I’m a slob.
My mama raised me far better than this, but my messy apartment says otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, the dishes are clean, the bathroom is sanitized and the food in the refrigerator hasn’t expired (yet).
There are always a few places that I keep hidden because I just never get to cleaning them. Good luck finding my favorite sweater underneath the ten piles of clothes in my bedroom and make some room in the car because most likely you’ll be surrounded by candy wrappers, old receipts, and that sweater that I can’t find in my room.
But I have other messes in my life that you can’t see with the naked eye. My life is a little messy too. I dread waking up for work every morning because I feel completely worthless at my job, I feel unloved by my father who has neglected me after divorce and I feel like I am wasting so much untapped potential for greatness.
Then one day I met Star Hanson.
One day I got a text message from my long-time friend Andrés. Andrés is no ordinary man — not only is he the childhood best friend of my boyfriend, he’s a comedian, loving husband, life-long traveler and a man who doesn’t believe in the word “impossible”.
He reached out to me to invite me to support him in a speech he was giving for TEDxTucson. Impressed and inspired, of course, I wasn’t going to miss it for the world. So I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m., packed up my (messy) car and headed straight for the dirty T…pun intended.
There was a full line up of speakers all with one purpose in mind — to share their stories about connecting the dots in life. I spent the day at the speaking conference scribbling down notes and nodding my head at each of the great messages and thought that it would end as a great learning experience for me to share with my boyfriend when I got home.
Star was the final speaker of the day and it was starting to get late. I briefly read her bio to get an idea of her story. Her title was simple, “The Monster in Your Closet”. Anxious to get back on the road home bound to Phoenix, I assumed that she would be sharing a story about how to have a tidy home and I’d be on my merry way.
Until I started bawling. Like, literally bawling. I was having the full-on scrunchy face, smearing makeup cry. What I thought would be a simple message on strategies for early-onset hoarders was actually a message that changed my life, and I don’t say that lightly.
Star is a professional organizer (how cool is that?!). She makes a living by not only cleaning up the physical spaces of her clients’ homes but also their personal lives.
What I didn’t know until that day was that I’m not wired to be a messy person; my mess is a reflection of my life and my pain. My messy room, the floor covered with clothes and walls decorated with junk from top to bottom, is a window to my childhood emptiness.
My entire adolescent life revolved around following my dad’s dream(s). We moved countless times from state to state as he completed his education, leaving me lost and without a place to call “home”.
I’m no longer that little girl who desperately wants to feel stable. I’m a young woman, holding on dearly to what I can call my own to create a false sense of stability. For now, my apartment is my home. My clutter gives me the feeling that I’ve settled down without the fear of the all-to-familiar living room “talk” that we were moving again.
Every trinket, poster and picture that means something to me ends up on display on my walls so I can feel like I’ve truly moved in. My clothes scattered on the floor reflect my indecisiveness for how I want the world to see me that day. Unfinished decisions turn in to piles of clutter in our room (sorry, babe).
But as simply as I can clean up my apartment (and don’t let me forget about the car) I can reevaluate my deeper challenges and make room for greater things in my life.
Star changed my life that day. I’m a glorious hot mess covered with the beautiful scars of my life.
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