Growing

2 Jun

We spend so much of our lives defining who we are.   Figuring out who we are ~ and who we aren’t.   It seems that other people have often had very strong ideas about who i’m supposed to be, what i’m supposed to value, think, and do.

Sometimes, i’ve been so busy pushing back on their opinions, that i might not have even known what my own opinion is.  

i do have a contrary streak, and once i dig my heels in, i can be practically immovable.  This has often been helpful.

My father had a strong idea of who i should be, and i knew pretty early that i was going to disappoint him.  {Yes, i was right.}   But if i’d tried to be who he thought i should be ~ well, i just don’t think i could have.

In the same way, my first husband worked really hard at getting me to fit the mold he had in mind, and i shifted and moved and even caved in sometimes.  But for sure, i didn’t become who he wanted me to be.

i go through a long list in my head ~ the roles we play, and the role definitions our culture tries to impose.  Mother, step-mother, wife.  Employee, therapist, writer.  Friend, lover, submissive.  Every role has definitions and expectations layered on it.

The definitions come from how we were raised ~ our families, the schools we went to, the churches or synagogues or mosques we attended or didn’t attend.  The books we’ve read, the movies, TV shows, magazine articles that have touched us.  Commercials.  All the ads that tell us how to live.  Our friends, our peers, our co-workers, our lovers.  The list of influences go on and on.

A consistent life goal for me has been to NOT be defined by other people’s expectations, values, or standards.  And a lot of the time, that’s worked out well for me.  {At least i think it has ~ which is what matters, right?}

Sometimes it’s been a little silly.  There’ve been times that i wouldn’t read something or see a particular movie because everyone else was.  i knew it was silly, and i’d do it anyhow, just to buck the trend. 

So.  One of the things about me is that i’m not a very neat or externally organized person.  i can be fairly oblivious to my physical surroundings until something calls it to my attention.  As i write this, i look at my desk top and see a stack of books, papers  i need to do something with, kleenex, markers, a daily calendar my daughter gave me in 2010 with sayings for each day, some jewelry i took off last week, a prayer-book i need to return to someone,  a tape measure i used a while back, a small jar of thumbtacks, the beeswax for the thread for the quilt i’m making, two pairs of glasses, and a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff.

And i think, “i should do something with that stuff.  Put it all away.” 

And then i shrug and keep writing this post.

But i feel guilty about it, i think i would be a better person if i were neater, i think i should care more.

There’ve been times in my life when i worked hard at doing better, because it was important to someone around me.  And it seems like there’s always been a certain amount of pressure to be neater ~ whether it was my mother, my first husband, my second husband, or the guy who lived with  me in between them.  

And sometimes i’ve worked pretty hard at doing better, sometimes, not so much.

So now, when Sir’s coming over, i scurry around and clean up.  Tidy up.  Only ~ here’s the thing ~

i don’t think He cares.

i don’t think it bothers Him if i have a week’s worth of junk mail scattered on the kitchen table, clean laundry waiting to be put away in a basket in the bedroom.

Really.  i just don’t think it bothers Him at all.

In fact, when i get apologetic about it, He looks interested, and a little baffled.   

It’s a new experience for me.  No pressure from outside. 

O, i can imagine a tiny bit of pressure from youall.  ‘Nilla’s thinking about that ~ o, who’s that magic tidy fairy or something like that who she quotes sometimes?  The one who does things in 15 minute increments… you know who i mean.  And faithful, i think, is a neatnik, and that’s not all, i’m sure.

But y’all aren’t here, so it doesn’t really matter.  If you come to visit, i’ll tidy up real good first.  {laughing…}

No, here’s the thing.

Without pressure from outside me, without pressure from my Sir, i am suddenly wondering what i want.  Maybe some of the pressure i’ve been feeling has really been inside me.  What if i’m the one who wants things neater?

This may not sound like a big deal to you, but it’s sure something for me to think about.  At least it’s an opportunity to look at how i feel without the need to push back.

How cool is that?  

20 Responses to “Growing”

  1. Mick June 2, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    this made me remember the basket of laundry at the end of the bed that I need to put away. Thanks. Mick

    • aisha June 3, 2012 at 9:29 am #

      No problem, Mick. i’ll help you track your to-do list any time! Do you wanna come finish my basket when you’re through there?

      aisha

  2. sin June 2, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    It IS cool. Starting to be who we want.

    And if I come to visit, I’ll help you throw, I’m good with other people’s stuff. Not always so good with my own tidy. Now throw away that 2010 daily calendar.

