It probably wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me that I always squeeze my toothpaste – or other things that come in tubes – from the bottom. Nor would they be shocked to learn that I care about the direction toilet paper is rolled: it should always be from the top. I also like my dishes, and cans and boxes of food stacked and organized a certain way, as well as clothing and linens being folding and stored in distinct ways. When CDs were a big thing, I had a filing system for my CD collection, so I could easily know where to find music when I wanted to listen to something specific. My friends definitely mocked me for this, when I explained my system because they wanted to play or borrow music.
I’m not suggesting that I’m OCD – at least I’ve never been diagnosed – but I appreciate order. Although it’s become impossible to keep some of that order since becoming ill. Whether it’s because I’m too tired or sore to do something the way I usually would, or trying not to be rude when someone takes the time to help me. The order that I once prided myself on keeping is falling by the wayside. There seems to always be dishes in my kitchen sink. I rarely put away all my clothes, whether immediately after being laundered or if they don’t make the cut when I’m choosing an outfit, and because of that I have a perpetual mound of fabric sitting atop the chair in my bedroom; and sometimes on the side of the bed on which I don’t sleep. I recently told a friend that I need a desk. He replied, “You don’t need a desk. You need a dining table.” Alluding to the fact that my dining table is now littered, with all the things (my laptop, pens, markers, pencils, notebooks, sketchbooks) I would want to place on a desk.
I can’t seem to muster the energy to get things in order. However, I don’t necessarily believe it’s a bad thing that I’m not so strictly organized anymore. The energy I once squeezed into cleaning or making sure I placed things in specific places, even when I was exhausted, isn’t channelled into those areas anymore – not that I don’t have my moments of weakness when someone does me the favour of doing my dishes. I’m using that energy, when it’s available to me, to do creative things and take care of myself. Furthermore, instead of a place where things are always neatly organized, I’m enjoying the idea of having a home that looks and feels lived-in.