My original draft of the above post made it sound like my day was nothing more than just “eating outside for fun.” In reality, I came home to my housekeeper’s substitutes (while she staycations, like me) and being in the house at the same time makes me uncomfortable.
This is not me avoiding my life’s messiness, others handling of it, etc. I sat outside out of respect for the space needed to do the job well. Also, I believe it is blatantly disrespectful to sit on my couch eating a sandwich watching TV while others work on things you could do yourself…like scrubbing the bowl of my toilet as Blanca does each time she comes or scraping up the dried food that has stuck to my sink basin.
Everyone I know who has a housekeeper does some type of emergency cleanup prior to their housekeepers arrival, including me. Why? The pre-housekeeper cleanup is similar to the “unexpected guest” cleanup but with less intensity. We allow some messiness with our housekeepers but seemingly not with our friends and loved ones. Why?
Because at 36 (for me), it is embarrassing to expose that I don’t have all the basics covered myself, let alone that I’m doing this myself and without a partner or companion.
Because at 36, I know there are things that I should or could be doing but choose not to — and not because I’m healing the lepers of Nicaragua or something like that — because I’m likely taking a nap or eating brunch.
Because at 36, I’ve not taken time to wipe the bathroom counters of accumulated hair product, lotions, and globs of fallen toothpaste; I haven’t scrubbed the toilet to remove the pink ring or any unexpected splash. I’ve stuffed the pile of laundry which has accumulated at the foot of my bed in to the hamper which still sits four feet away from the foot of the bed as it has all week.
So I straighten, I sanitize, I take care of the periphery. I’m clean and anal retentive, but I allow a lot of messiness behind closed doors with myself that I would never expose to others.
It’s not as though I’m shy about admitting these things but it’s not my primary talk track either. I’d lie if I said I hadn’t pretended it were some other way on dates.
In reality, I’d rather portray something else — the guy who’s life is so carefree that he is available mid-day on a workday to sit casually in the sun and eat a BLT with brie and gorge on a lime tart with blueberries. The picture and portrayal is me…but in many ways it is nothing like me. At some other moment of the week you could easily find me in torn underwear on the couch eating take-out directly out of the container, spilling some on my stomach, and using my finger to wipe it up and put it in my mouth.
I don’t want to portray anymore — put on some show. That show does nothing more than make others feel they must do the same, locking us in to a story of how we appear versus who we are, where we started versus what we have contributed.
So, I will focus on revealing more of myself instead of portraying. (Revealing is “to make (previously unknown or secret information) known to others.”) I am very interested to see what comes of sharing stories and facts fait accompli — something already done that cannot be altered.
While my history can never change, I’ve seen first hand how my present and future have altered because of my past…even though my history is, by definition and certainly because of importance, what has made me who I am.
But I see no alternative to authenticity. Nor should anyone else. After all, everybody poops.
Postscript: A couple of months ago, I had said some controversial things that were the right things to say and for the right reasons, but put me in a somewhat scary position — as one often is when speaking up whether they are eventually right or wrong. I had never heard the song before, but on the way to work, “There I Said It” by Adam Lambert played randomly on my car stereo. It overwhelmed me with its honesty and has become a mantra.