Remember at the beginning of this blog, I wrote an entire series on the importance of cleanliness? Well, it just occurred to me that I haven’t even mentioned my own personal experience that lead to that.
When I was little, my home was clean. Every Sunday was Chore Day. That’s when we all went to church in the morning, came home and took a nap, then got up and cleaned the house top to bottom in a team effort. It was great. We played music and sang. My brothers and I made games out of the chores. No one whined about whose job it was to clean what. There was unity. I was happy.
Then, as I got older, into my teens, it completely changed. No one wanted to clean and the house was always messy. My mom was working full time and always yelling about her house being messy, but no one wanted to lift a finger. We were all strangers. I was miserable.
So, I decided to do something about it. I began cleaning everything and doing everyone’s laundry. I even did all the cooking. But I couldn’t keep up with cleaning up after the four of us and my brother’s friends. I was miserable as can be. Tired all the time and wondering what happened to my family.
Then, I left home at 18 and was homeless and jumping from place to place. But mostly I lived in the back office of a computer repair shop of a former friend. I kept so clean, no one knew I was homeless and I was quite proud of that fact. Although lemme tell ya, it was exhausting. I always had at least 2 jobs at any one time, so I honestly couldn’t tell you when I slept. But I remember being much happier. I had a routine when it came to keeping myself and my clothes clean.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I was miserable because I was homeless and a lot of the people in the church I was going to stabbed me in the back, conspired against me and committed federal crimes just to “ruin me” or whatever reason. But it was a thousand times more tolerable when I kept myself clean, and had no one else to clean up after. Each time, I washed up, I visualized the negative energy of the hateful people around me washing off my skin and out of my life. When I did laundry, I visualized the same thing.
Fast forward to 2011. I came to Tulsa to pick up Mr. J in an attempt to help him with replacing his stolen Maryland ID (long story). Let me just say, the absolute filth that filled the house was in exact opposition to the Mr. J I remembered. The three showers a day, the multiple wardrobe changes throughout the day, none of it seemed to have ever existed. The smell of the place was enough to make me want to throw up. It was just… disgusting. Too disgusting to even think about living in. His room on the other hand was much cleaner than the rest of the house. But his roommate’s room and the rest of the house was just completely and utterly abysmal. No clean dishes, roaches everywhere, I felt like I didn’t want anything to touch me because every surface just seemed to have a layer of grime covering it.
Even growing up and before I stepped up to be the one to clean the whole house when I was with my family, I never saw the depths to which the meaning of the word uncouth could reach until I stepped into that house. And if you can believe it, they informed me it was worse when they moved in!
Fast forward again and Mr. J and I spent a few months at my old apartment in Virginia and he went back to his old, cleanly self. When I moved out here to Tulsa with him, I started cleaning my ass off. And of course it wasn’t by myself at first. Mr. J helped and the roommate helped when she was told to but nothing more than that. I was very much exhausted most of the time because I couldn’t sleep because my mind was consumed by the fact that everything was so disgusting. I didn’t even want to shower unless I cleaned the entire bathroom each time. It’s no surprise that I lost Mr. J’s baby. That kind of environment was definitely not suitable for a healthy pregnancy.
I’m not OCD but I’m sure that any self-respecting person would find it incredibly annoying and disgusting to be surrounded by the kind of filth I fail to find the words to describe. It wasn’t just the house but the roommate as well. It’s like she hated bathing. I just couldn’t understand this woman and her willingness to be so disgusting. Hell, I questioned my own sanity for loving Mr. J enough to actually be willing to move in with him despite having such a disgusting roommate.
Now, you might be wondering why I’m telling you all of this. I’m getting there, just be patient.
Fast forward to this time last year. We moved into what appeared to be a better/cleaner house. Well, if it was clean, then why is it that when I walked around barefoot indoors, the bottoms of my feet turned black? This, I would have to say is one of the down sides to Febreeze working so incredibly well. But I still love the product no matter how many people use it to get one over on each other.
By now, Mr. J and I have been starting to run out of steam when it came to trying to keep up with all the cleaning and are now dreaming of making more money so that we didn’t need a roommate anymore. We started becoming very depressed and cranky people over the last year. I had started at this new house the same way I did at the old one with cleaning like an obsessive crazy woman. I was determined never to live in that kind of filth again. Well, it’s not nearly as bad as at the old place, but it’s still incredibly bad by my standards. Mr. J became far too overwhelmed and gave up almost entirely. And I keep getting so depressed that I don’t even want to live anymore, let alone clean anything. Not due to the mess we live in but due to not removing the negative energy to make room for positive energy in our home.
