Day 2

At the prompting of Patti Digh (and life, and timing, and the universe), I'm doing one thing every day for 37 Days, and sharing that journey here. You can read about what I'm doing in this post.

Day #2

My confession: I have a messy house. Frequently, a dirty house. Almost all the time. It has been this way... forever, I think. My room when I was young would get overwhelmingly messy, until my Mom made me and my sisters clean it. When I moved out on my own... OK, actually, the first time I moved out on my own, my place was clean. Like, OCD clean. Everything had its place, and I worked meticulously to make sure everything STAYED in its place. I was one of those people that if something on my table was one-quarter inch away from where it "should" be, I couldn't rest until I'd made it right. Wow, I hadn't thought about that in a long time.

But now? I don't let people in. If you have a friend who, when you pick her up, she meets you outside her door, or if you bring something by, she meets you at the door and doesn't let you in? More than likely, she's messy. And ashamed.

I'm not gonna be posting pictures or anything, nor painting a picture with words about how messy my home is. Just trust me: it's messy.

I don't leave food out, and the litter box is scooped. And over time, things have gotten better, bit by bit. There's a whole other post about having the boys clean with me, and why my house is the way it is - but that's a whole other post.

For right now, I'll say - I'm using my energy for what's important to me, and what's important to me is connecting with the boys, being with them, doing things together - NOT coercing them or manipulating them into cleaning.

I've done a whole lot of healing work around this, writing, looking at it from every angle. Lots of a-ha moments and insights and change and growth. And it's culminated into this:

The second thing I'm going to do every day for 37 days? Take at least 15 minutes and clean. Every day. I've done that these past two days, and it feels good. I've done it before - I got the FlyLady e-mails, and followed that program until I didn't. I always get to a point where I just stop. I had a BIG insight into that the last time my kitchen was relatively clean - I guess I'll share that in the "other post" I was writing about earlier.

I used to carry LOTS more shame about my messy home - but shame doesn't serve anyone, it wasn't helpful. I say I'm not shameful now - but I sure wouldn't let you in to my house! I guess my shame has lessened, because I used to hide this, not tell anyone. Now, most people who know me a little know about it. Some have even come in. Some have loved me, anyway.

So, that's the second thing about me. If you want to come over, let me know, and we'll talk about it, and maybe I'll let you in - if a messy house doesn't freak you out. Don't pretend! But if you want, and you're OK with it, I'll let you in.

I'm letting you in a little bit right now.


Ronnie said...

Oh, Caren. Are you sure we're not twins?

Your mess doesn't scare me, but I'd never let you see mine! :-)

GreenishLady said...

I have been there. I am still there in some (hidden) parts of my home, and I really honour your courage in sharing this here. You are so, so, so not alone in this (if you're with FlyLady, you know this already, though). And you know of all the things that are going to help, many of them have nothing to do with your home, and a lot to do with loving yourself, being kind to yourself. If I was anywhere nearby, I'd be so glad to come over, and have a cup of coffee with you. Really, really glad. Bless every little step you take, and well done on planning 37 days of steps. I'm with you!

carri said...

I would feel quite at home in your mess, Caren. I am coming to the conclusion that life, when lived to the fullest, is such a fun mess! But I don't share our mess with very many people either.

cynthia said...

My house isn't filthy but it is only as clean as you can get a run down mobile home that eleven people have lived in for fifteen years. I got sick of the nasty carpet and pulled it up. We walk on sub-flooring. Both bathrooms need work ... one needs extensive work. My kitchen wall behind the sink is gross because of water that has been splashed on it over the years. I could go on and on. Because of all of this, I don't invite people over. I just realized that my kids don't invite people over either. I think they are ashamed as well.

BTW, I just realized that you unschool. So do we ... but even that has seemed more like nothing lately. I need some inspiration! Oh and I lived in Charlotte from 1990 - 1993. Now I am just down the road in upstate SC.

hahamommy said...

The Messy House Healing Process over here was aided by bringing over a very insistent 7-year-old friend, who's opinion mattered to me & I was sure she'd be disgusted, and she said: Wow! Your house is messy, just like ours!
:D It's not even close in my mind, but in hers, it means freedom to *do* without worries of making a bigger mess :D
Let Willow help you, too!

Carolynn said...

Very brave of you to reveal such a vulnerable part of yourself. I like the goal of cleaning a little bit every day. That's absolutely attainable and I have a feeling, you'll find more than dust bunnies as you clean away the mess that you've been allowing to accumulate. I look forward to reading about the revelations you make on this 37 day trek.

Deirdre Reid said...

I'm going to enjoy reading about your 37 days, it will be much more interesting than mine (meditating ten minutes a day, yeah, yawn, but I'm happy with it). I once thought that messiness was maybe a sign of a bit of depression or apathy, but now I think it's a more about where our priorities are. I tend to let clutter pile up but mostly because I rather deal with other things. But I admit that I do feel much better with a decluttered room.

piscesgrrl said...

I tend to err on the side of tidy, but mostly because I honestly can't breathe among clutter in my house. Now, the funny thing? It doesn't bother me in other people's houses - not one bit. In fact, I'm envious of their clutter and the ability to live among their things without getting twitchy. Usually after I leave an especially full house, I actually swing in that direction and allow my stuff to lay out and about. Eventually, though, I get twitchy again and toss it all back into boxes or closets. I just can't do it long-term.

I think it speaks of a full, busy, artistic life to be able to live among your things without flaking out and cleaning all the time. You may be surprised to hear this, but I actually strive to be more like you!

Jean said...

I love this! I have a messy house, too. When you mentioned meeting people when they come to pick you up, it made me laugh!

Thank you for sharing bits about yourself! I look forward to learning more about you!