Truth: I spent most of an hour long therapy session discussing my inability to do the dishes in a timely fashion.
I know. I’m so awesome that I have to spend hours in therapy analyzing normal life skills that people seem to just have.
Our annual Christmas argument this year was about my dereliction of duty in the department of domestic arts… aka I’m a royal shit show when it comes to doing my chores. And for the record, James is absolutely right about being irritated at me about how I don’t do enough around the house. The trouble is… Housework is one of those things that tends to trigger anxiety, conjure up insane excuse-making and spawn quasi-humorous self-deprecating blog posts.
Which is probably one of the reasons why I’m writing this blog post… There’s certainly some shit I could be doing, but avoidance and all.
Once a long time ago, I posted a few pictures of my apartment onto a message board I belonged to… I don’t remember why exactly, but I do remember someone making a comment that was laced with what I hope was good-natured snark to the effect of, “How can you live with garbage overflowing out of the trashcan like that?”
My reaction was kinda like, “Really? My garbage is overflowing?” because I honestly hadn’t noticed, like AT ALL, and I went to go check and it totally was and I laughed about it but secretly felt kinda ashamed because when the garbage can is full… normal people tend to notice, change out the bag and take it outside whereas I tend to pile garbage on until it’s overflowing or has to be piled on the counter next to the garbage OR I find some other trashcan in the house to throw it in that isn’t full.
It just simply doesn’t register in my brain to actually do the task when it’s glaringly obvious that it needs to be done.
Same with the dishes. While I know that the most efficient way to do the dishes is right after you eat, so stuff doesn’t just sit there and get crusty and become a bitch to clean and so you’re only ever washing a few dishes at a time (unless you threw a dinner party). You know, so it doesn’t take 45 minutes to wash all the dishes in the house because you just kept grabbing clean ones until you ran out and even then you ate out for three days after that because you didn’t want to do dishes.
It’s like there’s some subconscious part of my brain that passive aggressively protests this whole cleaning thing until it’s so bad that it can’t be ignored any longer and someone finally cracks and does it.
I get bogged down in wondering if there’s something that was wrong with my childhood that I seemed to miss all of the learning how to clean up after yourself lessons.
I do remember that I very seldom could see the floor in my bedroom, it was chaos as far as the eye could see, and my parents very seldom insisted I clean it up… and the occasions where it did become an issue and they insisted I tidy up, a meltdown of epic proportions was inevitable and if they really really wanted it done, my mother had to sit down with me and practically do it for me because otherwise, I’d be sidetracked by a book or a toy about five minutes into the process… and the first word that comes to mind when I think of those experiences? Traumatic.
As I was writing that last paragraph, I thought to Google on the subject of how to get your child to clean their room… because you know, childhood is kinda timeless and parenting advice could spark some thoughts on my own childhood… You never know. The big theme that seemed to come up was power struggle… and I’m having a hard times making heads or tails of that. I mean, sure… I could see that happening… but at the same time, I don’t feel like the shoe fits entirely either. I don’t think I ever wanted to be defiant. I just find the process so overwhelming that my first reaction is to panic.. and I’ve tended towards conditioning myself toward avoiding things that cause me to panic.
Is it a case of just making excuses? Surely, someone’s who’s been tidy since the day they were born is going to jump in and accuse me of that (so, let me steal your thunder so I can avoid the shame of not being perfect). I mean, at some level… Probably? I am prone to analysis paralysis. I mean, I just spent two hours of my evening writing a blog post about my alleged inability to clean rather than… say… doing anything related to cleaning.
I just wish there was some sort of magic pill that you could take to make you good at cleaning. I’d totally take that.