There is a website called The FLYLady where you can get help to declutter and organize your house and life. While I am not a “FLYBaby,” as new members are called, a couple of friends had said how helpful the site is, so I went for a look.
Marla Cilley, the creator of the site, has a bunch of rules for neatnik wannabes. They are good, sound suggestions for simplifying life and not overwhelming yourself. One of her rules helped me realize that there is a direct correlation between creativity and my bra.
A mainstay rule is that you must “Get Dressed to Shoes” every day. Her point is that we behave differently with our outside-world clothes than we do in our pajamas. She is a teeny-tiny bit of a drill sergeant about this shoe rule. There are no exceptions, no excuses, no wiggle room for talented procrastinators. In her words, “I don’t want to hear, ‘Well I don’t wear shoes in my house.’ Well you do now, sister! Buy or clean up a pair just for that reason.” Yikes. Just reading that made me want to salute.
I looked at my shoes and thought about which ones I would clean up for indoor wear. Sneakers? (She recommends lace-ups because they are harder to take off…) Clarks Mary Janes? Maybe my ruby slipper ballet flats? One look at the shoes next to my kitchen door, and I realized this might not work for me. There were the fluffy slippers I muddied running up to get the mail. The nice white cross trainers that were supposed to be “just for the treadmill,” and now were grass stained and dirty from the day I hopped off the treadmill to see where the grandkids were. No, any pair of shoes on my feet would not be “strictly indoor” for long.
But that get-dressed-and-get-going notion hit a chord. I began to observe myself. On my weekend days – my only time to write – I noticed that as long as I was in my jammies, certain entities held me in trance. Facebook, that sly siren, had magnetic appeal. As did Freecell Solitaire and Words with Friends. I would sit in my recliner on a Saturday morning, iPad in hand, and suddenly it was midafternoon. Wait, what?
I experimented with various middle ground solutions. Sweats? (Still in the recliner…) Business casual? (Made me feel like I needed to find a church…) Yoga Pants? (Caught myself passing a mirror. Um, no.)
So here is what I discovered after exhaustive scientific study of my own weekend dressing habits: If I get dressed as though I were waiting for a repair guy (minimally, bra and underwear, jeans, socks and a comfy shirt) I am ready to roll. My feet are often cold, so the socks are important. (Also, if I step barefoot on anything like a bread crumb or cat whisker, it feels like a boulder or a log. I know, I know. My mom read me “The Princess and the Pea” about eighty thousand times. I get it.) And wearing socks without shoes keeps me grounded, literally. I can walk around and be aware that I am in contact with the floor. With my home. With my writing. With life.
And the bra? Well, I do feel a responsibility to the poor repair guy. No need to traumatize, now is there? And it seems like a little bit of armor. Some support around my heart. Up with the girls, on with the day!
If I am dressed to answer the door, I am dressed to write. I can’t exactly say why it is. I know it’s a psychological trick I have to play on myself in order to sit down at the computer and actually write something. Like setting the time ahead five minutes. I know it’s a trick, but it still works.
I have found my middle ground for writing on the weekends: If I wake up without an alarm, give myself two cups of coffee, and then get dressed for the repair guy, I can write.
So far my bra and I have finished two health books, many blog entries, several scholarly articles, and a novel. We are currently working on a riveting best seller. I think the FLYLady would give me a pass on the shoe commandment. “FLY” stands for Finally Loving Yourself. And so I am. Warm socks, bra and all.