Is making messes and cleaning them up a great place to find yourself in? In this post, I talk about my scramble to meet a goal of cleaning out my office, the shitstorm of a mess it made, and how I realized that maybe I don’t always have to tackle everything all at once.
Goals on goals
I made a goal in August to clean out my office. The past couple of years has brought about a lot of self-reflection and healing for me. My office has been the place that’s held the space for all this to happen. It has seen me through some of the most difficult and beautiful times of my life.
I’ve also piled and stored a lot of things in there. It’s been the catch-all of the past 3 years. I finally decided to give this space the well-deserved decluttering and clearing out it needed.
Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until the last week of August to even consider undertaking the task.
Here’s the honest truth about me: I have big visions and big plans, and sometimes, I fail to consider just how big of a task something is or just how much energy it will take. I see this office, with its three years’ worth of shit shoved in a closet and stacked on shelves and dumped into drawers and I honestly think I can clean it out in 4 hours… rose-colored glasses and all.
I found myself wanting to throw up, as I looked at this giant undertaking. If I was going to meet my goal, I had to complete it within a couple of days. That familiar dread of being too scared to start something crept in as I whined to my sister about how badly I didn’t want to do it. In all her sissy wisdom, she tells me to just start somewhere.
Big girl panties on and I begin.
Making the big ole mess
Why do big projects like this always have to start with such a gigantic mess? I hate messes and find myself saying at least 10,000 times a day “Don’t make a big mess, please.” (Thank you two toddlers) But there I was, pulling everything out of the closet. Organizing, sorting, trashing, and getting more and more overwhelmed as this monster of a mess started to ooze its way out of the closet and all over the office.
Mind you, this closet has a full-on organizer in it with shelves and drawers a plenty. I’m pulling out baseball cards and art supplies. Journals that I’ve shoved all together and maps that have been folded up and squished at the tippy top. Old pictures and wrapping paper, cords and chargers, and about a million staples.
Out it comes, in waves. As I look around this disaster of a room, I realize how awful this all looks. Here is this gigantic mess for everyone to see. If my husband came home or my kids walked in, it would be a catastrophe. So I did what any sane person would do…I shut the door and walked out.
I had made a mess in there that I couldn’t possibly face. It felt too overwhelming, too all-encompassing, and too fucking messy.
Can I just walk away from it all?
I left my mess behind that closed door for days where anyone could have walked in and seen it. That made me feel raw and scattered and bare and like I had an astronomical secret. In some other weird way, it also made me feel empowered, brave, and safe in a way a mess like that never had.
Past versions of me wouldn’t have been able to sleep for fear of a burglar coming in and seeing shit scattered all over the place like that. Or I would have worried about my husband walking into that room and then leaving me because how could he have married someone who keeps a house like that? Anxious thoughts about my kids getting in there and making it worse. The list goes on.
Instead, I let that mess sit there…and I realized some things. One being that making messes in my home is allowed. And my office can (and does) hold space for all kinds of messiness.
Two, I am allowed to walk away from things that scare me or make me feel overwhelmed. I don’t have to force myself to clean something up because it might make someone else uncomfortable.
And three, I don’t have to make that mess, or any other mess I make, mean a damn thing about me.
Having messes in my home doesn’t mean that I am a mess or that I can’t keep my shit together. It doesn’t mean that I’ll never be able to have a clean, clutter-free home. It only meant what I made it mean…and for one of the first times in my life, I just let that mess mean that I was working on cleaning out my office.
Knowing when enough is actually enough
After letting the dust settle on the tornado that ripped through the room, I decided that it was time once again to put on my big girl panties and finish this project that I had so sweetly underestimated.
I knew that I was going to need some moral support to get through to the finish line on this one. So, I called my sister, my lifeline. We talked on the phone for two hours as I sifted and sorted.
She held the space for me as I processed this very big mess. One that at one point had felt so completely overwhelming and terrible. Piece by piece, it became more manageable and less scary.
I made it through the closet and the desk and then I looked at my bookshelf and again felt that overwhelming sense of dread. I didn’t want to undertake this too. So I let my sister in on this bit of feeling.
“Maybe when the project feels complete, it is. You don’t have to do everything all at once,” she said.
There is so much fucking empowering wisdom in that woman.
Some more honesty: As I sit here and write this post, I realize so many things about how supported I am by her. I have tears running down my face as I realize how lucky I am to have such a strong, insightful, and supportive person in my life.
One who is always, always willing to sit with me in my shit without ever judging me for making a mess. She makes things so much easier with just her presence alone. There is something so completely special about a sister bond like the one we have.
How do you find yourself in a mess?
Back to my mess…some might see me calling my project complete without finishing out the bookshelf as me not finishing the goal. And I’m sure at one point in my life, I would have looked at it that way too. This time though, I choose to see it as me knowing when enough is enough. Knowing that at any point, I can walk back into my office and work through my process again.
And isn’t that the way with inner growth work? Isn’t that what finding yourself in your messiness is all about?
When you begin a healing or spiritual journey, sometimes you have to take out some pretty messy, hard shit. You’ve got to let it exist and take up space…sometimes more space than even feels good.
And it’s okay if you have to walk away from it for a while. Or if you need way more time and support than you initially planned. It’s okay to give up and begin again or to walk away from it forever.
Healing doesn’t have to happen all at once and at any point along your path, when enough is enough, that’s ok.
You are the ruler of your journey, the main character in the story of your life. You get to choose when and where to start or stop. You get to choose when, where, and how far you are willing and able to go at any point.
Please, don’t let anyone ever tell you any different.
If you are a woman who finds herself needing some support working through some messiness, I am always, always here to support you. You can reach out to me on Instagram or click here to see how we could work together. I believe in your healing.