No, You’re Not Lazy…You’re Depressed
“We’re coming to check our your balcony” translates to “you better have your house cleaned”, and honestly there are no more terrifying six words in the history of words, when your house is a mess and your apartment manager is bringing total strangers over.
I know this because last week I had to deep clean the front of my house to make it presentable, and honestly, it’s not the best job in history.
Regardless of your race, color, creed, nationality, size, or orientation, a messy house is a sign of internal turmoil, and it’s really time that we start normalizing it.
I’ve been secretly ashamed of my messy house for years, my inability to clean is actually pretty pitiful. The idea of having people in my home, clean or messy, sends me into a panic attack that ends with tears and silliness and me whining about how hard life is, and how embarrassed I am, and then ends with me feeling like a dumbass for making it harder than it has to be.
I don’t talk about it often because I am humiliated by the fact that at thirty-seven I can’t seem to get my shit together and keep my house clean like a “normal” person.
Then I remember.
Then I remember that over the last thirty-seven years I’ve been raped and gang-raped more times than I can count, by more man than any woman can fathom, I’ve been kidnapped, tortured, held against my will, drugged, beaten, and on and on and on and y’all I am fucking tired.
I am utterly physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted by the stream of abuse that I have experienced, and when I look around my house the last thing that I have the energy to do is clean up after myself.
Those dishes? They can wait till later, the garbage doesn’t stink, and that pile of clothing isn’t actually in my way so it’s no big deal it can wait too.
And then it happens, everything piles up and it becomes overwhelming and then I just can’t do anything because I don’t know where to start.
Then something happens and I have to clean my house, and then the cycle repeats, but not this time.
This time I am making a concentrated effort to keep it up by doing a little bit each day. Those dishes? They aren’t allowed to sit for more than fifteen hours, that’s the time limit. If they have been sitting out for fifteen hours they have to get done ASAP, even if I am planning to spend the day writing, they HAVE to get done.
That garbage? it went out this morning, because it was full and I didn’t want to start a new bag until the old one was out of the house, no more letting it pile up, no more repeating old patterns because I am fucking miserable, because to be honest with you a messy house just makes you feel more miserable.
I had help though, I had my mom and a neighbor that I call “mama” who came over to do the dishes and help out in the kitchen while I took out all the garbage, and there was a lot of it.
Today I am actually pretty proud of my house, I know it’s not perfect, but at least I can walk from my living room to my bedroom without tripping over shit, and yes my bedroom is a massive disaster but one thing at a time.
While I cannot find any articles to back my claim, I think that a messy house is a sign of trauma. If you’ve been traumatized the last thing you want to do is anything that pulls you away from healing, especially when you’re used to being in the darkness.
When you’re used to being miserable, you don’t really see how bad the world around you is until someone holds up a mirror, and then you get frustrated and embarrassed, because someone else can see the shit that you don’t want to focus on because focusing on it means you have to actually deal with it, and dealing with it is overwhelming.
Today I can say that I am still angry about what happened to me. I am bitter, and I am afraid that if I have daughters it will happen to them, I am scared that it will happen to me again.
That fear manifests in garbage piling up, dishes going unwashed, laundry ignored. The only tasks that I make sure to do every few days is feed and water the cats and change their cat litter because it’s not their fault that I am a fucking mess so I refuse to punish them by not taking care of them.
That’s something to build on, no matter what happens the cat litter gets done and they get food and water, it’s a start, but they also deserve a clean house. They didn’t ask to be here, they were essentially catnapped from their mother and brought to my home. So they deserve a place to run around and have fun.
They deserve not to have to play with garbage or jump over the garbage bags, so that’s a reason to keep the house clean, and the cleaner the house is the better it feels. Not just because it shows that I am capable of having a clean organized space, but because it means that I can handle my mental health issues.
I can make a million excuses for not cleaning, but the biggest reason that I have is that I had a dream once that they came back and specifically mentioned that the house was clean in the dream, that shit scared the ever-living crap out of me.
But it’s not an excuse to allow me to live in worse conditions than I expect wolves would live. It’s not enough of a reason to sit back and do nothing. I am tired of being afraid all the time. I am tired of living in a world were it’s expected that I keep my mouth shut out of fear, instead of talking about what happened so that I can get healthy again.
When you’ve been traumatized, your abusers will count on you remaining silent and miserable out of fear, and you’re doing their job for them.
I am not doing that anymore, and I don’t think you should either. I know it’s hard but if you’re having trouble keeping up with the cleaning, ask someone to help you, offer to pay them with money if you can afford it, or by cooking them dinner if you are able.
Asking for help is one of the hardest things that I have ever done, but living in misery is ten times harder, it takes soo much more effort to be miserable than it does to be happy, and honestly being happy with your surroundings is worth it.
Your home and your space should feel like your sanctuary, and no one can do that for you but you.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall