Those days where things were just messy were not that long ago, but I now look at them as the better days than I have. What I mean by messy and what you mean by messy might be different outlooks. I have known many people who are all worried about their place being a mess, then when you get there they have the laundry out. If you are waiting for more, you will be disappointed, because that’s it. The worry here was literally that the clean laundry that they had out and were folding, made their house a mess. I don’t even know how to processes a model of how a person like this thinks. That at the very worst is an incontinence, and only if I had my heart set on sitting in the chair they had been putting the clothes that they had folded. When you come to my house and I say it is a mess, you will step on clothes, and they won’t be clean and I won’t be folding them. There is a likeliness that you will need to ask me the color of my carpet, that is if you wanted to know that information, because you won’t be able to see enough of it to really tell yourself. That coverage will not only be clothes, there will be boxes, toys, paper, wires, and an odd assortment of other items. This is actually a nice way of what I think of as messy. My apartment clean is still messy by some definitions I have encountered in my life.
Now back when this was still the norm, I would get upset at my boys for not assisting me more in cleaning up. After all a lot of the mess is theirs as well, but I may have been expecting more of them than they needed to be doing, although I do still feel strongly in them doing a lot of the work. This all changed almost two years ago, when I started having regular pain in my back. I didn’t realize why at the time, but I slowly started having trouble bending over to pick things up, and then increasingly wasn’t able to sit on the hard floor to do the work sitting either. Clothes and toys started going left when dropped or thrown on the floor due to my pain. Then last year I finally had my back fixed, but the surgery has again left me with mobility restrictions and lack in mobility required for cleaning. What I needed to do, but had failed to do, would have been to set up a real organized plan before the operation so that I could go home with some peace of mind, but I did not do that. Instead I relied on the help from my father, which he would have to stop giving, and from my kids, which is a lot like juicing a stone. With a lack in help and me not being able to do a lot of the work, my place has started to cross that line from messy to dirty. I am not able to keep up, which is not an easy thing to admit, so that is reason to give me a break.
I still don’t have a lot of people to help me, and I have found that a lot of it has to do with my age. In a lot of my post surgical requests and visits from friends and family, I do get a lot of reactions about how its been x many months, I should be at 100% and getting this all done. If I say anything to the contrary, I usually get something about how the young bounce back or how I’m only in my early 30’s. The fact that I had a back fusion and give a year recovery time for, at best case, seems to somehow be made better by my age. This stigma pushed upon me from others has actually made it much harder to find help to get basic things done. There have been days when I am in a lot of pain when I dropped something I needed, keys phone what have you, and I couldn’t pick it up because I couldn’t bend. I didn’t know what to do, and so I looked at it. I have stood outside hoping that a neighbor would walk out so I could rope them into picking that item up for me. This has resulted in a new problem that compounds the first.
While I was already no good at cleaning, but now I am no able to pick anything up that is below waist level. While I have had a couple different grabber devices, there are always things you can’t pick up or move when you are limited to 20lbs and no bending. This took me back into dangerous territory of blame. First my dad for not coming over anymore, and then my kids that are there have of every month but do not always help in the cleaning. I again have people to blame, but the problem is that they aren’t to blame. While they are to blame, the kids that is, for not doing the parts that are their regular chores and getting those done would help a lot, they are not to blame for the whole thing and they did not choose me or my issues, they just got stuck with me. Nor did they have a vote in the surgery, and how that was going to complicate their lives. I would think they would have voted against it if we went back and asked them.
Now my house is back in one of those states were it is just too messy for me to know how to deal with. I have been through the stages of my cycle of embarrassment over the last month and depression where I felt too over whelmed by the magnitude of all of it that I just don’t think I can do anything. My kids don’t know what to think when it is like this, but get mad at me for making or causing the mess, when it really is all of our mess, I’m just not doing what is necessary to keep things cleaned up. They have called me lazy and dirty and these sorts of things that from anyone else I would justify my actions and ignore them, but from my kids, that do live in the apartment, and do see me clean, but at the same time see this cycle of the mess coming and going, being apart of the clean up and then maintaining it, only to see it go back to the mess it is now. It is when I know that they think of me like this that I feel the worst. It also isn’t like all I do is sit around or lay around the house. I do spend a lot of time doing both of those for my back these days, but I am also active, in my work out, in scouts, in my job, in helping my parents, and most of all in things I do with my kids.
I don’t really know how to end this because I am at that point, but I don’t have any explanations or solutions to this problem. I started the up side of the cycle today, which I can always tell by when I start picking up and putting away all the laundry. Not just what I need to get through the next week, but everything that isn’t clean. I noticed that there is a few things of concern to me that push that line from messy to dirty and I am starting to feel really bad about myself for allowing it to get to that point. Getting it clean isn’t a given when I start the upside, it is just a possibility. If my motivation remains long enough I will get the place perfect, or get it at least to a point that I am willing to invite someone else in to help. I do fear getting to that point though. The point in which the place is clean and just sitting in my living room is like a drug, taking in the wonderful feeling of sitting in a nice freshly cleaned room, knowing that it can easily slip into a disaster. If I knew how to not only how to keep it from slipping into that, but to be able to be present and aware that it was happening, then I might be able to stop it completely, but I have never figured out how I can have such a disconnect in what I am doing to the environment around me until I have gotten it to a point of over whelming disaster.
The only idea I have come up with is to make a checklist to go through the house and check everything on the checklist, which might help make me aware and keeping it up, but then how long do I do this checklist? What keeps me from putting things off when I notice them? The other issue is stuff. I am so attached to so many things and I need to just start throwing it all away. I don’t know how to get over this minor version of my dads hording, but I feel if I don’t, I will never get away from this. For now I am going to do what I always do with my problems and struggles, I am going to work on them one step at a time and write as much as I can about them. I will be working on a checklist, while I get things cleaned up, and hopefully find my way out. Maybe someone will read this and give me a new tool that I hadn’t considered.