There are words for everything it seems. Cafuné, means to run your fingers through your lover’s hair. Dormiveglia, the space that stretches between sleeping and waking. I’m wondering if there’s a word for trying so hard to remember to do things you still end up forgetting?
I’m not talking about big things like my kids’ birthdays or where I live. It’s the little things, that should become rituals, but no matter how hard I try, I still forget to hang up my puff when I get out of the shower, or rinse the sink after brushing my teeth, or taking all my clothes with me when I leave the bathroom…
The list of all the little things I’m always forgetting is tediously long, at times seemingly endless. Things, like my car keys and my purse, are often dropped in random locations and I’m struggling to find the item as I’m running out the door. I’m told there’s a place for everything and if I would just put the items where they belong I wouldn’t lose so much. That just might be true, and I do try. I try to mentally walk myself through the motions ahead of time, but I still forget and struggle to hold all the information in my head so I can hopefully avoid driving my husband completely crazy once and awhile.
I just feel like my brain is sabotaging me, like it doesn’t work properly. These should be such simple tasks, that I should just do without having to think about, but no, for me it’s a mental marathon to go through the motions and remember every step correctly. Then when I have to try to explain why yet again something is not put away properly or I’ve failed to adequately tidy up, the words, the excuses just feel that much more exhausting and demeaning. I just want to yell “this is how my brain works, I can’t do it the way you want me to”. Instead I mumble apologies and angrily tell myself to shape up, this shouldn’t be so hard.
The raw truth is, it is that hard. With three children at very different stages, and a household to run, maintain and generally hold together, the minutia of information I have to remember is endless, and yet I am the same woman who used to know every file in my dad’s office by name and number, without having to check the file list. How did I do that and yet can’t remember to hang up the dishcloth instead of just dropping it in the sink where it gets buried under dirty dishes and becomes yucky and unusable.
Some of it is likely my laid back attitude. If I come across something either my husband or kids have neglected to put away or clean up, I just deal with it. If they are around I will sometimes ask them to take care of it, other times I just do it. For me it’s not worth the effort or negative energy of actually getting upset. I’m more like my dad, I can let the small stuff go, but many would say that I let too much go, that I don’t get frazzled enough. Funny, I’ve heard the same said about my dad too! And I will concede that there is definitely some truth to that statement.
What would happen though if I could stop feeling so bad about myself, what if I could find a way to make peace with my distractibility? What if all it took was my husband accepting that part of me for who I am? What if instead of getting angry and frustrated, he just stopped thinking about it as cleaning up after me all the time, and instead visualized it as an act of love, honouring all the other things I do accomplish by silently taking care of the ones I forget, even if it means hanging up my jacket every time he finds it hung over a chair. He might also find that when he stops focusing on all the things I don’t do, he may be able to truly see what I do for him and this family, which will in turn allow me to let go of the shame, the self-directed anger and frustration I feel because of constantly feeling like I am letting him down. I would be able to reinvest that energy into more useful, positive endeavours. My husband might also discover that the act of letting go of his anger, frustration, and resentment, and turning it into something more positive would lead to feelings of less stress and more connection with me.
It really truly does come down to our perceptions. If we perceive something as done deliberately to annoy us, we respond accordingly. If we perceive it instead as someone who got side tracked and just forgot, it becomes less personal, and then taking the time to rinse the toothpaste from the sink, or hang up the puff or the jacket, even if it’s for the gazillionth time, becomes an act of loving that person despite their short-comings. And at the end of the day we all have short-comings and want to be loved despite them.