I washed my windows today, inside and out. Now before you start feeling bad about yourself because maybe your windows are still dirty, DON’T. I do this one time a year tops, sometimes only every other year if we don’t put up Christmas lights, which tends to emphasize the grime, bird poop, dog slobber and the broken one right in the front. (We get a lot of window salespeople knocking on our door.) This year the windows were dirtier on the inside than they were on the outside, which tells you how good of a housekeeper I have been lately.
You see, I promised my daughter we would put up the Christmas decorations on the Friday after Thanksgiving. And I’m determined to do this. So this is why I cleaned the windows today: so the coffee filter snowflakes will stick to them and not fall off from the scotch tape being made unsticky by dirt.
I need to explain (mostly to myself) that the activity of decorating for Christmas strongly accentuates the shame I feel about my worn out, cluttered and almost always dirty home. I don’t really like admitting my shame. It goes against the very core value that I try to keep sacred which is to always be grateful for what I have. But I think that this might actually be part of what brings on the shame: I don’t take care of what I DO have all that well. I have been putting my time, talent and treasure elsewhere and not on my home.
Most of the time I’m just fine with things as they are and where I choose to invest the resources I have. But every so often, usually during the holidays, I find myself comparing my home to pictures people post on social media of THEIR homes, with all the pretty, orderly decorations and serene atmosphere. And that’s when I usually go on a cleaning frenzy to at least try to momentarily conquer the clutter and dirt, which can at least make the ‘worn out’ look loved instead of abandoned.
I don’t think we talk about this kind of comparison shaming all that much: home shame.
So I’m gonna come out of the closet and talk about it. Well, I WOULD come out of the closet accept I can’t get IN any of my closets because they are all filled with too much shit. You can’t come OUT of something you were never IN to begin with.
My home so often looks like a hurricane hit it. It’s all these people and pets.
But here is something for you (and me) to ponder if you ever feel embarrassed about your home and look at the perfect pictures on social media or visit your friends gorgeous home with a little green monster on your shoulder:
Some people are just GOOD at making their homes beautiful: be it from plenty of money, lots of time or just natural talent and desire. Admire this. Enjoy it. Visit them often! Validate them! For this is their way of being in the world and it takes effort and diligence to make and keep things so nice.
But I believe that there are more people than not whose homes are dirty, cluttered or worn out. Sometimes it’s all three at the same time. They’re just careful how they take their social media pictures and crop out peeling paint or broken windows or dirty floors. But it’s a HOME. So let us validate them as well. They are more than likely putting their resources elsewhere and everyone’s priorities are relative. When it’s important enough to them they will wash their windows, not because other people are washing their windows or judging them for not doing so, but because they just want to have a little clarity.
And make sure the coffee filter snowflakes stick this year.