My maternal grandmother used to have a small sign hanging in her kitchen. I can’t remember the exact wording, but the general gist was: A happy home is a messy home. It had a picture of a woman sweeping a pile of dirt under a rug. Every time I saw it, I smiled (secretly thinking I would never let my house get that messy).
Today I was reminded of it when I went to a friend’s place for tea. We have known each other for over 25 years, and she’s more like a sister than a buddy. I consider her- and her awesome Aussie husband and two beautiful, spirited daughters- my extended family. So, needless to say, they are used to it when I show up makeup-free, with wet hair. Sometimes still in pajamas. Here I am in all of my un-glory. No apologies. Thank god for friends like that.
As we were chatting, my friend commented on how their place looked like a bomb site. Her husband astutely noted, “Yep, that’s life. Life is messy.”
By its nature, life is messy. Addiction compounds that. While in the throes of alcoholism, we tend to make a lot of messes. And not the healthy, welcome kind. I’ve certainly done so. After creating so much mess, in isolation, we need guidance from the greater community on how to clean it up.
Recently, I’ve been trolling the Web, looking for encouraging and inspirational advice from seasoned recovering alcoholics. I (very fortunately) stumbled upon this beauty: an absolutely wonderful TED talk by writer Glennon Doyle Melton. Gift yourself, and watch the 17-minute clip. It might change your life.
On the subject of messes, addiction, and dishonesty, she makes an insightful reflection:
“The thing is that people are truth tellers. We are born to make our unknown know. And we will find somewhere to do it. So, in private, with the booze, or the over-shopping, or the alcohol or the food, we tell the truth…Because we don’t feel safe telling that truth in the real world, we make our own little world and that’s addiction…And, so what happens is, all of us end up living in these little, teeny, controllable, predictable, dark worlds instead of all together in the big, bright messy one…We need more messy, honest, fully human beings who will volunteer to tell the truth about who they are – who will live shamelessly out in the scary, messy world.”
So, let’s embrace- and let loose- our beautifully messy selves and lives.
I wanna let my freak flag fly.