Housecleaning & emotional trauma

I’m posting this here because I didn’t want to come across as too whiny on Facebook.  I also have had a physically exhausting and emotionally traumatic day for reasons only Aspies can truly appreciate.  I’ve known this was coming but didn’t expect it to take such an emotional toll upon me.  It didn’t help that my mom took a brusque tone with me and was fairly harsh towards me early on in the day (to her credit, she did soften her tone later in the day); The day started off on the wrong foot when mom interrupted my after-breakfast social time on Facebook.  She did back off and give me some space/time, and not long after I felt “caught up” with Facebook affairs and let mom know I was ready to get started.  Our main task of the day was moving the new mattress and box spring from the guest bedroom to my bedroom, and vice versa.  We did accomplish this, but before we could, it was necessary for me to do some serious cleaning in my closet and in the corner of my bedroom, where I’d let several books of manga, box sets of Anime DVDs, etc, begin to pile up over the course of the year.  I also threw away several figurine boxes that were empty; I don’t know why I kept them, but I did.  They needed to go and I got rid of them.  But what upset me was mom berating me for having two CD cases still in the bottom of my closet taking up so much room.  I did manage to consolidate them into one case, and yes, most of the music I listen to anymore is of a digital nature.  The discs I still own are largely of sentimental value; but I still own a fair number of discs and I’m not ready to part with all of them just quite yet.  I also shuffled around the contents of my overall Anime collection.  Luckily I do have a new piece of furniture that is basically a small, stout chest of sorts that is half of half a hexagon, roughly a flattened, squarish “U” shape.  It has a large storage space (with shelf) below and three doors to access said cabinet space, and above it has a thin pull out drawer with a bit more storage space (but not much).  This is where I’ve managed to shift most of my already-watched-but-want-to-keep Anime titles.  I’ve moved the unwatched stuff to my “functional” shelving, i.e. onto the shelving on my TV stand into the family computer/TV room upstairs that is mostly my domain after hours.  I did manage to find some Anime titles that I was, in fact, willing to part ways with, especially older shows that I only had partial volumes for, or shows that were just plain mediocre, that I’d never watch again and don’t think my friends would particularly enjoy borrowing.  I put them together with some selected CDs and books I was willing to part with as well.  I learned a little while ago that I will also have to accommodate the DVDs downstairs that were on the old TV stand, also mainly of the “already watched but still wanna keep” variety.  Most of these are also Anime but not exclusively.  My parents’ big present to themselves this Christmas is a new flat screen TV, our biggest yet, set up in our old living room.  They got a brand new cabinet for it as well, so the stuff that was on the old TV stand will need to go somewhere else, which includes my old PSX, but also my first Blu-Ray player.  It’s a Magnivox and admittedly it has been a glitchy unit.  I have an identical one upstairs that works perfectly fine.  I use it for those rare occasions when I get a Blu-Ray disc that won’t play in my PS3 (does happen sometimes) or, it becomes a player of last resort for DVDs that are too scratched/flawed either for the PS3 to play or a PC.  I once watched a Bollywood movie that was in such a state, and it ONLY worked on the Magnivox Blu-Ray player, where it played flawlessly.  Mom wants to just toss the glitchy Mangnivox downstairs into recycling or the trash.  I know that makes sense but I still hate the idea of getting rid of it while keeping the old DVD/VHS player we still have hooked up to the flat screen in the den.  But I know that’s irrational.  It’s a flawed unit, and I guess I’m pissed off that I bought such a piece of crap to begin with.  We should get rid of it; In fairness, once we do, I probably should move my working Magnivox down to the TV in the den and ditch the old DVD/VHS player once and for all.  Last time we tried to watch a DVD on it, the picture was all screwed up, with diagonal lines running across it.  We switched to the glitchy Mangivox, which, well, glitched a little.  I fiddled with it and got it to play right but man how annoying.  I still wanna hang on to my PSX, but that’s irrational too…mainly it’s because I still have some PS1 discs and saved data on it that I can’t play on any other platform.  My PSX was my replacement for alcohol for a number of years when I had to quit cold turkey on account of court ordered probation.  My attachment is, again, sentimental more than practical.

The hardest part of cleaning, reorganizing, and paring down is, of course, my beloved book collection.  My parents have mercilessly needled me for how big I’ve let it grow over the years, the money expended upon my personal library versus how much of it I’ve ever actually read and a crude cost-benefit-analysis type of scrutiny over the wisdom of the content of my collection, which always pisses me off.  It’s no happy task to have to do, I always hate it, and it always makes me sad & depressed, because it’s like attending multiple funerals, the death of my youthful idealism, the death of past hopes and aspirations never realized, past intellectual passions deferred, delayed, forgotten because the mundane drudgery of mere existence kept getting in the way. 

I think I can safely shed a lot of big, thick, beautiful art books, most of which I acquired used to begin with.  I think also it’s time I shed most of the rest of my professional librarian’s working books; Things like my outdated 4 volume LCSH set of “Big Red Books”, or my outdated AACR2 and books related to AACR2.  I may retain the DDC’s and the LCSH subdivisions book but the aforementioned really have overstayed their welcome in my collection.  I really don’t see myself returning to the Cataloging side of Library operations ever again, at least not in a full-time capacity.  Shedding these books means facing up to that reality and acknowledging it.

I also have several boxes of dusty old books in German in the attic that probably just need to go.  They were part of a long ago dream of becoming a full-time academic, something like a Professor of German Lit, say, or a Cinema Studies professor.  Needless to say that’s never gonna happen.  Not at my age, not with my Asperger’s, not with the depressing state of the collapsing academic job market.  They’re just taking up space and not serving a useful purpose.  I know that–but it’s still painful.  I still need a little time and space to grieve over these dead aspirations.  I need to examine the main bookshelf downstairs as well and pare it down, too, to make space for contemporary books that I do actually want to keep but that are sitting on chests of drawers, chairs, etc, instead of on a proper bookshelf.

At the end of day 1 of this housecleaning project, I do feel better than I did when I first started.  I do feel a sense of accomplishment at having gotten so much done in a day.  I do look forward to a better nights’ sleep going forward on a brand new mattress.  I do like its improved back support, for starters, and hope it will noticeably improve the quality of my sleep.  I filed things away in my important but attic bound permanent file cabinet.  I also removed outdated material from said cabinet and shredded them accordingly.  I cleared out my very full letterbox filing thing on my chest of drawers, filing away what needed to be filed away, shredding what did not.

One of the many maddening things about Asperger’s is the inability for me to quickly prioritize things and put them in their proper place.  I’m often befuddled and indecisive.  I recognize something is important at the moment, but don’t know how to rank it with all the other seemingly important things before me, and so I just shove them all into the same container to deal with or to have at the ready.  It’s a continuation of a practice I developed in college of putting things into dorm desk drawers that “looked interesting” but that I didn’t have time for at the moment but resolved to “look at later”, but mostly never did.  The end result being an almost comical culling of a very paper-laden desk drawer full of outdated fliers for things that caught my eye but I ended up forgetting, or stupid mementos I really had no business keeping but did anyway.  I went through a version of that today and it was really hard parting with some things.  So many memories come flooding back and it just paralyzes you for a minute.

The things I did today needed to get done, and I’m proud of the hard work I put in on it; but it remains true that it was in no small way an emotionally traumatic, upsetting day where I had to mostly internalize my anger, anxiety, and other swirling emotions and only now can I sit down and finally begin to process them, if only a little.

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