The other day, and not for the first time, I complained on my Facebook about how messy I’d let my house get by wasting a whole morning on reruns and then going out for the rest of the day with my kids. I knew it was by my own choice, I took responsibility for it, and I was admittedly still annoyed with myself over it. I then received some great advice which boiled down to a neat house cannot replace good relationships. That is so very true. And that is not at all what I needed to hear at the moment.
But there was no way for that sweet person to know how I perceive housework and family. All that person knew was I am a young mom with young kids, doing hard work every day, and probably needing much more compassion than I ever give myself. Again, all true. What that person did not know, simply because I’ve never told them, is that a messy house is gauge of much deeper issues for me. And what hardly anybody really knows is that when I say messy, I don’t mean toys are scattered and the sink is full of dishes and the laundry is in a pile on the floor waiting to be folded. When I say messy, I mean the floor is literally layered in toys, the sink and all three enormous counters are full of dirty dishes from three days ago (or more) and the clothes on the floor are both dirty and clean which means they’ve ALL got to be washed again. Don’t even ask about the bathrooms.
Messiness in my life is not the result of every day chaos from raising small kids. I’m totally okay with realistic mess. I have no problem saying “the dishes will be there in the morning” if my sister-in-law or friend needs to talk. I don’t even mind when people come over and see the reasonable amount of untidyness. It’s just us, living our life, and gettin’ messy doin’ it. That’s fine!
The destruction that goes on in my home, in my life, is a direct result of running from reality and choosing to believe lies about who I am. I believe horrible, horrible things about myself–or, I used to believe them. I’m working on that.
But the point is I know I’m losing the fight when I see my house in disaster mode. I know I need to cut off all my retreats (books, internet surfing, idle phone calls, movies, unnecessary errands, etc) and deal with the actual problem–my brain being wrong. It’s my responsibility to care for this house. It’s not a demand for precision, it’s a need for love. I can’t love when I’m depressed. I’m too obsessed with the version of myself I see. So when I complain online about it, I do need support but I don’t need the advice to let it go and not worry about it.
However, that requires a lot of explaining to a lot of people. It requires “the rest of the story.”
I tend to be an over-sharing person when it comes to my life. Big surprise for a blogger, right? I have no problem telling anybody who seems to care that I had a day filled with terrible choices. There’s a liberation in it for me, like I’ve got a chance to move forward now that I’m all exposed. (No, I’ve never done streaking or anything. I’m mostly metaphorical.)
The problem with being so open is I feel a need to explain who I am to lots of people. Most people want to help if you say you have a problem, but they usually end up giving me the wrong advice with the best of intentions simply because they don’t really see the whole issue. They take the issue I’ve exposed and apply their own perspective to it, saying whatever would help THEM in a similar circumstance. This is completely understandable and I appreciate the sentiments very much. I just have to be careful what advice I follow.
Most of the time I say “thanks very much” and remind myself that I can’t just let it go for a day, that I have to deal with the lies, that I have to face reality, and that I need to embrace the joy of living.
The only real point I’m making is we all have trigger areas. Some people can’t walk into a bar because they know it’s too dangerous. Some people can’t be in a romantic relationship right now because they know they aren’t ready. And some very silly people, like me, know they can’t spend all morning watching reruns of TV shows from the 90s just because they don’t feel like looking life in the face that day. We have limitations, and that’s okay, because those limitations help show us where we are. They show us where we’ve made a wrong turn and how to correct it.
So, in closing, NEVER ENCOURAGE ME TO IGNORE THE HOUSE. haha. 😉