Blank Slate

Chicago 21_Art Institute Blank_feistyharriet_april 2016

Sometimes, I feel like I need to wipe everything clean; to toss out the (proverbial!) baby with the bath water. Sometimes I purge my closet. Other times I viciously thin my shelf, or the condiments in the fridge. Sometimes I skip through my social media and block/unfollow/hide anyone who routinely makes me eye twitch. Sometimes I tear apart my calendar and only add back the components that are necessary and/or bring me happiness.

I think we all have these feelings at some point, right? Something gets too sticky, too tangled, or too murky and in a fit of rage, or clarity, or exasperation we take ourselves to task until it is sorted, smoothed, tidied, and put into order.

I don’t know if it’s the cabin fever brought on by Arizona summers, or if it’s some mounting dissatisfaction with [redact redact redact], or even lingering loose ends on my move from Salt Lake last December. I feel trapped and stuck and like so many things are tangled and murky.

And, after weeks or months of this back-burner murk continuing to grow and tangle my front-burner life…I want to burn everything to the ground and start from scratch.

Ok, that is super dramatic.

But I do have a SERIOUS hankering to tear everything apart and just start over. I want a blank slate. Of course, not everything is in need of purging. In fact, most components of my life are on the up and up, most things are better than they have been in years, or ever. Most of the biggest, most important pieces are messy around the edges, but with a solid and carefully balanced core.

Here’s the problem with throwing everything out and starting over: it is not very economical. Throwing away the good and the great with the needs-a-lot-of-improvement is to dismiss weeks or years of work in a fit of less than responsible behavior. It’s harder to pick apart the seams and start over, but it certainly is the more responsible option. I’m not only talking about money, I’m talking about time, effort, energy, and emotions that are already invested in a person, project, or dream.

Setting everything on fire will not conjure a beautiful, perfectly formed and mature Phoenix to rise from the ashes. It just leaves you with a pile of smoldering ashes. You still have to shovel them up, sweep them away, and then start building again.

And so, maintaining some annoying-but-essential-for-now Interweb vaguery, it is time for me to dismantle some pieces of my life, cut away the excess and the rotten, and then retrench in a cleaner, simpler, more sustainable plan. I need a clean slate.*

*For the record, it’s a lot easier to do this on your own, proactive terms, instead of trying to respond to outside influences. Mr. Blue Eyes and I have run all the options, made the spreadsheets, weighed pros and cons, and are ready to embark on Harriet 2.0 7.0 together. I’m so glad to have him on my team.

Harriet sig


9 thoughts on “Blank Slate

  1. Alice

    Interesting! I have definitely experienced this, but only rarely throughout my life. Usually it was when I was in a really shitty place in one aspect of my life – like, stuck in a relationship that I knew on some level was incredibly toxic, but hadn’t actually broken out of yet; or in a similarly toxic job situation. I hope that is the case for you – that there is something modifiable here that you can kick to the curb without burning down everything else, that will nonetheless give you the phoenix-ing you need 🙂

    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      You’re right. It’s definitely a “one horrible thing that needs to get kicked to the curb, stat” kind of feeling. Time to strap on my steel toed boots.


      On Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 11:23 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote:


  2. WhenInTurkey

    It’s been a year since we burned everything down, and we are still sweeping up the ashes! You definitely have to right idea to let out the seams, go in with a tweezer, and handle things carefully. It may take more time, but it leaves much less of a mess!! Best of luck ?

  3. Jen

    I get this feeling way more often than I am willing to admit. Haven’t yet set fire to anything (except the band room carpet once in high school…but that was an accident…) but some days I come dangerously close to running away to Mexico. Usually I can just throw a bunch of stuff away or rearrange some furniture or paint a room and I feel much better.

  4. San

    A blank slate sometimes seems like the easiest option, but yeah, you don’t really want to get rid off the good parts… so you have to disect and evaluate and carefully work on changes little by little. Good luck, my friend. It’s going to be worth it.

    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      Yes. The long, hard, slow way.

      (Also, hi, just responded to ten million of your comments! Enjoy the inbox flood!)


      On Sun, Aug 7, 2016 at 12:56 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote:


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