My Dirty Secret: And by dirty, I mean I didn’t clean.

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

I don’t have my sh*t together.

Now, I’m not talking about one of those Facebook-posting, croissant-baking, ornament-making, got-a-casserole-in-the-oven-at-4am people who suddenly confess that they haven’t done laundry in two weeks and are recycling underwear at this point. Or that their desk is so messy an archaeologist is required to find the remains of last month’s bills. They basically have it together but stumble every now and then.

No, I don’t have my sh*t together pretty much 24/7. At the store, I look at the 20 choices of breakfast cereals and toss (read: lob) a box of generic Cheerios into the cart. When I get home to unload the groceries, I toss (read: hurl) the stuff in the fridge even though there’s mac and cheese from two weeks ago still taking up room (but hey, couldn’t I make a delicious mac and cheese soup with those leftovers?). I then plop down on the kitchen chair and stare into space for a few minutes . . . or hours . . . while my son watches YouTube videos at a decibel rate that should be outlawed. Shouldn’t I be doing laundry? Does my son have anything to wear? Does he need to take a shower? Do I need to take a shower?

Then I glance at the kitchen. Hmm . . . those dirty dishes that piled up while the water main was being repaired seem to still be there. Huh. Oh, yes, and the coffee I spilled yesterday morning is still there, too. Okay, the kitchen is too depressing. Let’s look at the living room. Oh . . . yeah . . . there’s my son’s dirty dishes from the Cretaceous (Crud-aceous?) era, and drawings and pencils and tissues on the floor, and did I vacuum last week or . . .last month?

Bedroom! Bedroom! That’s got to be better! Okay. Bed made (sort of) – check! Clothes in hamper (sort of) – check! Furniture dusted (sort . . . no, you got me. Not even close). Okay. So it’s not pristine but it’s not bad. Okay! We’re on a roll! Office next!

Office? This – is an office? Okay. Okay. Hear me out. There’s desks. And paper. And pens. And pencils. And colored markers. And paper. And folders. And – what the heck is that? And paper (I didn’t say that yet, right?). So okay. Maybe the office could use a little work.

Where in the world do I start with all this? (Did I mention Christmas is around the corner?)

But wait! What am I thinking? Let me get out my trusty planner and it will tell me what to do! Oh, it is so pretty with all those colors denoting various aspects of my life. Let’s look at today, shall we? Today’s date is eerily silent on dishes and laundry and showers. Also mum on cleaning rooms and vacuuming and dusting. However, it does indicate that I should be working on: “bills”, “schedule doctor appointment”, “change router time limits so that son doesn’t watch YouTube until 4:00 in the morning”, “write a blog post”, “organize my blog”, “monetize my blog”, “make my blog pretty”, “print math worksheets for homeschooled son”, “try to get homeschooled son to do math worksheets”, “try to adhere to new and improved schedule”, and “re-do this planner so it works better”.

For some reason, I feel strangely (familiarly?) unmotivated. Maybe this calls for some yoga! Why isn’t that on my planner? How could I forget something so important? Oh, that’s right! It’s on my bright green reminder list hanging on the wall because I don’t want the things I should be doing daily to clog up my planner. I mean, duh. And, you know, I’ll see that bright green sheet when I first walk into the kitchen in the morning! Wow. I’m exhausted now. Think we’ll do yoga another time.

Now I think – why am I so exhausted? Is it that time of month? Is it that time of life? Maybe there’s something wrong with me. Perhaps I should go to the doctor. Actually, I’ve been feeling this way for weeks . . . months . . . years. Aha! It’s my depression. That lovely companion who manages to suck out what little pleasure I might find in doing, well, pretty much anything. I forgot about you momentarily, old pal! But, like any good buddy, you don’t let me forget about you for long. You come around when I most least need you. So, thanks for that. It’s nice to have a fiend friend.

I almost forgot! I have another fiend friend that shows up almost every minute. We’ve been friends for a long time but recently she’s taken it to another level. Stalker-like. Rather uncomfortable. I like to call her the ol’ ball-and-chain but most people call her “Should”. See, when I get lonely looking at my planner or thinking about things that I’d like to be doing, that might make me feel, I don’t know, fulfilled or something, Should pops up in my head (see, I told you she’s a stalker) and says things like “You should be doing the dishes” (it’s really creepy how she talks in the third person) or “You should be spending time with your son.” Sometimes she gets really in my face and complains that I “should be stronger”, “should not be such an introvert”, “should be able to handle things like any other adult”, and while I’m at it I “should figure out what my gosh darn problem is with everything.” She’s a little demanding and kind of a downer. I actually don’t like her much.

