Published in The Kansas City Star
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
By STACEY HATTON
Hello, my name is Stacey and I was a Martha Stewart addict…
My pitiful story started in the mid ’90s, when I began devouring all of Martha Stewart’s magazine articles and books. It seemed harmless at first. Then her television program appeared where she had the innate gift of making everyone feel inadequate about how uncrafty they were. How could one woman have such control?
Her gorgeous autumn magazine would materialize in my mailbox and I would cancel all plans just so I could have my evening alone with Martha, uninterrupted. Then I would create the perfect cup of tea, which I would pluck from the November 1994 issue, Page 45 (fictitious example, please don’t try to look this one up), apply a dab of lavender to the lightbulb and curl up under my crocheted blanket Martha had designed the previous season. I would savor her every word.
I swear to you I was not the only person under her powers, and there was nothing we could do. The worst part was as we labeled our guest linen closets with our label makers (each towel properly folded and placed in descending order according to size and color) we knew something was just not right about her methods, and someone needed to force us to walk away from the proverbial Kool-Aid. But I couldn’t do it alone; I was in too deep.
Only when Martha was incarcerated was able to open my eyes for a split second and see she was “just a person” running a business. Thank heavens for white-collar crimes! No longer was she the arts-and-crafts-cooking-and-decorating deity I had let her become in my brainwashed mind. I repeated my mantra each day…
Cancel the subscription to her magazine. You can cut her loose. You don’t want decorating tips from an inmate! (Even though I bet her prison cell was amazing!)
So I started my own detox program, which I am now willing to share with others in crisis:
Step One: Just saying “No!” to the magazine was the beginning of exorcising my inner Martha Stewart. Then I had to throw away all of the truckloads of mail that came to my home, without opening it, of course. I’m sure those letters were begging me to take her back. They pulled at my empathetic heartstrings but I stayed strong.
Step Two: I told friends of my plan, so I was held accountable for my actions. This had to be female friends, I learned, because I found out that men did not exactly feel the same way about Martha’s methods as I did.
Step Three: I started talking to friends who I thought were well-adjusted. These persons had a balanced life between family, household and work. I interviewed them by plainly asking what their sock and underwear drawers looked like.
“What?!” you ask.
This is the perfect determinate of how Type-A (aka “Martha Stewart”) a person is. If you neatly fold and organize your underwear in your drawer (perhaps in rows) or fold socks and arrange them in a color-schemed rainbow, you might have been brainwashed. On the other hand, if you toss everything in drawers knowing guests will not see the contents, you are like the majority of the world, and perhaps more stable and definitely with more free time on your hands.
The problem is, the Martha Stewart revolution has not gone away. She has left a huge imprint on women across this country. Even after she was released from prison, women continue to escape from their hectic lives through crafts. I understand this, ladies. I was there.
Unfortunately, as far as I have researched, there is not a formal support group for this hollow assembly of people who are sucked into the scrapbooking, cleaning/organizing and decoupaging world, but I’ll tell you what: Your family misses you!
So exorcise that bossy, blonde convict from your head and drop the beads and hot glue gun, honey! You must reintroduce yourself to your family because I promise you — one former “prisoner of chores” to another — they want you back!
Stacey Hatton is a pediatric registered nurse, writer and public speaker. Her humor blog can be found at http://nursemommylaughs.com.