If you have ever gone on Instagram or Pinterest in your life, even once, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
You’ll also know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever looked at a magazine…although isn’t it funny how that’s not the first thing to come to mind anymore? Because—but no, that’s a different blog post.
This is a blog post about messes. Specifically my messes. The ones I make. All the time.
I’m sure you know what I mean when I write: picture perfect homes.
Yep, you’re imagining something now, aren’t you? Styled bookcases. Throw pillows perfectly fluffed. Green plants, straightened rugs, surfaces decorated but not cluttered, sunshine streaming through the ginormous windows…
Yeah, you know it. You’ve seen it.
Now, normally (and by normally I mean, like, at least 50% of the time) I’m pretty good at keeping the living room and kitchen clean. Spotless? Heck no. More like free of debris. I like having the charger cords put away, the remote in its spot (so I can find it, dammit), the dirty dish pile in the sink kept to a minimum, etc.
Normally, I can accomplish that and feel like a reasonable adult.
The bedroom is a different story.
Maybe it’s because my bedroom has been the place to get messy since childhood. Maybe it’s because it’s easy to walk away, close the door, and go in only to sleep. Maybe it’s just “one of those things” like how Halloween Oreos are better than regular ones: they just are.
Whatever the reason, the fact is that my bedroom is a mess.
It’s actually less of a mess now than it was about an hour ago, but it’s still not great. As I write this, I’m staring at the top of my dresser with equal parts self-deprecating amusement and despair because it looks like a two year old tried to decorate it and arrange frames while also dumping the entire contents of his mother’s purse on top.
If only I could put an Instagram filter on my glasses to make it look pretty. Next time I go to the eye doctor, I’m asking. (Kidding!)
That’s the thing though. Instagram, magazines, whatever—they’re not real life. Even if you’re looking at a lifestyle blogger’s home, the home they live in, it’s not really real life. It’s picture perfect. You only see the cropped and edited versions of things. I secretly like to imagine that there’s a huge pile of dirty laundry lurking just beyond the edges of every perfect photo. Or it could even be in the shot. Photoshop works wonders.
And you know what’s even more maddening? The beautiful messes. You know like things in the photo are disheveled, but artfully so? Like a blanket draping off the bed and onto the floor in the most unrealistic but aesthetically pleasing way? If only my unmade bed could be picturesque and inviting instead of sloppy. Dreams, I tell ya.
But even if your favorite lifestyle blogger or Instagram account or magazine celeb says her home isn’t perfect, and even if you know it’s not realistic for things to be clean all the time, it’s still hard to ignore the pretty pictures and the twinge of disappointment/guilt that your own life isn’t so beautiful. We’re such visual creatures. And we’re prone to feeling bad about ourselves, too.
So, friends, let’s cut the bullshit. Here are some ill-lit, unedited, Really Real (yup, capitals deserved) pictures of my mess.
We’re real friends now. You’ve seen my mess, and now you know what I’m really like.
I think there’s something to that, honestly. The people who know your messes know your truest, most comfortable self. I jokingly told my fiancé (after making yet another unsolicited promise that I was actually going to finally clean legit for realzies) that now’s the time to back out, because the real me just can’t keep the bedroom clean.
He laughed. Bless him.
It doesn’t need to be a partner, though. I just happen to be living with my fiancé, but it’s the same thing with friends and roommates. Sure, there are just shitty, perpetually messy people out there, but usually strangers, polite ones anyway, try to keep it to a minimum. But if someone lets you see them, mess and all, there’s a certain level of understanding and trust there. You know that you can leave your pile of clothes on the chair for
a week weeks, and they’re going to love you anyway. The unfiltered, unedited, version of you.
So, I’m laying all out on the table here. If you came home today to plates in the sink cemented with unknowable substances, or to a floor where crumbs are sticking to your feet, or if your bathroom counter is smeared with makeup and covered in hair—you’re not alone.
Let’s go back to my bedroom dresser top. There’s a lipstick, two pens, a can cooler, a paintbrush, a spool of ribbon, a decorative basket from Target with its tags still on that I haven’t found a proper place for, two old receipts, and a plastic medal from beer olympics strewn across the top in addition to the candles and frames and other decorative crap. (I’d show you a picture, but I forgot to take one, just trust that I’m telling the truth.) I only just folded and put away a child-sized pile of clean laundry, Also, just for good measure I’ll admit that the shirt I’m wearing has holes in it and my cutoff sweatpants are from sixth grade. They’re my favorite sweatpants, but still.
I’m a mess. My bedroom is half a mess. And, God help me, I just cannot keep my closet clean for longer than a week. Maybe two. Maybe. But people still love me. For all my flaws and all my ways that could never ever make it into a magazine.
Person reading this who can’t even open their closet door because of all the crap piled in there, person who has a junk drawer—heck, a junk room!—who has three sweatshirts and seven shoes (not pairs, just seven individual shoes) in the car: I love you. I’m with you.
Homes are for living. Life is messy. And I think I’d rather have it that way than some kind of impossible photographic perfection.
…I really should clean my closet though. Things are getting out of hand.