So, after I’ve finally convinced my two friends to go out for coffee and donuts, I wonder to myself: Am I crazy? Am I the only one who feels this way? Does anyone else have friends like this? And does anyone else struggle the way I struggle with everything? No . . . I certainly must be the only one. No one could feel the crippling inertia that I feel when trying to decide what to do at any given moment. No one could feel the relentless tug-of-war between the ingrained Puritan work ethic voice and the New Age “do what makes you happy” voice. Do you see those two guys sitting on each shoulder? Puritan guy says “Go get some work done, ya’ sissy! Be a man, er, a woman!” Then New Age guy says “Don’t listen to him. He is just angry at the world. Be at peace. What do you want to do?” Whoa! Did I just find two more friends? Must be my magnetic personality. Or maybe it’s just schizophrenia . . .

Rant? Done. Takeaway? Here goes: How much of the stuff that we do in this life is really necessary? How much have we been programmed to believe that busy-ness, productivity, and, yes, “responsibility” are badges of honor in our society? Yeah, we have to wash our dishes and do our laundry but these tasks are not what makes us “good people”. I know this is not an epiphany for most. But it is a constant, daily, hourly struggle for me. I have to continually convince myself to either “suck it up” or that it just doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. My counselor likes to tell me that the dishes just “live” by the sink. It’s okay to not put them in the dishwasher right away. I mean, I don’t have a bug problem so what’s the big deal? My struggle comes from the societal “shoulds”: if your house is dirty, you are a bad housekeeper and therefore a bad person and lazy. If you can’t handle the pressure and keep up with your responsibilities, then there is something wrong with you and you just need to “buck up” and “get your act together.”

Sorry I don’t have the answers yet.Who else is struggling with this? How do you get past those awful “shoulds”? Please share your thoughts and feelings. I’d love to hear from you!

-Sandy

Today it’s finally over . . . or is it?

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So, I’m going to alienate some of you here, I bet.
I did NOT vote today.

No, it had nothing to do with voter apathy or the lack of choices or general disgust.

Really.

Yeah, the playing field is pretty grim, but my issue is larger than unqualified, undesirable candidates.

My issue is: why any?

Yeah. Why anyone at all?

We talk about how fed up we are with politics as usual, greediness, unethical behavior, blah blah blah. So . . . maybe the answer isn’t better candidates. Maybe it is:

No government at all.

Ooooo – I know. Radical! Treason! But, I think (for the time being) I’m still protected by the First Amendment. So, hear me out.

Government is, in the grand scheme of things, a fairly recent invention. And, yes, we in America think we have it pretty good with our “democracy”. But where did anyone say that democracy is the end-all be-all of governments? Is it possible there’s something better? Is it possible that humanity could actually exist peacefully *GASP* without government?

Okay. So the first picture in your head might be total mayhem. People will just go crazy, start rioting, stealing, and killing each other without government, right? Because, I mean, the only thing that’s keeping us all in line right now is the threat of jail if we do those things. Hmm? Because I’m sure there are people sitting around just wishing that they could break into their neighbor’s house but the only thing stopping them is that its against the law.

Really? I think not. If humanity is just barely restraining itself from mass chaos because of the fear of jail, then we have bigger problems. I would also suggest that, if that were the case, that our religions aren’t doing such a great job instilling moral principles.

Do we really believe that this is what would happen without government? Do we have such a low opinion of ourselves (or just everyone else) that we think we need to elect other people to tell us what to do and keep us in check? We really haven’t got the brains and the desire to find other solutions? We’ve just bought into the “this is the best there is” or “this is the way it is” cop-out? This is IT? Game over?
I could go on. In fact, I think I’ve gone on long enough. Let me leave you with this:

Just for a moment, consider that there is the possibility of humankind living peacefully and harmoniously, living authentic lives, becoming self-actualized, being happy, and coming up with their own ways to do things that don’t include government.

Just ponder it, play with it for a bit, before discarding it as pie-in-the-sky, Pollyanna thinking.

I thank you for picturing what that could look like.