    -sin

    • aisha June 3, 2012 at 9:30 am #

      Thanks, Sin. If it would entice you to visit, i’d love for you to help me throw stuff away.

      But the calendar? Um, my daughter gave it to me. You know. It’s got neat sayings on it. i think i should keep it…

      laughing,

      aisha

  3. vanillamom June 2, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    🙂

    laughing my ass off.

    You know I spent 5 hours the other day reorganizing my bedroom? Got rid of 4 pieces of furniture in there (coz you know my room is also the family “stick in where no one sees it” place…where tents and sleeping bags are stored in a crawl space…and everything in between.) It is exactly what I want…just my little space, my sanctuary that I’m ONLY in at bedtime.

    My family are not so committed to neatness (unless my MIL is coming)…

    so the next time I come to visit…if you have all those things on your table…I’m not going to care (and I never did, btw!)…I do not judge. Your space, your rules.

    So if you are, essentially, to busy living your life to tidy up all the time…where is the bad in that? Hmmm? I’d call you one lucky woman, really.

    Hug,

    nilla

    • aisha June 3, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      Hey, ‘Nilla,

      Yeah, i thought that might amuse you… and with all the offers i’m getting on help with throwing stuff away, maybe i can entice people to visit with that offer rather than a kinky blogger’s convention. We’ll call the event “aisha’s attic.’

      And seriously, i know you weren’t judgmental when you were here.

      And i am pretty lucky. It will be interesting to see how i shift if i start owning my own choices completely in that regard and recognizing that any pressure i feel is my own.

      i feel bad, however, for people who live with people like me.

      aisha

  4. yesthankyousir June 2, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    I can remember my mom laughing at the end of the week about our messy house. With four people and three dogs, usually a smattering of cats …. things got unruly. My dad on the other hand was sort of a neat freak and would lose it. It was interesting to see how they carried the stress of unkempt rooms.

    It carried over, I believe, to my adult life. The cleanliness of my rooms is always a direct reflection of my emotions. At times I’m hyper aware … other times I forget I even live on this planet.

    In regards to your little things here and there I have a few questions I ask myself.

    Is it dangerous? (Piles of haphazard books with say sharp objects on top)
    Is it things use everyday and need immediate access too? (If yes find a place to have them available)
    Do I really need this in my life? (If not donate, trash, recylce)

    Andi

    • aisha June 3, 2012 at 9:40 am #

      Hey, Andi,

      Those are good check points! No nothing dangerous, and most of it is just a matter of putting it in the correct place. Or figuring out where the right place is. That can be an issue.

      Interesting that you have kind of a split perspective on neatness that can be traced back pretty clearly! Interesting….

      Thanks!

      aisha

  5. faithful June 2, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Very cool indeed and it really is about what YOU want in the end.

    Being a “neatnik” is what keeps me balanced and it is all because of my own internal pressure. It has nothing to do with what anyone else wants.. Certainly Master could care less if my house is neat (although not sure he would expect anything else just cause of who I am ).

    I just like everything to be in its “place”.

    Life is short and some (many) would think I am crazy to spend a Friday night .. cleaning or organizing a closet. … but to me I am happiest doing it. It is not a chore, nor do I whine.
    I just do.

    Tomorrow if I wake up and decide to never clean again….. then that would be fine too! (or maybe not?) 🙂

    ~faithful

    • aisha June 3, 2012 at 9:53 am #

      Thanks, Faithful,

      It is interesting, how it works for different people. Being externally organized has not been so important to me, although traditionally, i can lay hands on whatever i want pretty quickly.

      If it makes you happy to do it, than by all means you should do it! i really do think ‘Nilla shares some of that with you. And i confess, there are times that i do too. Reorganizing my closet can be fun.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      aisha

  6. Kitty the Submissive Wife June 2, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    The first time I apologized to H for not doing the dishes, he replied, I’m sorry I didn’t do them either. A great tone to set for our household.

    I am the same way about reading something everyone else is reading. I am grouchy about doing it, but then it turns out that it is worthwhile to read and I only hurt myself.

    It is nice to feel superior to the majority at times though. Sigh.

    Good post.

    • aisha June 3, 2012 at 9:59 am #

      Hey, Kitty,

      i LOVE that response. How perfect.

      And nice to know it’s not just me out there, half-way cutting off my nose to spite my face.

