I often get the question is my home as neat as I like to keep things at work? The honest answer is no. I battle with my need for order and my love for creative chaos. At work there is a job that needs to be done. It doesn't matter what kind of work I am doing or what kind of work environment I find myself in. At my restaurant jobs empty cups drive me crazy. The lemons that aren't refilled when someone uses the last of them gives me small seizures. At my desk jobs my desk was always left in an orderly manner. Papers neatly stacked and put to the side. Projects that need to be done put in the proper basket. My decorations perfectly placed in a way that makes me feel calm. And my home? There always seem to be laundry to fold, dishes to wash, blankets left strewn about. While I find solace in my work being in order, I find the same kind of solace in the mess that is my home. My need for perfection battles the joy I get out of tornado kitties making a mess. I don't seem to mind walking in to shoes being left out or a couple of empty water bottles left on my night stand. I think there is a beautiful balance that I've managed to find between my OCD tendencies and my say lave attitude.
There is peace in cleaning though. I know that when I am upset it helps me to take bleach to the toilet. It helps me to vacuum the crap out of the carpet even though I know I will never ever ever get all the cat hair up. In fact, I will still probably find my dog's hair for years to come. I find solace in putting something that is a complete mess into some kind of order. If I think about it really it makes sense that at my work whatever I may be doing at the time I find it calming to clean, to straighten, to fill. I'm in a high stress environment for whatever the reason. I've just been triple sat but I still find time to throw a bucket of ice in the beverage station because it makes me feel good to make it perfect again. To wipe the counter after five people walked away from it because of being lazy or being busy or whatever makes me feel better about the job I am doing. It's like a reset button. It was dirty and now it's not. Now we can move forward. People look at me like I'm a crazy person because I can't sit still. I think a lot of that comes from my mother though. Not once did I ever really see her sit down, relax. She was always doing something. She was always making something. She was always making things better. In so many ways I am like her. Who wants to work in an environment where there is no order? Sometimes I watch people run around when it's not necessary. I see the madness that people create for themselves when it doesn't have to be that way. You stop. You fix it. You move on. There are no lemons. You refill them. There are no cups. You refill them. Someone dropped a ranch on the floor. You clean it up. There is sense to that, a calm that you can find in the simplicity of resetting something back to new.
And then I think about my home, my life experiences that haven't always been able to put into a nice box. I haven't always been able to wrap something up in a nice bow. I haven't always wanted to. The reality of life is that perfection doesn't exist. While I can stack plates in an orderly fashion, I can't always stack my life the same way. I have a teenage daughter which often causes chaos in my home. We don't always see eye to eye. Things don't always work out nicely the way they should. I have my ideas and she has hers. She doesn't understand currently that I have been around a bit longer than she has and she won't understand that until she's been around for longer than she has. It's life. I would like to have an orderly house with things always in their place. I would like to have nice things that don't collect dust but I know that's not my part in this life. I know that I love life to be slightly askew. I enjoy the way my husband is a little bit messy. I love lying on the couch and watching dumb television even though there are a million things to do. There is beauty there. Don't get me wrong. I get bugs up my butt sometimes and I end up tossing half my house out. That is the struggle that is me.
Having a creative mind often conflicts with my practical nature. I laugh when things don't go my way because after being on this earth 37 years I understand that often life will not go my way. I think I accepted that when I found myself a single mother of a little girl. Of course life hadn't gone my way before that but knowing and accepting are two different things. When I write, I often have no plan. I don't make outlines or bullet points. I don't make a plan on where it will go. I sometimes sit down to write without knowing the first sentence that will pour out of these fingers. I just write. I allow myself to feel whatever it is I am feeling without regulations, without hesitations. I allow myself honesty within my words because that is what being creative is to me. I compare it to the other areas of my life. Financially I am a prude. I make plans. I think about the things that need to be paid for. I try to figure out the most efficient way, the most beneficial way to keep my family afloat. I live in the moment just as much as I imagine tomorrow. And somehow I have found a balance with both. In these stolen moments when I can sit down and write I can give myself permission to let the need for perfection go. I give myself permission to close my eyes and let myself feel all the things that are impractical to feel when I got a full section to take care of, when I got a teenage daughter to argue with, when I have a husband to be serious with. My creative heart will always find a way to beat.
Balance is probably one of the biggest things this world is missing. We find something and we run with it, not really thinking about the complications being one extreme may cause. I used to have a hard time balancing the two. I thought that there was something wrong with me. I would go too serious, only thinking about the technicalities of this world and forgetting that my heart need care as well. I would get wrapped up in the bills, in making money, in trying to make everything perfect that I would forget that my daughter's face covered in peanut butter was a far more beautiful sight. I would lose myself in trying to be everything to everyone that I would forget about the girl sitting in the corner of a coffee shop. In the same breath I would go the other direction. I would only get lost in the peanut butter. I would only want to be by myself. Being the extreme of one was just as unhealthy. I think I have only just conquered this idea of balance. For so long I was the only one my daughter had so that's who I was, that's what I did. There wasn't much time to nurture the lovely parts of me. And then in the last few years something changed and I understood that while I could still be everything to the people who mattered, I could also be something to me. I could be proud of the clean kitchen counter just as much as I could enjoy the socks on the floor. When I come at night, I know my house isn't perfect. I know my life isn't perfect. I know the kitties will have knocked down half the things on my dresser. I know the kid will have found a new way to junk up my living room. I know my husband's shorts will be laying on the floor next to the bed. I can find joy in those things, too. This mind of mine is both practical and imperfect. I have idiocies, odd quirks, a love for misfits. I can create and I can keep in order and I will always find sense in both. Life is often a brilliant gray.