See What Happens When I Try to Clean?

Woke up this morning with a song message in my head - how do I know it's a message, and not just a song? Something inside tells me, in addition to which, I have not thought of this song... ever. In years. And suddenly, the *entire* song is there, I know every word somehow.

I woke up feeling slightly overwhelmed. I'm a single mom, and sometimes I feel like - this is *too much* for me to do by myself. My house is currently messy - my process with housecleaning would probably take a whole blog in and of itself - and I wanted to work on it. And immediately had those whiny feelings: "It's too mu-u-u-u-ch. I can't do it all. It's too bi-i-i-i-i-i-g. Waaaah, waaahhh...." And then, from nowhere:

If you've got a problem, I don't care what it is
If you need a hand, I can assure you this
I can help, I've got two strong arms, I can help
It would sure do me good, to do you good
Let me help

Jerry Lee? You're gonna come help me clean my house? Billy Swan? How 'bout you? OK, not Jerry Lee or Billy Swan - but a reminder that I'm NOT ALONE. I am supported. I have to admit, it kinda makes me...cranky... that the lyrics say "I've got two strong arms" and the only arms here are my own. (I don't think the dog and 3 cats count, when it comes to cleaning. I refuse to *make* the boys clean, plus they're not here now.) ALSO, later in the song, it says "If your child needs a daddy, I can help." Um, no thank you. My child has a daddy, thanks. Both children have a daddy. We're good. So what does it mean? Like I said, it means I'm not alone. I do believe in spirit helpers, guides, whatever you want to call 'em. And I've been getting message after message lately that they're here. And, apparently, they can help. All right, I'm just gonna trust that, and go with it. Like FlyLady* taught me, I set my timer, picked a spot and started clearing. Then, a few minutes before the timer went off, I *had* to watch TV. Right then. It didn't feel like procrastination, or avoidance (of course, procrastination and avoidance frequently don't), so I went with the feeling. Told myself I'd clean when whatever I watched was done. Looked at the clock - it was exactly 9:00. All right, guess I'm supposed to watch something that comes on now. I flipped on the set, looked at the program guide - and there it was! Tim Gunn's Guide to Style! The episode I had missed! Yay! ("Really?" my doubting voice said. "This is just an excuse to not clean." No, it's not. This feels different. I'm watching. And, since I'm going with those feelings even if others might look at them as wrong, I'm watching the WHOLE THING. Not taping it. So there. "All right. You're an adult. Suit yourself.")

The episode was about Lori, a probation officer, who had asked for help choosing fun, sexy clothes. All of her clothes were primarily comfortable. Which meant they looked like most of my clothes - sweats, big, baggy clothing. No shape. I cringed when they were going through her closet, and said the clothes that she wanted to keep looked like they were at a thrift store. So do mine. That's where most of them are from. Which is fine, but thrift store clothes that are several years old, picked to be comfortable? Not flattering. (OK, a note about this show and others like it. I often don't like it, when they almost make fun of the person about their clothing choices. It's such a personal thing. And I don't think that every single person needs to be dressed to the nines every minute of every day. Like in this show, they don't even want you to *own* a sweat suit. If you're just doing stuff around the house, why not? Why not be comfortable? But I can't deny that changing their clothing helps the participants to change their attitudes about themselves. You can *see* the difference at the end of the program. So maybe I need to look at that. While I don't need to dress like a fashion show, I probably also don't need to dress like a frump. I try to remain open-minded. Maybe they have something to teach me.) SO - Lori. I missed the very beginning of the show, so I didn't know that she had a large scar on her leg from an accident, and she had only worn pants or long dresses since then. Before the accident, the clothes she wore were youthful and fashionable; afterwards, not so much. All through the show, it showed her coming to terms with her scar, learning to accept it. They had Padme Lakshmi, who is a gorgeous model who has a scar on her arm, come talk to her. And through the whole process of cleaning out her closet, choosing new clothes, getting a makeover, Lori came to be able to accept her scar, not be afraid to show it.

