Monday, February 4, 2019


During my illustrious summer job as a hotel maid, I knocked on the door of each room and called out "Housekeeping!" before turning my master key and entering. I have a slight accent on the "ou" of "house" which sounds Minnesotan but is really Albertan. So it always came out "hosekeeping" but with a soft s.

But I digress. Immediately. Which is the point. I hate housekeeping. But I hate having an unkempt house. But I don't hate it enough to do anything about it. Also, I don't actually hate housecleaning. I enjoy making things clean and tidy. But for some reason, I can't wrap my head around the idea of it being a thing that happens every single day. I forget. I do the dishes. A week later, I walk into the kitchen, shocked to find more dishes. What the...? I wash the clothes. And then all of a sudden, someone has no clean sweatpants. Wait, what? Since when? I clean the bathroom. And it looks clean for a few days, until it suddenly doesn't, and then it's super gross, so I avoid cleaning it, repeat, ad nauseam.

What's wrong with me? Something clinical, I'm sure.

My therapist says I have Child Trauma Brain. Which means I spend my life in survival mode. I can do what it takes to survive. And on a daily basis, I can do what it took to survive as a 12yo. If it didn't equal survival when I was 12, it is not important to me now. Or something like that.

Housekeeping did not equal survival when I was 12. Survival was about making sure no one was mad at me, annoyed with me, or physically close enough to me to find out that I smelled bad. Survival meant not revealing that I was repulsive. Clean dishes, clean sweatpants, and a clean bathroom were not required for survival. They were extra. So now, in my mind, they are still extra. And if I'm having a fibro day or a PTSD day or an endometriosis day or an interstitial cystitis day, they are out the window. But what are the chances that I'm having neither a fibro, nor PTSD, nor endo, nor IC kind of day? Slim-ish. But I think those days are more a mindset than a physical condition at this point. I think I could do the dishes regardless. And a load of laundry regardless. And swish and swipe the bathroom regardless. And make the bed regardless. But I'm already overwhelmed, just typing that.

I've done all the housekeeping apps, plans, programs, and studies. I've started all the routines, made all the chore charts, and prayed all the prayers.

Nevertheless, I am surrounded by grime and clutter, and I can't make it stop.

I've begun reading a book my therapist recommended called Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw. And I think I might, maybe, be getting to the why of my messy house. Maybe. But I'm not getting my hopes up.

I think my messy house is a manifestation of the shame that binds me. The same with my weight. I think I wear my shame. I think I'm soaking in it with pruny fingers (fester, fester, fester, rot, rot, rot), and then I feel more ashamed, and then I hide, and then I feel more ashamed, and then I play games on my phone until I give myself tech neck. Very Important Games. In which I advance through pasture after pasture of solitaire levels with a farm background. Or I fake cross stitch.

Tonight, whilst fake cross stitching on my phone and listening to an audiobook read by a terrible amateur narrator who pronounces wanton like "won-ton" and actually says "MON-sieur", I thought maybe I could journal about housekeeping and that might maybe help. It's worth a try.

So my first thought is that my messy house is not the problem. It is a symptom.