      And – laughing – yeah. Well. You know. We are a bit superior, right? {Um, along with everyone reading here! Cause after all, we’re here!}

      Thanks..

      aisha

  7. jade June 2, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    i blame being a Gemini for such matters. i have worked a lot to not be so fussy and now am able to have a very clean room with an unmade bed and don’t care. Its my middle finger to the world. Yep.

    It is interesting that sometimes we will dig in our heels for so long on a topic that we have no real clue what we actually think about it anymore. That is what it sounds like to me. It sounds like you would rather have it orderly and resent the process of taking time and energy to deal with it. And so what if that is the case?

    For the sake of it, maybe your junk mail is your middle finger and maybe you are feeling less of a need to use it? Or not. Because, i mean, i’m sitting in an unmade bed in the last hour that is morning, grinning about sitting in a messy bed.

    Yep.

    So, i join everyone else: no judgement.

    • aisha June 3, 2012 at 10:09 am #

      Dear Jade,

      Laughing… you blame being a Gemini for your neatness? Cool, but i’m pretty sure it works the opposite in some Gemini’s ~ the one i lived with anyhow.

      As for the rest of your thoughts ~ YES. We totally need some things that say F-you to the world ~ at least i do. Mine used to be cigarettes, but yes, this is probably another one.

      And you might be right, maybe i do feel less need to do it. Either that or i’ll quit being messy and get a bunch of tattoos. That might be kinda fun….

      laughing…

      Thanks for not judging, and i hope you’re enjjoying your unmade bed again today!

      aisha

  8. mouse June 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Most certainly, mouse can related to never measuring up to what other people felt she should be. Life is often filled with, “you should…” and you can fill in your own blank. In mouse’s life today, the only people who count are our immediate family.

    It does get weary hearing everyone’s, “you should…” but the only one mouse really listens to is Omega…who never says that mouse ‘should’ do anything. He’s much, much more direct.

    Anyway really loved your post!!

    On the cleaning thing, once O casually mentioned some guy friend’s were coming over…so mouse certainly made sure the house was presentable. A couple of hours before they were to arrive, he said…putting a bottle of wine in the fridge, that one of his friends was bringing his wife!

    Not sure what this says about mouse, but she spent the next couple hours cleaning like a lunatic!

    Hugs,
    mouse

    • aisha June 3, 2012 at 10:34 am #

      Hi, Mouse,

      Yeah, i imagine you can relate to a lot of “should’s” – like most of us, really… Nice to have Omega to cut through all that.

      i know what you mean about cleaning more thoroughly if a woman’s coming over ~ particularly if it’s one you don’t know well. We can notice and judge more harshly than men often. Somehow, i can’t imagine you having to clean your house like a lunatic in the first place though. In my mind, your house is just not in that much need of cleaning!

      Glad you liked the post. 🙂

      hugs,

      aisha

  9. k June 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    So true! i’ve never been neat. my mother sees mess as ‘visual noise’–as a consequence, her house is immaculate 24/7, and was while i was growing up. i got very good at being passive-agressive about cleaning, or not cleaning. Now? Law school was a good excuse to avoid cleaning, and now studying for the Bar Exam. But after that? i really don’t know if it’s me who wants it clean, or still my mom’s voice in my head. And yes, i’m looking at jewelry i took off a week ago as i write this 🙂 So glad you have the time and space to figure it out for yourself. Such a blessing.

    • aisha June 3, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      Hi, K,

      Thanks, it really is a blessing!

      Interesting concept your mother has – mess as “visual noise.” Perhaps she’s right. In that case, my house is full of an eclectic selection of song!

      Um, that’s not what she meant?

      O, sorry.

      See, it’s your mother we’re talking about and it’s still triggering my oppositional streak!

      Laughing… hope you find your way too, whatever that looks like.

      aisha

  10. monkey June 2, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    It is cool being at the place where you can examine what you think about a thing without outside influence.

    The whole messy thing… such a loaded topic! I tune it out because I’m a neatnik trapped in a house of slobs. It’s tune it out, or turn into a raving lunatic bitch. lol.

    • aisha June 3, 2012 at 10:48 am #

      Dear Monkey,

      i totally feel your pain, having once lived with people who cared even less about neatness than i. Or – to clarify – they may have cared about it, but didn’t practice it. Sheesh.

      i think when you’re living with other people, how we handle mess and cleaning up and so on speaks to the dynamics in the relationship or family. But really, it is better not to think about that if you can help it!

      i’m glad you’re avoiding turning into a raving lunatic bitch…. 🙂

      aisha

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