Today has been a day of systematic organization. For those who know me best, I oscillate on the spectrum of meticulous order (borderline OCD) and utter chaos. When I am at my best, things are neat and orderly. However, at my worst, my systems of order snowball into disorganization. It’s funny to see these two sides of me, and to recognize that my personality is akin to everyone’s favorite “love to hate it” hairstyle, the mullet– business in the front, party in the back!
If you know my family, you would understand that my desire for cleanliness and order arose as a response to the disorganization of our family unit. Chaos was the norm when my Dad was out at sea. With no one to crack the whip hard enough to wrangle in my brothers, things got a little buck wild at the Guerra’s. Don’t get me wrong, Mom, I know you’re reading this and thinking “WTF?! Don’t air out this laundry on this internet.” In her defense, there was some order, and most of my strangest cleanly quirks are a direct result. For example, I make all beds with tight hospital corners, I never forget to clean the bottom of the toilet bowl (because boys will be (disgusting) boys), and even today, I steamed all of my linens because I may have developed a mild case of PTSD from her disapproving, “You’re not going out like that, are you? It’s all wrinkled,” exclamations.
Now that you all have a clearer idea of the conflicting stories of order and chaos in my early childhood, I think it will be easier to explain how it is possible for me to oscillate along the two mullet extremes: order = business and chaos = party.
At work, I’ve taken the last few weeks to put together some functioning systems of organization so that I can remain purely clean-cut business. My emails reside in color coded folders, which are full of Russian doll like sub-folders. All important paperwork is neatly filed in binders, and I’ve broken out the colorful sharpies to label the accordion folders, which store lists and packets galore. I’ve always loved office supplies, and could spend hours in the post-it note section at Staples deciding between original, neon and “green” recycled stickies. I love tabs, I love notebooks, I love ball point pens, and I LOVE my leather planner!!
At home, I also have systems in place to keep me organized, though I must say, these systems don’t always take priority when I want to sleep in and run out the door for work at 5 til the hour. That being said, I usually make my bed, clean my dishes, and my clothes will regularly be moved from the floor to the hamper or to the uniform black hangers in my closets.
So you must be wondering, where is Party Lizzie? Party Lizzie, comes out every so often in the household when a chore gets left too long, and not doing it suddenly becomes easier than doing it. However, she mostly comes across in my character, which I believe, more often than not, is described with colorful adjectives like quirky and borderline eccentric. I dance my way into rooms, talk to strangers on public transportation, and my closet is full of Ms. Frizzle-esque blazers and printed button ups. Get a drink (or not even, let’s be real) in Party Lizzie and she’ll rap all of Biggie Small’s Juicy for an audience.
The duality of my character can be be described by the most recent example of Business Lizzie and Party Lizzie battling it out. As I transitioned from having an unknown career into a full blown big kid job, I had to let both personalities enjoy their 15 minutes. Having no plan and going with the flow is the antithesis of Business Lizzie. She secretly freaks the eff out when life cannot be scheduled neatly into her leather bound planner. But Party Lizzie also knows how to chill out and ride the wave, and I leaned heavily on this side of my personality to get me through the most difficult and vulnerable times of my transition.
So where am I going with my Freudian analysis of my personality? I am not really sure… but I guess somewhere down gratitude lane, I can find a home for it all. There is something to be said for embracing all of ourselves, multiple personalities included. Thus, today, I am grateful for my the business in the front, party in the back life, for the light and the dark shades of my shadow, and for my weird family whom I love dearly. Thanks for making so weird.
In the words of Tennyson, “I am part of all that I have seen.”
Ain’t it true?