I can’t write a blog – I have no inspiration. So, what do I do? I clean the bathroom. Then my bedroom. Then the supply closet. And then the garage. Why? Don’t ask me, I just always have.
For as long as I can remember, cleaning has been a way of coping for me. Whether I was bored, stressed, sad, or anxious, I would often turn to cleaning. Just this last week, while on spring break, I took an entire evening to fully go through my room, trashing what I didn’t need, organizing what I wanted to keep for now, and deep cleaning my entire space. Knowing I was headed back to the Leadership Center, I wanted to have my space clean and under control for the next time I was home. Then, as I made my way to the State Officer house earlier this week, I spent over an hour reorganizing my clothes, personal items, and desk. Why? I felt over-stressed about the coming weeks; I wanted to feel in control of my space.
That’s just it – control. I always need a little bit of control. It’s just who I am. When I can’t control my schedule, unending busyness, the people around me, or even my emotions, I turn to my space. It’s always been something I CAN control. Now, I’m not saying I’m never messy or never have a dirty area, because trust me, it gets BAD sometimes. Life's a little messy sometimes. Yet, it’s by controlling this mess that I can finally feel better.
I’ve struggled with perfectionism, self-doubt, and anxious thoughts for a long time, but it really came to fruition my freshman year of high school. As I came to a new school, joined a whole new group of students, and took a lot of advanced classes, I quickly became extremely overwhelmed by life. I can remember finals week, sitting in the cafeteria with a table of friends, with my nose in a book, studying my heart out right before my history exam. One of my friends said something like, “Abby, stop studying, if you don’t know it now, you won’t know it in a bit.” I can remember the sinking feeling in my gut and the tears fill my eyes as I realized that this exam could make or break my grade, and I couldn’t control what I knew.
While over organizing, deep cleaning, and constantly looking to control my space won’t necessarily heal what I’m going through, it does allow me to take a step back, refocus, and come at my problems with a new angle. I won’t sit here and tell you to just cover up your problems by overworking yourself day in and day out – trust me, I’ve been there. What I will tell you is that it is okay to find something that allows you to take a break and recharge so that you can better handle what you’re going through. For me its cleaning, but for you, it may be taking a walk, reading your favorite book, or watching an episode of your favorite show. Whatever it is, let yourself lean on that when times get tough. Don’t use it as an escape, but use it as a chance to take a breath.
Your neat freak friend,