How many times have you bought a shirt or shoe on the thought of how you would strut past a colleague with whom you were in silent competition with? How many times have you reached for a blouse, only to recoil from it… because so and so had worn it to the office or a function before – and you would not want her to think you were copying her style. How many times have you bought something because someone had it and you just had to get it as well so it won’t seem like you couldn’t afford it?
Is your life a lie? Have you been so many people you have forgotten who you truly are? Has it been so long since you had an original thought of your own that wasn’t birthed on the premise of that’s what everyone is doing? Are you afraid of being by yourself because you don’t want to have time to think about what you are doing (or not doing) or who you are becoming?
Is your house dirty? Is your toilet unflushed for days, even though there is water? Has your kitchen become an ecosystem with the volume of trash you are yet to take out? Do you come out of your home looking like a front page model for Vogue, while you hurry to shut the door so your neighbor won’t see inside, is a hulking mess? Your house is littered with packs of “take away”, pizza boxes, empty bottles of drinks, smelly socks, used toilet papers, stained boxers, wrappings of sanitary pads and used pads, plastic bags from every known supermarket, cigarette stubs, eaten meals that have congealed and some booming maggots, clothes strewn on every surface and on the floor which you step on when you move around the house. The only clear path is the small space for your butt on the couch where you sit to manage the remote.
Do you wear dirty under wear or none? Have they, despite boasting names of popular fashion houses, never seen a wash despite 6 months of owning them?
Are you obsessively clean? Does any speck of dirt drive you to point where you can’t help but bring out a duster to wipe it off…whether it’s your house or not? Is the obsession with cleanliness at variance with the dirty, envious and hateful thoughts that occupy your mind?
Do you hate silence? Is your life an unbroken sound track of deliberately modulated decibels to drown out the voice crying for help within you? Do you switch on the stereo and the TV at the same time immediately you come in? Do you obsessively, constantly seek companionship in the background chatter provided by your friends? You do not need to contribute to the conversation. You just want them talking and discussing around you.
These are not mad souls; just everyday people like you and me. It does not matter what privileges they may have in life. What is common are the bad habits which may or may not be symptomatic of some deeper issues.
What is the standard of living? The standard of living requires that we live each day. To do this, we are taught skills from childhood to equip us and help us absorb easily as one with society. We are taught to speak, read and write. We are taught to use our minds to process things to gain understanding. We obtained knowledge on how to use our bodies for fun, for sports, and for recreation. We were also taught to take care of ourselves, and the value of a good diet. We were also taught cleanliness but nobody teaches it as a survival skill.
Cleaning is a matter of life or death. You are never too small to do so. Your environment and your mind are constantly with you. Taking the trash out of your house and mind will not allow anything fester. Yorubas say efin ni iwa. Which means, behavior has a smell. Nothing we do emanates from the physical. It always starts from within. Nobody wants to stay near anything that stinks. That’s why some people can’t stand themselves.
Help yourself. With all due respect, you have no excuse. You are growing up to be a husband, a mom or someone’s guardian. You will become a boss or an employee; a policy maker or an aide; a president or a teacher. Maybe you are any of these already. But position does not make the man. Those who treat their environments or their minds shabbily will treat the people in their lives the same way.
Responsibility starts with you. Every day is a hustle to survive as a clean home and mind demands discipline. Stop forming big boy who will spend hours washing the car but not two minutes to wash an underwear; who spends hours trolling someone on the net, yet, declare vehemently how much they can’t be bothered about the person; who would rather buy new clothes rather than wash the ones she has.
Take that plate to the kitchen when you are done eating. Forgive that painful act. Soak that soiled shirt immediately you get home. Stop being pretentious and know who you are.
And remember, dirt is dirt. No matter the reason for it.
Photo Credit: Mark Hayes | Dreamstime