I get the feeling sometimes that when I write about how messy my house is, the people reading nod their heads and think, yeah, my house is messy too.
They think they get it. They think they understand.
Except they don’t.
No really. They don’t really understand. The messy they visualize and the messy I’m talking about… they are completely different. The messy I’m talking about is in a league of its own.
Sure, I’m not a hoarder. Sure, there people with dirtier, messier houses than mine. But honestly, I doubt that anyone reading this blog really understands how gross my house gets. How gross my house is 99% of the time.
When I say that you can’t see the floor in the master bedroom, I mean, quite literally that YOU CANNOT SEE THE FLOOR. Not one part of it. Anywhere. It is covered in shit: clothes, boxes, paper, receipts, more clothes, clean clothes, dirty clothes, more clothes, socks, underwear, random articles that don’t have a home, books, pictures, hangers, the list goes on, maybe forever. That is how much shit there is on my bedroom floor. And under that shit is dust and sand and cat hair and layers of sediment. It has probably been swept three times in the last two years. Okay, maybe five. But honestly, it could be three. When I get into bed I have to clean my feet because they are black from walking around my house, and covered in sand and other debris from walking around my room.
When I say that my bathroom is disgusting I mean just that. It’s dirty to the point of unsanitary. You would be appalled to know that all four of us use it on a daily basis. And yes, we only have one bathroom, so we’re all using it all the time.
The shower gets so gross that recently it took FOUR Mr. Clean magic erasers just to get the scum off. I didn’t realize that my shower doors weren’t actually frosted, it was just a uniform layer of filth caking the glass. There is mold permanently growing around and in our sink basin. The toilet wreaks.
My car recently started smelling so bad that I was finally forced to clean it out. In excavating through the junk I found an entire lunch that my MIL had given to us to feed to Isa just rotting under the seat. Who knows how long it had been there. I drove it with the smell for over a week before I finally broke down and looked for what was so rank. An entire week of driving a car that smelled like a dozen shitty diapers.
So when I write a post like yesterday’s and say that I think the way my house looks says something about who I am, I’m not talking about what it means if my toilet isn’t sparkling or if there are a few books and toys and shoes in the back seat. I’m talking about living with a level of mess and filth that the people reading this probably can’t actually fathom. I’m talking about grossness on an incomprehensible scale.
When I say that I NEED to this, to life a minimalist life, I’m not being facetious. I really do NEED this. We can’t continue to live this way.
And when I say I’m ashamed of the what I’ve let my house become, it’s not about a few dishes in the sink or missing a weekly toilet scrubbing, it’s about actually wondering if CPS could take my kids based on how messy our house sometimes gets.
That is the kind of disorder I am talking about.
You may wonder why I am writing this. Why would I share this with the world?
I need to be honest about this. I need to put my truth out into the world or I will never own it, and things will never change. In AA the first step is to admit that you have a problem and are powerless to stop it. This is my admission: I can’t manage my life. Eventually, my stuff will consume me. I need to admit that to myself more than to anyone else, but I can’t know and accept it as truth, not really, if I don’t put it out there.
I would also love to think that, in admitting this terrible secret, I’m letting someone else know that they are not alone. That when I say my house looks like a disaster area it actually does, and I’m not referring to a few toys are strewn about an otherwise pristine living space. That I get it, and I don’t judge. But honestly, I don’t really believe that anyone reading this is living in a home that resembles my own. I don’t believe that anyone reading this could stand to live in the conditions I endure.
This thing I’m doing, this attempting to live a minimalist life, it’s not about cleaning my bathroom more. It’s about having a bathroom that I might actually be able to clean. It’s not about vacuuming my car’s interior once a month, but getting the level of crap down to a point where my daughter’s legs can hang in front of her car seat. I have so much work to do, but I really hope to get it all done.
Because when I say that my house is dirty, and someone nods their head in understanding, I want to think that we’re imaging the same level of disarray, instead of accepting that what she considers messy I would probably consider clean. I want to think that I’m more like everyone else.