Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lesson 205. Clean your own bedroom

I am mad about the state of the laundry this week. Last week, I was mad about the state of the kitchen. I am never mad about the state of my bedroom. 

I hate tripping over laundry baskets and stubbing my small and somewhat skewed pinky toe on my way to the bathroom and I hate the smell of fusty washing. I get mad about mess in common space, but I only occasionally deal with mess in my space. 

I actually avoid my bedroom if it's a mess. I study at the kitchen table, hang out with people in the lounge, research friends potential love interests from the chair that I broke a window with once in our dining room. But I'm first to get fired up about mess in the places that all of us use. 

I start by getting high and mighty and deciding that I do not contribute to the mess. My second mistake is made there. I then take up my noble cause of alerting my flatmates to the terror of untidiness in our household. That's my third mistake.

What's my first mistake? 

My first mistake is in the clean clothes that sit on my bedroom floor. Instead of dealing with my own mess, I decide to deal with the mess outside of myself. I should actually be dealing with the mess that I live with. It's easier that way, to get upset about mess that other people make, than to deal with the messes that we make for ourselves. But it isn't really the right way to go about things.

You see, all it takes is my flatmates opening my bedroom door to see that I'm somewhat hypocritical in my plight for cleanliness. It positions me to go about sorting out the rest of the flat in the worst way. Being blind to our own mess does anything but liberate us. 

So I'm turning over a new leaf, I'm endeavouring to keep my own room as tidy as possible. I'm trying to deal with my own failings and flaws before I point the finger. I know that I will never be perfect, I know that sometimes I am going to have to confront challenges out of my imperfection but I trust that in that moment I will have the discernment to know whether that's the right move. As for now, I'm going to do my best to keep my own room tidy. 

Before you get really mad about the mess of other people in your life, clean your own bedroom. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lesson 204. Choose connection.

Here's a secret: I often start off these blog posts with little to no idea about what I'm going to write on. Usually, I just write a whole lot down, backspace almost all of it, get a bit cross at my lack of genius, and then try again. For example, I've written this sentence about three times, and I'll probably write the next about four.

There's a funny looking line between calculating the way you represent yourself and articulating your heart without giving it all away. I think the reason it looks so funny because we're so used to seeing the five times filtered, five hundred follower side of it. I was never very good at keeping a journal, but for a while I got good at keeping this blog. When I was on the trip of a lifetime in Kenya, we set aside time to journal each day. While everyone else was journaling, I was taking a nap. For some reason in that setting, sleep always took precedent. Yet I've laid awake many a night trying to figure out what to tell you. Isn't it strange how connection spurs on even the sleepiest of us?

Connection, however, is a little different to the social media satire version of it that we entertain each day. I'm trying to do something a little different to that here, even if sometimes I don't succeed that much at it. Using the same medium for an alternate purpose doesn't always allow me to get it right and I apologise for that.

See, I've written 204 blog posts hoping that someday, someone might just find meaning somewhere between cringey anecdotes and overshares. I've taken delight in the fact that maybe one day I'll have a son or a daughter who will read this and remember that his or her parent was once as awkward and burdened by overthinking as they are. There's a funny looking line between calculating the way you represent yourself and articulating your heart without giving it all away, but I think we see it more clearly when we care. We see it with clarity when we choose vulnerability over perfection, when we accept our humanity and realise that the exposure of it might actually help someone someday; when we realise that calculating an altogether unattainable creature, we're doing more harm than help. It goes for most things, doesn't it? Not just blog posts written by a semi all over the place twenty-something. It goes for conversations with people we care about, people we want to one day care about, people we once cared about. And the more we're aware of the line, the clearer the choice becomes. I think connection gives us the hope we need to move forward with our hearts on our sleeves. Knowing that even if we fail miserably, someone somewhere someday will learn from it or take solace in the fact that they aren't alone in their defeat. Knowing that if we succeed, someone somewhere someday will be spurred on to speak their heart out. We all have this deep need to be next to one another, don't we?

I'm in no way condoning absolute recklessness. I'm hoping that we learn to have the discernment to discover the moments worth both courage and heart, I'm hoping that we find the right kind of connections to keep us moving forwards.

There's a funny looking line between calculating the way you represent yourself and articulating your heart without giving it all away. Choose connection.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lesson 203. Finish what you started by starting what you never finished.

Maybe I'm back on board with writing these because I really want to feel like I've finished something I started. I feel like I'm not so good with that. Actually, I know I'm not so good with that, because it's more than three years later and here I am trying to finish.

I'm full of wonderful intentions and half-full dreams. I'm not that full of actual action plans or means to follow through. There's a large possibility that I've written this lesson out on this blog several times already, but it's one that I have to relearn almost constantly. It's a lesson of humility and determination, of overcoming the tension between neglecting for burial's sake or redeeming for sanity's sake. I know that I am better when redemption wins and I don't doubt that you are too.

So here's to starting back and not knowing where or how I'll find 14 lessons but knowing that I can and I will. Here's to finishing the things that we start and hoping that we'll learn a whole lot along the way. Maybe every step doesn't have to be crystal for us to reach the end goal. Finish what you started by starting what you never finished.