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.


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.

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50 Common Pet Peeves

The things we love to hate.

Pet peeves - those little annoyances that get under our skin and we just can't ignore, no matter how hard we try. Although everyone has their own unique pet peeves, there are a number of things which most people can't stand. Not only do we hate these things, but we love to bond over how much we hate them. It is surprising how entertaining it is to think of all the habits and activities that drive us mad. Take a second to think of your pet peeves. Now read on and see if any appear on this list of 50 common pet peeves (and be reminded of those pet peeves you forgot you have)! Share with friends and see how many people can't stand the same things as you!

  1. Slow walkers.
  2. The word “moist.”
  3. When a computer or phone won’t load a page fast enough.
  4. People who talk loudly on the phone.
  5. Noisy eaters.
  6. People who talk while their mouth is full.
  7. Couples who sit next to each other (instead of across from each other) in a booth.
  8. Having to repeat yourself multiple times.
  9. When the toilet seat is left up.
  10. When someone leaves the water running.
  11. When a light is left on in a room that isn’t being used.
  12. When someone messes with the car radio or AC without asking the driver for permission.
  13. Whiners.
  14. Slow drivers.
  15. Rude drivers.
  16. Sunlight creeping in through the window in the morning.
  17. When someone says “gross,” “ew,” “yuck,” or something else along those lines in reaction to a food you like.
  18. Tourists.
  19. People who interrupt when you are speaking.
  20. Being referred to as “boy” or “girl” when you are legally an adult.
  21. Loud noises on planes – crying babies, angry passengers, videos played over speaker.
  22. When people watch videos or listen to music on public transportation without using headphones.
  23. Know-It-Alls and Attention-Hogs.
  24. Getting gum on your shoe.
  25. Tapping, fidgeting, clicking pens, and bouncing knees.
  26. Smacking gum.
  27. Sucking at a straw until it makes that gross vacuum, slurping sound.
  28. When people clink their teeth on forks when they take a bite of food.
  29. Dirty dishes in the sink.
  30. When you’re talking to someone and they won’t stop staring at their phone screen.
  31. When someone says to a girl “Must be that time of the month…”
  32. When people talk over a movie or show…then ask “Wait, what happened? I’m confused.”
  33. When someone says “No offense, but…” and proceeds to say something offensive.
  34. Being chased down the stairs – When you are walking at a decent pace, but the person behind you is late getting somewhere, and they are barreling down the stairs after you. You start fast walking and pray that they pass by you, because you don’t want to die by stairway collision.
  35. When people sneeze or cough without covering their mouths.
  36. When motorcyclists or truck drivers rev their engines unnecessarily.
  37. When your door is closed, then someone walks into the room, but leaves the door open when they exit.
  38. When you’re in a public bathroom but there is no toilet paper in the stall.
  39. Buzzing noises.
  40. When you’re watching TV and someone turns on the garbage disposal, blender, vacuum, or another loud appliance.
  41. When nail polish chips or smudges right after you had your nails done.
  42. When someone says, “You wouldn’t believe what just happened,” and then they refuse to tell you.
  43. When someone bashes your favorite book/movie/show, but they’ve never even read/watched it.
  44. When you need an outlet to charge something, but there are none available or none exist.
  45. When you are wearing sunglasses or prescription glasses and the bridge of your nose builds up sweat and grease.
  46. When someone wakes you up in the middle of the night or ungodly early in the morning and asks, “Oh, did I wake you up?”
  47. When you have a roommate who is addicted to the snooze button, or who doesn’t wake up to their alarms, but you wake up…every…single…time.
  48. Slow elevators.
  49. When people stand too close to you in line so that they’re breathing down your neck. They inch closer and closer to the point that you feel claustrophobic, even when you typically aren’t.
  50. When people bite or pick their nails and it makes a loud *click* noise.
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Not Having The 'Picture Perfect' Body Shape Doesn't Mean You Can't Wear A Bikini

All shapes and size are acceptable and beautiful.


Summer has finally come again and it's now the time where everyone regrets not working out to get their "perfect" summer body. I'm here to say that these summer bodies everyone has been talking about are an unhealthy way to look at yourself and can hurt one's body image. If you're a size zero, that's great for you. If you're not a size zero, that is still great for you. There is no defined size that is required to wear a bikini during the summer, and there shouldn't be these unrealistic society norms on who can and can't wear them.

My entire life I was never worried about my size or how I look in a clothing item such as a bathing suit during the summer. I had always maintained a small figure from being active in grade school all the way through high school. Now that I am in college with no daily or weekly (and sometimes even monthly) exercise routine, I have gained weight and started to feel self conscious in what I look like in certain items that show my stomach. I don't look like the swimsuit models that are posted all over Instagram and started to feel that when summer came along I shouldn't be caught dead in a bathing suit or a shirt that showed any part of my stomach. I was beginning to feel bad about my body image because I didn't have the body shape or size that is considered to be a "society norm" and let it get to me. This is when I knew I needed to change my mindset, and not my physical appearance.

Just because someone isn't a certain size doesn't mean they should be shame into not wearing something they like or makes them feel good about themselves. Summertime is all about being in the sun at the beach or at the pool and getting a tan and getting in the water. This things require a swimsuit of some sort. The size and shape of someone's body shouldn't put a restriction on what type of bathing suit they choose to wear, and no one should comment on how they look in it in a negative manner. For some people, it's hard to lose weight just as it is hard for some people to gain weight. Society is always making remarks about girls being "too small" or "too big" or comments that are similar to those and it's putting a negative effect on how women view themselves which makes it harder for them to have a sense of self love.

Let a woman feel good about herself in what she's wearing no matter her size and leave the rude comments to yourself. Whether she is a size 0 or greater, she is still adding beauty into the world. If you want to wear a bikini, then do it. Don't let the negative people in society harshen your summertime fun.

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