Mess is an artificial construct, an implied judgment that reveals more about the speaker than the situation. That’s my fancy way of saying there’s no such thing as a mess unless you want to call it a mess.
My mother didn’t like to bake bread because it was too messy. She baked biscuits, but that was a small, contained, short-term mess. Baking yeast bread required more mixing, more floured or oiled surfaces, more time – and ultimately more cleanup. I, however, prefer baking the slow-rising bread that requires more interaction, more tactile experience, more . . . relationship? With yeast? It can feel like that, yes. I don’t mind the cleanup.
I wasn’t sure I could help my children be artistic, because, you know, it’s messy. Paint and Play-doh and bits of colored paper all over the carpet or the floor or the table or the clothes. I got over it. Watching them be creative was worth the price of wiping up a spill or doing an extra load of laundry.
I didn’t think I could have people over to visit because my house was too much of a mess, until I finally realized I wasn’t having people over to visit my house, but to visit me. Since I got over that hesitancy, I’ve had loads of people over, and never once has someone left in shock or refused to return because of the mess.
So I’ve stopped calling myself, my things, my place a mess. Mess implies less – less neat, less orderly, less self-controlled, less organized, the list can go on forever. Instead, I’m choosing more: more attention, more connection, more community, more relationship. And sometimes the peaceful folk who frequent my place even help me tidy it up.
Thanks to Lisa-Jo Baker for the weekly writing prompts. You can see more thoughts about messes over at her Five Minute Friday page.