How Messy Is Your Life?

Allison Nazarian Allison Nazarian, The Life of Allison

This question came to me this morning.

Literally. Like entered my head and stayed there until I emailed from myself to myself via my Blackberry, asking my own self the question so I could then get it down here.

How Messy Is Your Life?

Let’s talk about the “messy” part.

I don’t mean like piles of laundry waiting to be folded or dust bunnies in the corners of your bedroom or mildew in your shower.

I mean like emotionally, mentally, friend-wise, love-wise, life-wise, logistically messy.

As in…..not pristine and untouched and hospital-cornered and immaculate.

As in…..REAL.

How real is your life?

I ask this because right now in my life what I am finding is that the more real my life becomes — the more real I become — the more messy my life becomes.

And this is the kind of messy we have to force or at the very least re-train ourselves to welcome and embrace. This is the kind of messiness that isn’t easy, on its surface, to love. But…at its core, this messiness is so freakin delicious I could just eat it alive. For real.

Oh, right…now would be the time to remind you (and me) that accepting and loving imperfection and imbalance and messiness is so freakin’ hard for control freaks and perfectionists like Yours Truly.

Like really hard.

What I do know and what I am working on truly understanding is that messiness is a by-product of a life well-lived. It’s not something to be avoided or ignored or falsely neatened up. And, in fact (get this), it is something you want. That you should strive for. That you should be thankful for.

Because the truth is, no messiness means no lessons, no loving with abandon, no real living out loud.

I lived a life like that. It was really neat and tidy and perfectly manicured like a beautiful lawn. Oh, and it nearly killed me inside. It was so stifling that it almost suffocated me. But at least it looked great on the outside, huh?

If you throw a massive pile of dirty clothes into your closet so no one will see it (as my 12-year-old son does often), you are putting a lot of energy in moving your mess from one location to another. You aren’t fixing the mess or appreciating it. (For instance, looking at a stained shirt and being grateful for the fun time at the party you wore it to. Or even just leaving it be and stepping over, or — gasp! — on top of it.)

You are simply transferring the mess from Point A to Point B as a distraction to you and others.

It is still there. It still exists. It is no bigger or smaller, only now you have invested energy in hiding it or trying to cover it up, so maybe it actually is kinda bigger.

What is the alternative? Maybe cleaning it up for real. Or, reveling in its disorder and disarray. Or, determining how to avoid getting to a big pile at all next time.

Or, ignoring it and making new piles elsewhere.

For some, like me, ignoring it or even making it in the first place is really, really hard. Getting messy, rolling around in messy, loving messy is really, really hard. People like me are organized and efficient and on top of things. We do a lot and plan a lot and think a lot so that messes don’t happen to us.

Maybe I should say all that in the past tense.

Because I am learning to love my mess.

I have burned bridges and disappointed people and said mean things to others and made crappy choices and even missed deadlines and said “yes” when I meant “no” or “no” when I meant yes.

Those kinds of messes.

I am becoming OK with my humanness. And I am learning to speak my mess and own my mess.

And to be OK if you think my mess is, well, a freakin mess. If you don’t want anything to do with it or you don’t like it, that’s OK too. Go love someone else’s mess, or your own, or no one’s.

So….given all that, I forgive me for my mess. I forgive you for yours, too. Actually, I don’t even forgive you for it. I love you for it and get you even more than ever for it. As for me, I am working on telling life to bring on more mess.

Yes, more. Bring it on!