growing up was constant chaos.
not just because my mother was half way present, and not just because we moved an average of 2 times a year. but because every 'home', which never felt as it sounds, was in constant chaos itself. there were always boxes that wanted to be unpacked, but wouldn't because they would be leaving again soon. there was always papers upon papers piled high on any small available space we had. every windowsill and counter top that wasn't taken up by bills was covered in my mothers useless knickknacks; tiny tiny plants too small to bring any oxygen into our lives, old chocolate wrappers that i had (as a two year old mind you) folded back up and given to her, rocks we found on walks. you name it, it was on our windowsill. we never ate dinner together, never sat at a table, even when we had one. we never lived in a place with enough room, so my mother usually made her bed on the couch. a couple times, we both did. we always lived in apartments that were inherently dirty to begin with, so the clutter only made it that much more charming. i was never made to clean a thing, not my room, not the bathroom, not the dishes, nothing. half of me was lost in a world of make believe that medicated my tired young soul and half of me was tending to a mother who seemed to cry more than the average mother should. although i can remember feeling unsafe in our cluttered messes, they were not priority.
when i was 12 i moved in with my grandparents. i did this because having fallen victim to small town boredom, i had become a theif. as part of probation my option was to move away. my grandmother was beyond hard on me, i am thankful for her every day. at the time i thought what she put me through was insane, and you know even looking back, it was a little crazy. but she is the reason i am a functioning adult. she is the reason i can clean, cook, discipline my children, have common sense or any amount of motivation in life.
she had me do chores, she made me clean my room til it was spotless and she made me dinner every night. every night. if i left an article of clothing on the floor in my room it was taken and i would buy it back with part of my allowance. i can remember one of the first days i was there i was told to sweep the porch. i went outside and did what i thought it looked like i should do. i know this probably sounds like the most foolish thing in the world, but i didn't know how to use the broom. she came out and showed me.
when i left her home to come back to mine there was a part of me that had been woken up. i had always been an organized person, i had always had that inside me. but i grew up in a home where nothing about who i am was nurtured or fostered, nothing was pushed to grow. so i had never known.
since then i have had a few times in my life where the chaos takes over again and i let everything fall around me, its scary, and yet that scariness is comfortable. so at some spots in my life since then, for whatever reason i'm feeling some way that makes me regress to that scary mess, ive let it go.
in general and in life though i thrive off of organization. i think its a combination of what has always been in me and my drive to be the polar opposite of my mother.
seth and i are different when it comes to this issue. he likes clean things, but he is very ok with disorganization. i think he's better living with it if its hidden, but i know its still there and in my mind its very there, eating me alive. some say its because he's an artist and they are messy people, some believe he never had to clean his own messes growing up... hmm... either way its been something that is hard for us both. his closet is something i dream about, that makes me feel like i'm going to have a nervous breakdown at any moment. i can close it and try to pretend everything isn't desheleved behind those doors, but my heart knows better. i've gone through phases where i clean it for him but the amount of effort i put into it isn't worth the amount of time it stays even remotely organized. i haven't been very serious in the past when telling him how much it bothers me. i've let it take me over, i've let it cloud my motivation to keep my house the way i would have it. it makes it hard for me to be motivated to clean as deeply and regularly as i like because inside i know there will always be a hidden mess.
this transfers into my emotional self. this is the neurotic part. i start to feel crazy, discontent, lonely, stressed, overwhelmed and scattered when the disorganization gets to me. i thought when we moved here, because we were getting rid of stuff it would be organized, but nope.
anyway, all this to say that he has heard my cry. my wails. my screams.
seth cleaned out his closet and got rid of SO much stuff.
i feel like i can breathe again, and i feel like there is a point to all the cleaning i do everyday. i feel like every part of our house is organized.
... except his nightstand, but that's where i draw the line for myself.
thank you seth, you just saved my life.