Chaos – #atozchallenge

When I was still living with my mother, my room was the tidiest room in the apartment. Everything had its place, my wardrobe was colour coordinated and had a system that allowed me to detect the slightest disturbance. (My mum used to borrow my clothes, or at least try them on and then put them away again but always in the wrong place, so I noticed in an instant.) This was necessary to survive. It grounded me, six square meters that I, and I alone, could control. My mother was chaos and disturbance, the flat was a perfect mirror of her soul. Depression and disorder from bottom to ceiling. The depression was visible in the colour scheme: black and midnight blue furniture, black curtains, black pillows, black and purple blankets. The disorder was hidden away, inside drawers and cupboards. When a door was opened, half her life fell out. The half that wasn’t lived. Travel catalogues showing exotic destinations that we would never go to. Recipes for meals she would never cook, cut out of magazines. Manuals for devices that were already broken but probably still lingering behind some other door. Empty pill boxes, empty batteries, broken light bulbs. She didn’t want to let go because she had already lost so much. At the time I didn’t understand, I just wanted to get away before this hurricane of things would suck me up and never let go.

So I left as early as I could, and all I took with me was a bag full of clothes, the shoes I was wearing and two boxes full of books and drawing equipment. I didn’t want much, because owning things meant chaos. In my first flat I couldn’t even bear a pair of socks lying on the floor. One pair of socks was like a suspicious mole – not threatening at first but it could become bigger real fast until it grows into a tumor made out of socks and panties. And before you know it, there is a pile of clothes on the floor, and then towels and dirty water glasses and dog-eared magazines everywhere. And then you don’t hoover anymore, at least not the bits of floor that aren’t visible. And boom! You’re dead. Drowned in your self-inflicted flood of things and dust mice.

When I had to leave my little flat because the landladys’ daughter wanted to move in, I had to move in with some other people to save money. They taught me that healthy chaos is possible. Your shoes don’t have to stand neatly in a row like soldiers. It is enough to take them off before you enter the house. Leave the dirty dishes alone until after your little post-meal nap. Have a cup of coffee before you put the shopping away. Relax! You’re not a curator, you live here.

Today, I am a quite healthy mix of order and chaos. Our flat looks lived in but is usually clean and tidy enough to welcome visitors. There is a newspaper lying about here and there and my crafting table is a holy mess. I don’t freak out when the Scotsman is dropping his socks next to the bed because I know he will pick them up in the morning. A few days ago, I even found a dried slice of salami in the sofa while I was plumping up the cushions. Instead of screaming, I wondered when we last had salami snacks. I think we’re good.

Embrace the chaos, it’s a product of life!

This was a post for the #atozchallenge.