The Spot

I think I’ve begun to make a dent into my obsessive house cleaning. It started with a spot of spilled tea on the kitchen counter I chose not to wipe away. When I decided to do so, I asked myself, why would you do this? But I did not want to think about it really, so I just left the spot. John usually does not take up a sponge to clean up as our chores are precisely defined (his is his work), which made the spot stay for four full days. Whenever I saw it, I thought it was odd, because although it existed, my life did not tumble down. After four days I cleaned it up. Later I sat on the couch smiling and John asked me what amused me so much. When I told him, he had to laugh and admitted that he had not even realized the spot at all. But for me, it was a kind of turning point.

I have come to think about my obsessive house cleaning because I watched a TV show about hoarders vs. cleaners. When one man who was a cleaner was portrayed, he said that his childhood was full of abuse and that’s why he can’t stand any clutter or dirt around. That cut deep as I think it could have been me stating that. Tidying up the outside is a way to tidy up the inside I guess. The more dirt is in my house, the more nervous I get because I think I’m losing control over my life. So tidying up is the attempt to stay in charge of my life. When I’m confronted with bad memories, I usually start to clean over-efficient. It’s ridiculous, but it worked for many years. And I think this is connected to my years on the street where you can’t do any other than getting used to dirt and smelling. That’s why I’d rather take a shower twice a day than to risk that someone could smell me through my deodorant. It’s just like I still feel dirty. Actually I know I’m not dirty just because my father did what he did, but he made me dirty and made me feel dirty. And he initiated the thoughts of myself as a filthy person. I sometimes made a joke of it: it’s better to clean up that to be depressed. But that was stupid. I was depresssed. Perhaps I’m still. Perhaps it’s good to start up with a little spot of tea on the kitchen counter. I wouldn’t have done that a few weeks ago. Something has changed and I’m afraid of what will come.

One thought on “The Spot

  1. mondfeuer says:

    Hey,

    Ich kann das unglaublich gut nachvollziehen.
    War bei mir ähnlich.
    Meine erste Wohnung war chirurgisch sauber und rein.
    Mittlerweile ist es so, dass ich, bedingt auch durch meine miserable Gesundheit, durch meine Kinder und den Alltag gut damit, nein, nicht gut, ich kann damit umgehen dass meine Wohnung nichtmehr so ist wie früher.
    Sauberkeit und Ordnung sind mir immernoch wichtig, aber mein Leben besteht nun nichtmehr nur noch aus putzen und duschen.
    Es wurde nach und Nach in einem zeitraum von ca. 5 Jahren immer leichter für mich.
    Gib dir Zeit.

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