Spilt Milk

I’ve been thinking a lot about housecleaning lately, not least because there’s a lot of cleaning that we need to take care of in this house. (January’s been a strange month, everyone; things have fallen behind, and I’m not afraid to admit it, even if I am somewhat ashamed.)

When I was a kid, I was almost the dictionary definition of “messy.” My bedroom was a disaster site roughly 99 percent of the time, with a floor near-permanently hidden underneath debris consisting of discarded toys, comics, scribbled-upon papers and anything else that had at one point slipped through my fingers. I was more than okay with it, though; I knew just how messy the room was, and also how frustrating it was for my mother, who’d perpetually complain about it before eventually just tidying it herself. I just didn’t particularly¬†care.

Somewhere along the line, that changed; decades later, I find myself tidying and straightening up as a form of therapy, although actually putting it in those terms makes me feel self-conscious and a little bit ridiculous. Nonetheless, on days when my stress or anxiety are peaking, I’ve discovered that something as simple as doing the dishes or folding laundry can help me feel more relaxed and more human.

Similarly, the idea that the house needs some attention is something that I find almost… comforting…? That’s not the right way to put it, I know, and I’m sure that when it actually comes to the time to, you know,¬†do the cleaning, I’ll find ways to grumble and complain, but still: I am almost looking forward to the idea of putting on some music and getting down to work with broom, dustpan, cleaning sprays and paper towels in metaphorical hand. The very thought makes me smile, as if it’s some kind of strange meditation I can look forward to, somehow.

The moral of this story, perhaps, is that someone needs to invent time travel so I can go back in time and clean up my own childhood messes, and enjoy doing so.

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