Friday, September 14, 2012

Embracing chaos

This week has been a hard one. On top of being swamped with work (teaching, writing, research, etc.), I've managed to catch whatever illness that has been spreading through the local schools and daycare centers. Sleep, which is already a treasured event, has become essential and coveted. That and chicken broth. Lots and lots of homemade chicken broth.

Hence, I've been bad about writing. I promise it will improve as I become more alert.

A couple of months ago, Grey and I were having a discussion based on a Slate article on Chaos Theory. The long and the short of it is that people can be classified into two types of muppets: chaos muppets, which are referred to as usually being blue, fuzzy and generally crazy (think Ernie, Cookie Monster and on the extreme end, Animal), and order muppets who tend to keep the show on the road (think Bert, Big Bird and Kermit).

Grey is most certainly a chaos muppet, mainly a cross between Ernie and Fozzie Bear. Over time he has become more ordered in certain aspects of this life, but generally it's easy to tell that certain elements of disorder don't phase him. I, unfortunately, am the Bert of order muppets. Frustrated easily by chaos, I like my space to be ordered and tidy. Needless to say, the first few years of our relationship involved a lot of back-and-forth, with me eventually having to decide that mundane household tasks had to be my responsibility if I wanted any home repairs to happen.

There's a problem with being a order muppet on the extreme end, though: you miss out on the fun of chaos. Chaos brings adventure, exciting unknowns. Chaos can lead to new discovers, be it that new route home to a new way of thinking about a nagging problem. Chaos is also the muse for stories, as I've yet to hear an interest is a story where everything worked out as planned. Chaos is something everyone should embrace on some level.

So this was my assignment this week from David and Dee: embrace the chaos. Granted, neither of them were expecting that I become Animal (or Miss Piggy for that matter), but considering it's clear that chaos muppets should always be the one doing the driving, they figured it was time I at least understand what Kermit sings about.

Honestly, I was more panicked about the idea of loss of control. After all, what would happen if the dishes weren't done? The laundry folded and ironed? Or everything prepared for the week? Seeing as I'm one of those people who makes to-do lists, this was sure to be a hard thing. But, there's something to be said about eating cereal for dinner, sleeping in an extra 20 minutes and taking the long route home. Yes, routine is comforting, but breaking it has given me a chance to become more aware of the world.

Today is the last day of this week-long experiment, with Grey and I meeting with David to talk about the results and how embracing chaos has helped silence my inner critic. Though it is most certainly true that I will never fully understand Elmos and Cookie Monsters of the world, what I am learning is how important having moments of mania is to actually living. That without those crazy moments of chaos, some of my more precious memories would not have existed.


  1. I am definitely a order muppet. Thanks for interesting post tonight, I really enjoyed it.

  2. This post made me smile. You have commented before that I, in some ways, remind you of Grey and Bob of yourself. I totally get this as part of this post. Although I do require a sense of order in some aspects of my life, I thrive on chaos and in chaotic situations, where I strangely feel a sense of order. Interesting experiment you guys had this week!

  3. I love this post! Yes! Embrace your inner chaos muppet. S/he is surely cute, fuzzy and turquoise.

  4. Love this post! I hate to admit that I'm more Bert than Ernie (although, looking at my house, you'd never know it). What a great experiment--it sounds like you've certainly learned a lot by embracing your inner Cookie Monster!

  5. I have a horrible time embracing chaos too! Good for you for stretching yourself to try something new!

  6. Late to read this...I haven't read the Slate article, but I'm glad to finally understand why everyone is talking about themselves being muppets! I'm more of the order muppet and hubby is the chaos one, too. Interested to hear more about how your experiment played out.

  7. Oh, and I hope you're feeling much better now!


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