For some of us, laundry hour is merely laundry hour. For me, today's laundry hour was a painful reminder of my past, an opportunity to reflect. Enjoy! ---------------
Mama raised no over-achiever... I like to tell myself that I am no longer an over-achiever, or a perfectionist or nearly as competitive as I was, say 6 years ago but you see, that’s just like saying that wiping red lipstick leaves no traces of pink. Admittedly, there are little remains of these excesses in me and I’m willing to work as hard as I can to nullify them. This morning, I was meant to have a photoshoot at 8am that I moved to 10am because I didn’t get home from studying till around 3/4am. Naturally, I woke up super late.
Looking around my house now just makes me sad.
Why are my clothes everywhere? Laundry from two Sundays ago haven’t been folded while I have dirty clothes spilling from the top of my shoe rack to beside my laundry basket. I need to put lots of décor on that shoe rack or take it inside my closet. I can’t continue throwing clothes on it. See, the funny thing is that a year or two ago, you could never meet my place out of order. Make that back in high school and up to my sophomore year of college. In high school, no one could sit on my bed. My roommate and I were the “neatest girls in our set” as we used to phrase it. In my Junior days, the easiest way to get me worked up was to sit on my bed, and/or make someone’s hair while sitting on it. I would walk into the room, sight someone on my bed and hear people murmuring “she’s back! You better get up” but of course, those who did it intentionally to annoy me would stay in place. On getting to my bed, obviously annoyed / slightly irritated, I would say “please get up from my bed. You should have asked”. I mean, let’s be real. If I wanted hair strands all over my bed, possibly chewing on them in my sleep, I wouldn’t have chosen to wear a low cut in a school where girls were actually permitted to keep their hair uncut. Of course, everyone hated me. I had no friends then; didn’t have time for anybody. Sometimes I wished I was still that way because now people tend to take my easy-going nature for granted. Sometimes I tell the person (in my head) “You got my good side. You’re lucky you didn’t know me years ago; this thing you’re doing wouldn’t fly!”. Most times, I ignore it because I have come to live that way, taking nothing to heart.
I am not nearly as uptight as before. Being open has now allowed me to understand life from different perspectives and understanding is all we need (in addition to love). I have met some of the best people in my life just from being open and understanding and suppressing reacting to a lot of things that are beyond my control. I got to senior high and my roommate, someone who formerly hated and threw mean words at me over the dining table in our boarding house became the best human ever. We kept each other in check, splitting chores to make things even easier. Our neat ways aligned like the sun and moon align during an eclipse. Wait do they? Ok, maybe they do. I've forgotten my space rave. So our room always glistened and you didn’t need to ask to sit on my bed anymore. Instead, I would say “thank you” if you spent siesta in my bed and laid it afterwards and dress it up if you didn't. My roommate and I would get back from Sunday Service and as we approach our room, our suspicion will be confirmed - the music we heard blasting from the hallway was indeed coming from our room. We'd walk in and see our friends dancing to Chris Brown's "Wall to Wall" (my favorite) or Usher's "Love in this Club", after we all just sang “Ekorin I si Oluwa” (our Praise song anthem. I obviously murdered the spelling because it was in a different native language from mine. No, we don’t all speak “African” :) ).
Ok so where was I going with this? Stay with me, I’ll figure it out.
A few years later, I found myself rooming with 3 girls in college. My friends would come to visit and I’m not sure why that made them mad but it did. On one occasion, they reported to my building manager, a company I had previously worked for, that I had a guest that was staying for a week and that was against the building policy. Mind you, there were several occasions we had guests staying for a week or more...their guests. On one occasion, I woke up and opened my bedroom door to see bodies sprawled out on the floor. My roommate told me they were her old friends and will be there for a week. On another occasion, I walked in from the library to see a guy in our apartment. I inquired and roommate 2 told me he was her brother and he will be there for a week. She probably told me this one in advance; I can't recall. But I was fine with both instances, or at least I had to be fine. I worked there so I knew people stayed for more than 3 days and during maintenance walks, we would see residents with live-in boyfriends or girlfriends. As long as the roommates were fine with it, we did not intervene from the office. But my roommates were bent on making my stay an ordeal. So when my friend moved in a few days before her lease started and I traveled, they alerted the office that I had someone over. I tried to explain to them that my friend's lease was starting in about 4 days and the semester was over meaning she had nowhere to stay, not even her dorm. "So why can't you let this guest who will soon be one of your roommates be?" My words fell on deaf ears. Throughout my stay, including my friend's stay, my roommates huffed and puffed. My apartment was always a mess, non-stop! They only cleaned when they were expecting someone or throwing a party. When I was still working in the building, my lunch breaks turned into cleaning sessions because I would have to clean before and after I cook. I can't remember ever washing their dishes because although I took it all in good stride, I was not stupid. I moved their rubble, cleaned the space I needed to cook my food, cooked and washed up after. You see, mama didn't raise no fool. But there was damage. I had headaches every single time I walked into my apartment for lunch break, without fail. Merely seeing the eyesore that was my living space... I sometimes resorted to eating at the cafeteria or ordering Chinese and spent my nights in the library, get home at 2am, sleep and leave in the morning. My home was not a home. It was horrible. Someone who could normally not stand dirt was now surrounded by it, living and breathing it. It was not until that living arrangement was over and I had my place that I realized the damage that had been done to me. Despite the fact that I used to keep my room and bathroom clean, and clean the apartment on Sundays, it didn’t stop my eyes and I guess, brain from getting used to untidiness. So now, from having headaches when things are out of order, I just walk away from it. Wow!!! Wait! I just realized that’s what I do now and that’s what I did then to get myself out of the situation without having to clean up after my roommates everyday. I would literally walk past the dirty and disorganized living room and kitchen, into my room with my Chinese food. I only stayed in the living room the Christmas I had the apartment to myself and when I had friends over after we’ve been in my little room for too long. And that’s the same way I avoid the mess in my apartment these days. If the living room is out of place, I spend that week in my room and vice versa. Today though, both spaces are cluttered and the slight headache and frustration I am feeling brought back all those memories.
But you see, mama raised no perfectionist because even in my imperfection, I am able to admit my wrong doings, like how I need to buckle up and train my eyes to not be used to clutter, and my hands to not be used to letting my legs walk away from something that can be picked up and put back in place. In my imperfection, I realize that I need to make my to-do-lists shorter and more realistic so that in the times I get things done, I can cheer myself for getting one out of five things checked instead of beating myself up because I could only tick off nine out of twenty things. In my imperfection, I glory because that girl who was previously intolerant to anybody’s bull*, is now very understanding, painfully understanding and that has earned her amazing company and unforgettable experiences in her life.
In my imperfection, I glory because everyday, I genuinely want to get better at the things I do and be more systematic and intentional about everything. In my imperfection, I glory because a perfect God loves it all.
Ok the washer just finished its cycle and I really need to study today...