Right off, I can think of two big struggles/pains in my life until now. One was the issue of fitting in and feeling normal, like I belong somewhere and am not cut off from the rest of the human race, unable to understand or be understood. Another was feeling that if I don't do certain things, I'm not a good person.
For some reason feeling normal in society isn't just tied to simple externals of dress and manners that society can see, but to the "normal" parts of home life hidden from everyone, cleaning and organizing. I can tell from FlyLady that there are a lot of people who have problems with those things, but it still feels like abnormality. In college it became more painful, because my friends seemed to know how to go about life – for example, they were used to good meals and so café food sucked (I thought it was great, most of the time!). They missed their parents and the pleasures of home, although they were glad to be given the chance to be free of their parents' rules (what rules?). Going off to college wasn't hard for me because of homesickness, it was hard because I knew, living in the dorm, my "abnormality" would be so exposed to any roommate, and because I didn't feel grown-up enough yet – just in a different way than my friends didn't. They had the tools they needed to become grown-up, rather than having had to pretend to be grown-up since junior high (or at least that's how it felt -- I know many people are good actors and had plenty to deal with, too). FlyLady is great because it's helped me to learn those "normal" things in a non-pain laden way. She really is like a mom!
But the normal thing isn't the most important part. Somehow, in spite of Mom's actions, she managed to pass on to me through her words this idea that if you don't manage to do all your tasks, if you don't keep your house clean and reply to letters and do your homework on time etc., you are intrinsically a bad person. In recent years I've recognized that she taught me that and that it's completely unbiblical – yes, we are bad people saved by Jesus' blood, but it's not because of not keeping our houses clean, it's because of failing to love God and others, the other things are just tools to help you love (c’mon, Jesus died primarily to pay for our lack of discipline, in and of itself?!) – but my emotions about it are pretty entrenched. I try and try and try to be good enough and I never am. I always fail. No matter what I know, that can be quite a struggle for the self-esteem to deal with! I mean, the same is true of trying to love. Humanly speaking, we always fail. But always failing at the things Mom thought were important feels worse in some ways, I guess because it seems like there are plenty of people managing those things with no problem. So what am I, worse than other humans? I always felt that if I could just change one thing (insert name here), it would make everything better. I have to have hope because otherwise I'll die of the pain. And then it fails, and I feel like I am going to die. So I grab onto something else to give me hope. (I'd try to have hope in God, but since He never changes, it was hard to trust that He would suddenly stop the cycle.)
I think I love FlyLady so much because I think somehow she's managed to break the power of that cycle so simply and quietly. (And I thank God for her, all the time. She's done it, but to me, that means that God has chosen to use her to do it. Thank You, so much, Lord!) With her, this organization of my life is suddenly easy! And if I fail one day, it doesn't threaten my whole system. Instead of hearing Mom's voice which can only ask me why I failed, I hear FlyLady telling me it's ok, she's proud of me, and not to let my perfectionism stand in my way! You'd think I'd be bitter about it – all this time this thing I've been struggling with is easy, and no one told me?! – but I'm not. Instead, it's more like, “Ha! It's ridiculous to think that not doing this stuff would make me a bad person, because it's so easy!” The problem the whole time wasn't that I wasn't good enough, it was just that I never had a mom to teach me! Cool! And it helps my attitude towards Mom a little bit because it's one more way that I can see something can be incredibly easy and yet incredibly hard. Even now there are struggles and things that are hard, but... it's easy. The whole quality of it has changed, I guess. It's hard to describe. I'm just happy.