When Padme was talking to Lori, it hit me - I have scars, too. Not physical ones (just a couple, from a breast biopsy (benign), and a childhood scar on my knee), but emotional. And I haven't come to terms with those. I want those to stay hidden. So I'm keeping my metaphorical sweatpants on, staying covered lest people point and laugh. But, but... there was Lori, at the end of the show, wearing shorter dresses without stockings, standing proud. And no one was pointing or laughing. She wasn't in the accident any more, she had survived. I'm not in my childhood any more. It's done. It's over. And I survived. Part of accepting myself, saying out loud "There's nothing wrong with me" is accepting those scars, too, and what those scars reveal about me. Learning to live with an open heart means open to it all - open to my own stuff. Showing where I'm not perfect. (even though it's all perfect, it's all as it's meant to be.) Saying, I'm scarred here. And here, and here. And these scars are part of who I am. Here I am. It's me.

And wow, even with those scars, look what the Killer has to say about me:

It's a fact that people get lonely, ain't nothin' new
But a woman like you baby, should never have the blues
Let me help....

When I go to sleep at night, you're always a part of my dream
Holding me tight, and telling me everything....

Well, if it works for Billy Swan and Jerry Lee, I must have it goin' on! Right?

So here I go, setting my timer again, doing what I can. And after that, possibly checking out Missus SmartyPants, a FlyLady friend recommended by an awesome unschooler, Stacey, who has it goin' on as well. Keep moving forward, keep meeting life, even without sweatpants.


*There are things about FlyLady that drive me crazy - her condescending tone, insistence on shoes, etc. I take what I need and leave the rest. It's been helpful. I read somewhere if you can think of FlyLady as a nutty old aunt, who really loves you and wants what's best for you, she's easier to accept. Works for me.


Pam Genant said...

I love this blog post. You made me cry, so insightful.

There are also things I don't like about flylady. And I can procrastinate about cleaning. But I have devised my own flyladyesque system that works for me. You can take her philosophy and wrap yourself around it to make it your own.

Emily said...

Yes. YES. This is why I blogged my whole story and am now writing a book on it. Wearing it makes it just a part of me, rather than all of me. For so long, I tried to act like it was not there at all, but then I was denying it.

FOO said...

Yes, this is a lovely post! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

(And I also completely agree about Tom Gunn - Veronica is the worst of the two, I think, related to the snarkiness factor - and the Fly Lady. And let me know what you think if you check out MSP!)

dharmamama said...

So... after I posted this, I was almost in panic-attack mode. Why? Because now you know I have scars. Then, I had to go and tell someone about the post on an e-mail list. Good gosh, I almost curled up under my desk into a tight ball. "Whatever will people think?" insecure voice asks, the continual question. I appreciate your kind comments, and relating.

Ya know, I think Veronica *tries* to be snarky, like she thinks it has to be part of the show. I did crack up that Tim Gunn had NO idea some black women like big booty. I guess he's in that stick-model world all the time.

And, oh my gosh, I could probably write a whole post about my Missus SmartyPants experience. Let me just say, for the second time in a day, I wanted to curl up into a tiny ball until the threat had passed. Very overwhelming. I think I bit off more than I could chew. I'm going to dip back in, bit by bit. Maybe just read one tip at a time or something. lol

thailandchani said...

This is really a wonderful post with some very good insights. :) While I have no idea who Flylady is, I get the gist of it. And I certainly understand the hiding.

jeanie said...

I came to this post by way of your comment on Julie Pippert - I can so relate to what you are saying!

I cannot DO flylady - I always end up with more clutter and guilt than when I started - but I have a great list system (that I am avoiding by blogging at the moment!)

Michele said...

Kudos to you for being a single mom. We have one child and I'm overwhelmed with two of us taking care of her. I'm in awe of singles parents ... I have no idea how they do it and it makes me realize I should stop whining.