Degrees Of Cleanliness: An Application To Both Mind And Apartment

Degrees Of Cleanliness: An Application To Both Mind And Apartment

I rationalized my desire to control my environment through a harsh self-application to even the most mundane tasks.

359
views

I sit at my kitchen table, scrolling through Google Calendar, restraining myself from getting to sleep early because I tell myself, "you have more to do."

I sit on my couch, the lights are off, and the glare of the television reflects off my eyes; I silently scold myself for not washing that glass in the sink — it's from the smoothie I had a few hours earlier. I scroll mindlessly on my phone desperately hoping that it will make me feel better for not washing that glass.

But it doesn't; I see a string that fell to the ground from the rope toy my dog so dearly adores, and pick it up. I place the string in the trash and move to stand at my kitchen counter, frustrated. My dog looks at me, confused, as to why I keep getting up and sitting down so much, disturbing his sleep.

Finally, I reach a point where I tell myself, "Darby, please just sit down." I grab a teacup, laugh at the corny joke that's printed on it, and make myself a steaming cup of "Celestial Seasonings" — peppermint, of course.

Unfortunately, this has been my nightly routine since last summer, when I started college. It's hard to tell yourself when enough is enough, especially when it's an introspective argument.

My tendencies to control the environment around me came from a fear of failure.

I was scared, and am still scared of failing. I have always been a people-pleaser. If I was a dog, I'd be a Golden Retriever. If you ask me to do something, I will most likely say yes, because my goal is to please — to receive some self-satisfaction. Now, if someone asked me to do something nefarious, of course, I wouldn't do it. I hate saying "no" because I hate to disappoint — to fail.

These fears of failing have influenced my personal standards which is where my need to control the environment comes into play. If I deem something under my "watch" sub-par, I will try to fix it, to restore it to perfect condition.

I realized that this is why I absolutely love cleaning. There is no better feeling than walking across a debris-free floor. What I have also realized, through the assurance of my mother, is that there are only degrees of cleanliness. She told me, "Darby, you can clean every inch of your apartment, but it will only be a lesser degree of "dirty."

If I listened to any of the great insights my mom had given me throughout my life, it would be that one. I have found that this mantra applies to other facets of life.

I have to work to continuously remind myself that "there are only degrees of cleanliness." When I check the boxes off my inspection list, of myself and my environment, I have to reassure myself that it is O.K. to fail even in the most minor sense of the word. Nothing in this world is perfect nor meant to be.

If I don't remind myself of my mother's mantra, I remain on the treadmill — chasing the next ticked box. But, I also have to remain pragmatic and realize that there were always be more: more knowledge to be learned, more dishes to clean, more deadlines to meet. There is no peace of mind, no "done for the day." After all, that is the very nature of the 21st century.

I have to realize that this is how nature works, that everything is either hovering or distancing itself from perfection. The universe itself serves as a magnet of identical charge. As tough as it has been for me to realize, I will only graze the lips of perfection, but be repelled by the nature of the universe.

Originally published on Medium on February 1, 2019.

Popular Right Now

13 Summer Struggles Only Thick Girls Understand

Chafing. So much chafing.

414333
views

Summer is a lovely time. A time of cookouts, swimming, and sunny weather. But if you're a " thick girl," summer sometimes brings more unpleasantries than it does for slimmer women. No matter how beautiful and confident you are in your body, it can bring some struggles.

1. The living hell that is shorts-shopping

Step 1: Find the biggest size the store has.

Step 2: (If you can even get those on): Realize your stomach is being squeezed into the top, your butt is falling out of the back and your thighs are having the life squished out of them.

Step 3: Realize why winter isn't so bad.

2. And dealing with them even after finding a pair that "fits"

Nothing like taking a pair of shorts home you remember fitting you okay in the store and then walking for 45 seconds and pulling them out of your butt or crotch 17 times. Truly a magical experience.

3. And every bathing suit you try on shows more skin than you'd planned

Even the most conservative bathing suit turns into cleavage-city and a non-cheeky set of bottoms turns into a thong. I promise, older people glaring at me in my sexual bathing suit, I didn't mean for this to happen!

4. Chafing. So much chafing.

No better feeling than four minutes into wearing short shorts realizing that your inner thighs are literally tearing themselves apart. Body Glide and baby powder are a thick girl's No. 1 necessity.

5. Loving rompers. Rompers not loving you.

Rompers are made with short and skinny girls in mind. Heaven forbid you're not short, and heaven forbid you're not skinny. Rompers are like a mystical article of clothing that, no matter what, always just barely doesn't fit.

6. Imagining wearing a sundress with a strapless bra and just laughing

Of course, not all thick girls are well-endowed in the boob department, but if you are, you understand how hilarious the thought of you wearing a strapless bra truly is.

7. And bralettes are a thing of fantasy

Once again, bralettes are designed for a very specific body type. One that I do not fall into.

8. Feeling like you need to constantly defend yourself for dressing like you want to

There are so many posts and tweets and just general ideals that people have that certain sized women can't wear certain clothing. You shouldn't feel the need to defend yourself for wearing a cute crop top or a bikini, but you will.