I’ve had several talks with our roommate about why she doesn’t clean or bathe unless she’s told to, like a defiant child. She’s revealed how she doesn’t like to work hard and that she doesn’t think about cleaning and that she didn’t think she smelled bad at all. One other thing that I was hoping was just my imagination was the fact that she was harboring feelings of hatred towards me because she thought I “stole her man” but Mr. J and I had to explain to her that he had to be her man in the first place before anyone could steal him from her.
She’s also revealed to me how incredibly depressed and miserable she is. She says she wants a clean house and to be happy and yet every single time she gets close to it, she either does something to sabotage it or she just gives up completely and let’s everything fall apart. I have done everything I possibly can to try and motivate, encourage and cheer this woman up but she has refused to let go of her misery and embrace happiness. Not even the thought of getting custody of her children back has been enough to keep her on track.
Being around that kind of negativity has made it extremely hard not to absorb the same kind of attitude or become depressed or discouraged. It also made it hard to resist the urge to become incredibly violent and beat that bitch with a bat. Already dealing with having depression myself, I just didn’t know why I was still here living with this woman if her negative attitude was having this much of an effect on me, I was making plans to move out and live with my sister in New Jersey. But then I had a thought: if I ran away from every single negative person in the world, there would be no place for me to hide. Nowhere to be safe and free of negativity. And being the next Oprah, I will be faced with tons of negativity from people, most of them strangers I will never meet. I’ll also have to work with a lot of different kinds of people and not every one of them are going to be positive energies in my life. So, really I need to learn to be steadfast in who I am and how I look at life no matter what negative influences may force themselves into my inner sanctum.
What I mainly want to say is that this is just one example of why we need to be more mindful of the kind of energy we’re clinging to. It’s just like my friend from Estonia once told me,”when you’re neck deep in shit, it’s very warm in there. So, when you get out it’s very cold and your first instinct is to jump back in. But you can’t do that, it isn’t good.” And I’d like to add that you can grab someone else and drag them in with you either. And while you’re in there, don’t scream obscenities at the people outside of your own pile of shit and hate on them for being happy and not covered in shit. And don’t be mad at people for not wanting to climb in with you.
If you’re upset because of something lacking in your life get up and do something about it. Don’t just sit there wallowing in your own self-pity. That’s how you end up like my nasty-ass roommate. she’s depressed. Depressed as all hell. But she’s so determined to cling to that depression that she just won’t do anything that could possibly make her happy. And if she does one thing to make herself happy, she follows up with several things that make her unhappy. I just don’t fucking get it. It’s impossible to help that kind of person until they decide they want to be happy. So, please don’t be that kind of person. If you’re sad, or angry about something in your past or something that was taken from you, work it out. Admit your feelings and then release them so that the healing may begin because you never know how much joy you could be stealing from those around you just by keeping your misery around like a security blanket.
The other thing, I have to say is from the other side. Don’t let those kinds of people effect you as best as you can. The moment you notice, yourself feeling down and speaking negatively more than usual, then stop, breathe, and remember who you are and that their misery is their own choice and remind yourself not to get mixed up in trying to help them when they’ve already proven they don’t want your help.
This may sound heartless but it’s true. If you get caught up in trying to help a person like that, it will suck you in and take away from your own life and wants and needs, because nothing you can do to make someone happy will never be enough for those who refuse to make themselves happy.
I learned this lesson the hard way. Spent all of my time trying to drag this woman out of the darkness and she refused. Now, after letting her suck me into the darkness, and living there for most of the last year, scrambling around for the exit, I have finally turned on my own inner light eliminated the darkness rather than trying to escape it.
That’s why I’m spring cleaning my heart out. I want to eliminate every speck of negative energy from my house. I refuse to live in misery or negativity another day. I will only post before AND after pictures upon request, otherwise, y’all gon’ have to settle for just the afters. (sometimes, I can get a little country up in here, don’t be scare grammar nazis. lol)
So, I’d like to propose a toast, “To personal responsibility: May we never again find ourselves blaming others for our own unhappiness.”