The "P" Word


When I was younger I had a very messy room.   

I knew where everything was.  It was just messy.   

My mom often referred to it as my “pig-sty.”  Leaving me, therefore, a pig.   

My mom in her attempts to get me to clean it tried everything from bribery, threats and the occasional rewards.  I even remember coming home one day to find everything I owned in trash bags in the garage.  That is, everything that was not put away.  Which was basically everything.  This attempt only made me mad.  It did not ignite the fire in me to clean everything as I’m sure my mom was hoping for.   

This was the constant battle between my mom and I.  We always had a third guy that started it all.  My messy room.  These battles continued on into my high school years.  My mom would tell me I couldn’t go out with my friends until it was all put away.  That only encouraged my creativity.  My friends would come over and we would spend 20 minutes stuffing every bit of clothing on top of my bed where we would nicely make the bed over it.    My mom knew what we were doing.  But how could she argue?  It was off the floor, right?  She used to get so frustrated at my thinking.  Why wouldn’t I just take the time to put it away?  It took me the same amount of time to disguise it as it would take to put it away!  Stubborness?  Laziness?  


It wasn’t until I got to college and had a roommate who was an artist.  Yes Tallulah.  This is you.  I am no where near the talent she is in her artwork.  But I am in my desires of creativity and appreciation of art.  She would tell me that a messy room was a sign of creativity.   

That was it!  I wasn’t a pig after all!  I was creative!   

And then I got married.  And as I quickly discovered in my marriage, it was like there was a big, huge magnifying glass on every weakness I had!  I don’t know why that is!  Perhaps to help us learn more about ourselves.  And this worked.  I have learned more about myself.  I don’t know if it is my marriage or a cause of just getting older.  Or perhaps both.  But the reason behind all of it came one day…around age 30 as I was anal-retentively organizing my business office space.   


I am neither a messy person nor a pig.  I keep a messy space, not because I am stubborn, lazy or a creative genius.  I am a perfectionist.  It is all or nothing.  It is either picture-perfect organized or it is the opposite.   

This was a major epiphany in my life.   

I was so THRILLED to discover the method behind my madness!!

Now the question comes: “Is this a curse or blessing?”   At times when my house is singing from cleanliness and every little thing has a home, it is a blessing indeed.  And most days it is my greatest weakness and a curse indeed.    

I’m sure my mom would be taken back to know the solution to our battles could have been solved by a well thought out trip to the Container Store and an investment of a few hundred dollars in some well planned and organized “homes” for my belongings.    

I don’t know why my brain works this way.  But it does.  If it has a home, I can rest.  If it doesn’t, “I will get to it.”  While in the meantime the pile heaps.  While I am sure there are many reasons behind this quirky trait, I have found comfort in knowing WHY I do the things I do.   

I guess the next part of my life will be in discovering ways to overcome this part of me that at times can be a curse.   

And while I am learning, I will repeat my motto of "It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be."  Maybe one day I'll really mean it.


Tallulah said...

LOVE IT! My step-dad used to comment when my room was messy, he'd say, "Looks like a bomb went off in here!" He'd say it in a funny voice to make me laugh. I cleaned when it proved worth my time. I'd sit and go through every letter, fold all my cloths with love, and I'd often pretend I was a maid for a fancy family. If I needed a break I'd hop on my four poster bed and sing into my make-shift microphone! Cleaning still isn't a daily thing for me but when I do I enjoy it!

I've had to come to terms with my messiness...and I totally get the magnifing glass image when you get married. Sometimes I think marrying someone with OCD tendencies was the greatest mistake I could make! I could ignore a mess for days! Weeks! And live in complete harmony! Even if I'm looking for something I know the general area. But Nathan gets anxiety if Logan's toys are on the floor when he gets home. I used to take offense when he'd pick up as soon as he got home, somehow feeling that I should've noticed it. Now I'm just grateful that I have a man that likes to clean!

It's all about perspective! Which reminds me of a great funny for my next post!

Anonymous said...

I believe I also suffer from perfectionism. I am currently trying to overcome this weakness and have found a website that helps me:

For anyone who reads this blog and thinks house cleaning is "all or nothing," this may help you as it has helped me. Since I have started "shining my sink" and baby-stepping my way out of clutter, my house has become a more welcoming, peaceful place for my family and I. I hope that helps someone out there.

Mamma Mia said...

Thank you for the recommendation to the flylady site. It has been added to our bookmark segment on the side. It looks like a great resource!

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