Knowing that I now can only blame myself for the messy life that I live everyday, even though I will still hold it against my dad, I now need to really conflict on the progression of the issue. I think there is more than one kind of messy person. Basically, I believe all messy people can be categorized into two groups. There are the people who are just messy, and the people who are dirty. What sets the two groups apart is not the amount of stuff they have, or even how it is scattered about their homes, but a simple measure of the amount of dirty things that are in their house as a result of being messy. What I mean by this is simple. Food, drink, mold, mildew, ect. These are things that cause a house to be dirty, not just messy. While my house is usually messy, it is usually a matter of too much stuff not put aways and tossed about, but you could pick it up safely, without the concern of running across something that would make you gag or that you would have to identify in a lab to know what it once was.
It’s an important distinction for me, because I have always said “I might be messy, but I’m not dirty.” I still think this statement can hold true, but I think that this is a fine line. A messy person only has to misplace one dish, drop one thing, before they become dirty without trying to be. If the house is messy enough then you can easily do that. After I moved out of my parents house is when I first started a real pattern of messy behavior. I went from having parents to clean up after me, to being on my own and having to cook and clean for only me. I learned all sorts of live lessons about how to tell which was your cleanest dirty shirt when you forgot to do laundry, and how to make “organized” piles of my stuff, so I knew how to find stuff. The only time this mess got cleaned is when my girlfriends stayed over or a friend needed a place to stay for a day or two.
It was in my second apartment when I realized a true cycle, that I have discussed with my doctor and a therapist at one time, in my cleaning. It starts with the perfectly clean house. You have to close your eyes and imagine everything put away, and straightened up. You can smell the lemon oil and carpet cleaner and a breeze through the house. This to me is a real happy place. I love this place, even in my crappy little apartment, it can be wonderful. In this place I make rules, because we are going to keep it this way. Then the first rule is broken by me. I leave a coke can out, or a dish on the table, or something from the car in the middle of the floor. A week goes by and a few more rules are broken, but for some reason, it what was told to me was some sort of disconnect, I have never fixed my first mistake. That can is still sitting on that table, and now with one there, the whole family and myself have decided a couple more wont hurt, besides we will pick them up later. Another week goes by, and a have done a few attempts to clean up but didn’t get far, and then I walk in one day, one or two months out, and realize that it has all gotten worse than it was before I cleaned it last time. The sink is full of dishes, there is barely a path to walk through the living room to get to the bedrooms, I can’t even lay on my bed, the bathroom floor has enough closes overflowing the dirty basket that you can no longer walk in there without walking over them, and I have no idea what happened.
It isn’t that I intentionally didn’t clean, I started out with a clean place, which likely took me taking vacation time, or even enlisting family or hiring friends to get to that point. I knew how to keep it that way, had a plan in place to keep it that way, even made a point to look it over everyday to make sure it wasn’t getting too bad that I couldn’t clean it up. Now suddenly I am living back in a junkyard made up of me and my kids clothes, wrappers, coke bottles, toys, and who knows what else just everywhere, but I don’t know how it happened. I honestly don’t I remember the clean, and now see the dirty, but somehow I missed the in between part where it was being messed up. Then seeing it in this state I know that it is not possible to get it clean. It is now an impossible task and I lock myself up and don’t know how to make it better. I don’t want to ask family or friends for help, they have all seen this before and I don’t want them to think so much less of me for not being able to keep cleaning after myself and my kids. What kind of horrible parent or person am I that I can’t provide a healthy clean environment for my children, but the qualifier always in there that I am messy not dirty.
This realization sends me into a spiral of depression, where I hide my apartment, I don’t invite anyone over, and never open my door all the way. I can’t risk everything I have because one person will think me to be this horrible neglectful father that can’t do simple chores. It becomes my messy secrete, the only thing in my life I don’t talk about, but becomes harder and harder as I go into my late 20’s and early 30’s. With more and more messes in my house, I become more and more comfortable with allowing these messes to build in my car. Where at one point I would occasionally take everything in my car inside, sort out the trash and put things away, I now don’t have room for anything else inside, so more and more stuff has to stay in the car. This only proves to be a solution that can work on a temporary basis, but worse of all, hiding your car is harder than hiding your house.