9. And always feeling looked at when you're rocking your swimsuit

Yes, I see your judging eyes, and yes, they are making me feel like shit. It doesn't matter how confident you are in your body, people looking at you like you just killed somebody just because you're wearing something typically made for smaller women doesn't make you feel good.

10. Did I mention chafing?

I just felt like something so horrible couldn't just be mentioned once.

11. Online shopping for cute summer outfits and then none of them fitting you correctly

There's always the dreaded "one-size-fits-all" for plus-size women. As if there's just one way to be plus-size. No matter how much they promise online that it'll fit well, it won't.

12. Seeing tiny girls complaining about losing their "summer bodies"

So many tweets talking about choosing food over a summer body. So many profile pictures of traditionally skinny women. I'm not saying that thick girls are the only ones who can complain about their summer bodies, and thick girls do not have a monopoly one not feeling confident in their bodies. But it is hard to see those posts knowing that those women would be glorified in their swimwear while you'd be gawked at.

13. The "you go girl!" comments on your oh-so-brave bikini photos

Compliments are nice, and positive comments while wearing a bikini go a long way. But the dreaded "you go girl" comment just seems so condescending. Just treat me like anyone else you'd see wearing a bikini. I promise, I'd like to feel like that.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Personal Space Is More Important Than Socializing

Stop pretending you don't need a break from your friends (and life).

95
views

Firstly, I would like to say that FOMO is a very real thing.

For those born in the prehistoric era, that means 'fear of missing out'. It's something that definitely came with the age of technology, and the tendency for everyone to post the best aspects of their social lives in an attempt to prove they have one (don't stress, I'm the biggest culprit). It's also something that's potentially destroying our ability to prioritize our need for time alone.

I feel like we're all in a competition to be the most social person in our social media bubbles. I'm sure you can agree there's that pressure lurking every time you do something fun to whip out your phone and make sure you take a snap of it, to prove you actually did something with your day other than binge watch David Dobrik vlogs.

Even when the aspect of social media is removed, FOMO still hangs around. Sometimes I just don't want to go out. I don't want to get out of bed, to get dressed, brush my hair. Sometimes I simply don't want to socialize — small talk is exhausting! But yet, I get that feeling like I really should go out and see people, like I'm not spending my time wisely unless I'm soaking up every chance I get to hang out with friends. It's almost as if everyone thinks your life isn't of value if it isn't spent being around others, and I do agree with this — to an extent.

Before leaving for Alabama, the number one piece of advice I heard over and over was, "say yes to everything!" I was then usually told to make friends with as many people as I could, maybe even say hi to strangers once in a while! Anyone who had been on exchange previously recommended that I immerse myself in every experience that presented itself to me. After all, their favorite memories involved making new, unexpected friends.

I still strongly stand by this idea — I wouldn't have had half the experiences I've had so far if it weren't for this Yes Man mentality. However, I am now past halfway, and all I can say is I'm absolutely knackered. I'm all socialized-out! After being in the company of at least one other person every… single… minute… (I have a roommate) for the last 11 weeks, I can confidently say I've had enough. If I carry on this way, forcing myself to attend any and all outings, I quite possibly could implode… or at least want to crawl under a rock and never talk to anyone again (nearly at this stage already).

One thing I didn't realize until recently is just how much downtime I have to myself at home. Sure, I work or go to Uni most days, and I see my friends as much as possible. I also have my scheduled 6 p.m. family dinner followed by one-hour gossip session with mum each night. But at the end of each day, I would snuggle up in my big queen bed that I had all to myself (I'm single, thanks for reminding me) and finally feel relaxed. That was my designated time to myself that I could look forward to each day. Some nights I just put music on and lay down for hours doing absolutely nothing. That was the point though, I didn't have to do anything, and I didn't have anyone else to worry about.

Now, I might be lucky to get 10 minutes alone each day while I take a shower. Even then, my roommate occasionally drops in to go to the bathroom, and the thin shower curtain is the only thing standing between myself and a mental breakdown. Sometimes I want to hide behind that curtain all day. My happy place is now the small square corner of my bathroom, how sad is that?

I think the notion of spending time alone is severely underrated. Why have we created an idea that it's not OK to want to be alone every now and then? Why do we have to constantly be pushing ourselves to reach out to others and put ourselves out there? I absolutely love meeting new people and making new friends! But you know what else I love? Sitting on the couch with a hot Milo, binge-watching David Dobrik vlogs. So sue me! I think finding time to think about yourself only is just as essential for mental stability as surrounding yourself with friends and family.

After this experience, I know I will never feel ashamed to admit that I am going to miss out on doing something with my friends in order to be alone. It's literally the only thing that keeps me sane! (Can you tell I'm already going a little insane?)

I can now finally understand why mum used to be so happy when the school holidays were over. It's not that she didn't love us, she just valued her personal space! What a smart little lady!

Related Content

Facebook Comments