So just now before I sat down to write this, I cleaned up the kitchen by putting the dishes in the sink and spraying down the stovetop. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but I miss this side of myself. The side that cleans up messes and puts stuff where it belongs, because I’ve been so focused on the “have to be the Loud Mouth Brown Girl, gotta get content out,” mentality.
“Her mind is a mess, and she has no intention of cleaning today.”― Alfa H, Abandoned Breaths
Oscar the Grouch is known for living in a trash can. I was today years old when I stopped to acknowledge that Oscar the Grouch is and was my first symbol of what Trauma looked like. I thought he was just funny and silly, but the truth is that Oscar lives with some deep wounds.
I know this because, in the early year episodes, Oscar explained that he too struggles with cleaning, but I can’t remember Jim Henson’s reasons. Today Sesame Street says that Oscar represents tolerance, understanding, and diversity, and boy does and did he ever.
The mother wound shows up as fear of not being seen. Which explains why I am so nervous about not doing the blogging thing every single day. Will you all see me if I don’t blog every day?
“How will I matter if I don’t show the world that I exist?” is a very juvenile way to think, but that’s because my brain, like the brains of many of you, has been stunted, and that’s because of the fact that abuse and trauma stunt brain growth. Cleaning hasn’t always been difficult for me, but over the years with the more abuse and the more trauma, the harder keeping my space organized became.
A lot of my inability to clean comes from anxiety, but part of it, s I just don’t fucking want to. Physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, I’m just fucking exhausted, and in order to clean you have to be energized.
“Sure I’m tired but I do it too,” yes, because you’re capable of getting up off your ass and doing the responsible thing, my brain doesn’t work like that though.
See you walk into a space and you see that it needs to be cleaned, I think oh, you too?” It’s a sign of trauma, a messy or disorganized space, is a sign of some serious trauma that we’re not dealing with, and the worse the mess, the worse the trauma.
For the last 4 years I’ve been so focused on getting the story out there into the world, that I wasn’t thinking about cleaning, and then one day I looked up and realized, the mess I’d made was bigger than I was capable of cleaning on my own.
I was overwhelmed, and scared, because what if people saw how bad it was, what would they think of me? So I called my mom, and she called in help, and we got our house cleaned.
But it was a lot of me sitting shaking my head, and being told to relax, and that stressed me the fuck out. Largely because other people were doing the work (they got paid) and I was told to relax – I HATE relaxing, I don’t know what to do with myself, I don’t know how to behave, I don’t know how to sit and just chill, because I haven’t ever really just relaxed.
Every day I try to do something little, but I still struggle, because we have cats, and they make a mess, and I don’t like touching anything unclean, so I do as much as I can, at least 15 minutes a day to keep the space clean, because I don’t want to go backwards, but I do want to build new routines, to get me out of the hole that is mental health issues.
The worst part is I can’t even tell you what’s wrong with me, because I don’t know. Neither do the doctors, though they pretend they do, giving me a bunch of different diagnoses that don’t really mean anything other than that they all have scary names.
I know I’m tired, I know I’m sad, and I know that I work really hard not to be, but it’s never easy, and even though days in a row are struggle days, there are lots of days when I’m dancing too, so I take the good with the bad, and thank the universe because my house is finally starting to feel like a home again.
As a kid, I thought Oscar was the best character, because he was cranky, and I appreciated that, I appreciated the fact that he didn’t explain why he didn’t want to talk, he just didn’t talk.
There was freedom in that, but I wasn’t allowed to watch Sesame Street for very long, because we couldn’t afford cable, or my mom hated it, either way, he was my hero growing up and I’ll always love him for the fact that he taught me, that I could hide away and the world can’t stop me when I need to.
It’s so easy for a slip to become an everyday life thing, and I never again want to look up and feel like I’m living like Oscar the grouch, I’ll still be a Grouch don’t get me wrong, (Angry Stoner Girl party of 1), but at least I’ll be a Grouch with a clean space.
Thanks for riding with me Oscar
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
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