I began the new year in a leisurely fashion, deciding at about 10 am on New Years Day to take on the project of paleo cinnamon rolls (not a small undertaking). As I began my paleo baking project, my husband drinking his coffee in our bedroom, I received a text from a dear friend who moved across the country six months ago asking if I was around because she was in the neighborhood. With only a moments hesitation I enthusiastically responded YES, excited at the prospect of seeing my dear friend. She let me know that she’d be by in about an hour.
I then took stock of the insanity that was my recently holidayed house and had a minor freak out in considering whether I should drop everything and make my house look presentable. But somehow instead of diverting my plans and turning into hyper-cleaning mode, I stayed the paleo baking course. This felt like a massive breakthrough for me.
I am chaos incarnate. My husband can attest to this better than anyone else on the planet. I move through a space like a tornado, my wake is far-reaching and unforgiving. The holidays for me are an intense time of creating. I love giving gifts, particularly ones that I have made. My house is my workshop of sorts, with my creative scraps strewn in all directions. It is far from calm. It is the opposite of tidy. It is downright messy. But it’s me.
The messy side of me is one that I’ve judged for most of my adult life. I have tried to hide it from the world, adopting an impressive hyper-clean mode that allows me to tornado through a space (much like I do in my creative process) and make it appear to be clean rather quickly. But the chaos is underlying– and who am I trying to impress, anyway? I am who I am.
So my dear friend who I hadn’t seen in six months entered my complete chaos. And you know what? It was absolutely perfect. She didn’t judge me. She actually seemed to enjoy parsing through the magical pile of disarray that sat next to her on the couch. She hung with me as I completed my baking project and then we sat and recounted our lives to each other as old friends do. She didn’t need me to apologize for my mess– and I managed to keep myself from doing so. (though it was challenging)
We are all our own harshest critics. Our fear of judgment keeps us separate from each other. The first thought that went through my mind when I received that message from my friend was: “shit, this house is a mess– how can I possibly let anyone see this?” And then thankfully very quickly my mind moved past my fear of judgement and onto something much more productive and nourishing, my desire for connection.
I have finally managed at the tender age of 42 to get over myself enough to understand that the whole world is not worried about my own perceived shortcomings. And I have far more to offer to the world than a neat and tidy home (thank goodness). My life is about as far from neat and tidy as one could possibly imagine– and in owning my mess I become more powerful. Besides, isn’t there some correlation between messiness and genius?