I often think life’s too busy to be tidy. Sometimes the accumulated clutter of my daily life does begin to get on my nerves. I like clear space around me. But the moment I get things tidied up I’m off to do something, normally in a rush, and somehow within a day things have started to accumulate.
A cup of tea. A toothbrush I’ve been meaning to take back to the bathroom. Paper. A pencil. A jumper. A drawing pin (need to be careful there!)
But I’m not writing about what really comes up when I think of mess. Which is emotional mess. The tear-streaked puffy-eyed tousle-haired mess of my miserable self this autumn, sometimes barely able to take two steps away from distraction without bursting into tears again. A hormonal mess of emotions. For a week every month. Far more humiliating than letting someone see the chaotic bedroom even at its untidiest.
I’ve emerged from that time with the triumph of new strength (and a much-more-stable hormonal balance), but looking back, its messiness is poignant and painful.
The books accumulating on the side of the bed where there was an ex-sized gap. Nobody would need to sleep there, so let the books pile up. I like sleeping with books. Messy, but companionable. (I’m keeping it tidy now… you never know…!)
I hate mess of the emotional kind. I like to see things clear and rational. And while I’m mostly on good terms with my emotions, I wish they’d not go oozing all over the place and getting me into trouble and tears. Still, they’re part of me, and life would be very dull without them.
Mess. Well, life is, mostly – the plans we laid ganging aft agley, our dreams that seemed like a guiding star which suddenly, as we approach them, reveal themselves as a whole galazy of confusing and tempting possibilities. But mess is interesting too. I don’t want my life to have the sterility of a magazine photoshoot house kept in arctic perfection.
My skin is a bit of a mess – old acne scars, chicken pox scars, that strange blodge the doctor told me was nothing to worry about. All fairly faint– I’m sure I notice them more than others do. The odd freckle. But then who’s to say that these are imperfections – or rather, who is to say that the airbrush perfection of cover photos is better than my face whose messiness tells a story.
A story I’m generally happy with, though not one that worked out quite to plan. With many messy loose ends and bits of emotional detritus. A lot of untold stories. But that sort of mess makes a life – and a face – and a story more interesting.
This is a 10 minute writing practice inspired by the regular topic posted at red ravine – this week’s topic was “mess”. The idea is to write without stopping or going back to edit your writing, and see what comes out.
(Images from an article called celebrities before and after photoshop at www. hemmy.net.)