Hi, friends! It’s Friday and I’ve been kind of attempting to clean up our house day-by-day all this week. We have family coming to visit for Remi’s birthday this weekend and we have a list of things we want to do before then and we’re making very slow progress, TBH. I start teaching my one fall class on Thursday and Remi starts pre-k for the first time next week and then there’s the fact that we live in one big toddler-fueled romper room that used to be our home. Oh, and Waffle and I both work full-time, opposite hours.
Life. Is. Messy.
Literally and figuratively, we are just getting through the mess day-by-day. I wish that I could KonMari my life sometimes and I certainly do feel satisfaction and peace when my house is closer to clean (though it’s never really orderly). However, I think maybe I’m just a messy person. And maybe it’s OK to be messy, a big ol’ beautiful mess.
I always have slightly too much going on. I can’t remember the last time I was only working one job. I’m always doing two or three or more jobs at once, usually a full-time job plus a few side jobs. However, that ability to work multiple jobs at once let me test out a lot of possible futures and gain skills I couldn’t get in my day jobs. I love being an adjunct professor of LGBTQ history. I loved traveling around the U.S. delivering sexuality programs as a public speaker. I love writing for Autostraddle. It’s always been worth the messiness of balancing multiple jobs. In KonMari terms, my side jobs spark joy.
At home and at work, I’m not a streamlined, everything-in-its-place person. I’m what you might call a “horizontal filer” meaning my papers and things just end up in piles and it’s very easy for me to let a surface like a desk or a table evolve into clutter madness. That said, 85% of the time I have a rough visual memory of what I put where, so there truly is some level of method to the seeming lack of order.
The one area where I’m not messy is my emotions because I’m a stoic Capricorn who keeps my real feelings pressed into my fists and tucked under my hairline. That is a type of messiness that scares me, personally, and I find myself being a little jealous of people who can let their emotional mess out without shame or fear.
After all, who decided it was bad to be “a mess”? Was is the same person who decided women were hysterical? Because it feels like that, like messiness is sometimes code for “can’t keep it together, can’t cut it,” when the work of cleaning up messiness is very much feminized across most cultures. What if disrupting capitalism and sexism and cutting through heteronormative noise is also wrapped up in celebrating messiness, reclaiming messy space? Like the amorphous and multi-dimensional planes of sexuality and gender, perhaps messy is a naturally queer state of being.
If that’s true or if it can be, maybe we are allowed to celebrate the job that comes with unswept floors and bold emotional displays and packed schedules and chaotic energy. Maybe we’re allowed to be too much and take up too much space and let our messiness be a part of our choice to claim power.
Or maybe I just want to believe that! Either way, I know I’m going to get the most cleaning done in the final hour before my family arrives at our house and, quite frankly, that’s probably more than enough.
How about you? What’s messy in your life? Or do you keep things tidy because that’s what works for you? Are you a KonMari devotee or do you think it’s nonsense to talk to your old tank tops? What’s your relationship to mess?
Also, feel free to just tell me all about what’s going on with you and your delicious life! What’s new? What’s old news? How are your kids and furkids? What is your current Netflix binge? Tell me! I wanna know about you! I’ll be here all day, so come as you are and maybe I’ll make some progress on my to-do list while we hang out!
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