divorce lawyer has to be one of the world’s worst, and the entire divorce agreement is ludicrous. Whatever happens, we’ll have a legal situation that better reflects the reality of our lives, and it will be a relief to have it that way.
Hopefully, I can find other ways to look at other issues, as well.