I am a mess.
My bedroom, my closet, my desk – it’s all a mess. The bed gets left unmade for days, and the “system” I devised so long ago is abandoned for convenience’s sake. Color coordinated closet? Shoes organized by the season? It’s all quite lovely when it happens, but soon enough the whites are intermingled with the burgundies and there’s a left espadrille lurking under the coat rack. The clutter is truly astonishing.
It’s not that I don’t take pride in my space, my things. Quite the contrary, actually. My little confession of the day is that I enjoy the mess. It surrounds me and protects me; it’s my comfort and safety net. But then sometimes the storm hits and the mess turns to catastrophe. What once felt safe is now my own personal war zone. That’s when I go into attack mode and clean. I color code, I scrub, I Swiffer and spray, aggressive and extreme. And then just like that, my space becomes…sterile. Immaculate. Foreign.
Think of your house at its most comforting. A half-made bed, a stack of books on the nightstand. A blanket sprawled haphazardly on the couch and a puppy’s squeak toy on the staircase. It’s not what we see in the pages of lookbooks or home decor window displays; it’s not photo-ready or even remotely close to what a white-picket-fence life is “supposed” to look like. But it’s ours. So our house becomes our sanctuary, and we create a space we want to live inside. A space that makes us feel good. Feel loved. Feel home.
Here’s my question: why don’t we do the same with our bodies?
We decorate our walls armed with tape measurers and levels. An inch here, a tilt there, a calculated twist of the lamp so the light hits just so. We feng-shui our lives away and ready our space as if prepping a magazine feature. Squeezing into our jeans, tightly coiling our hair, scolding ourselves when the latest hemlines just don’t look right on our frame. We focus so much on how our body fits into things, instead of how we fit into it.
It’s no secret, Chalkboard family, that I’ve battled self-image issues my whole life. My proprioception is highly acute, so muchso I feel everything both external and internal all at once. The hypersensation is both fascinating and demonic. It’s the quality that makes me feel my body in space and just want it to fit. The quality that makes me squeeze into the room and manipulate my form and paint my walls the perfect color to catch the light just so.
Yet all the while, I gleefully internalize the world and its emotions. I swirl the feelings around in my head and heart, shake them up and turn the saturated mess into words and action. That kind of focused awareness from the inside, that thing I so love and cherish – that is really the thing that makes me feel whole.
When we solely focus on the external body, we start ignoring the internal workings, the framework. We’ve all been there. Let’s just say we toil and sweat, portioning out every bite, and finally reach our ideal aesthetic. Why aren’t we satisfied? Why doesn’t it ever last?
Strip it all down, and we feel safest when we are in a constant state of self-expression; when we are engulfed in the Feeling of it all. This safe self-expression is not safe from anything, or safe to do anything: it’s just safe. Period. It’s a warmth and a glow and a fluttering of the heart. It’s a smile and a phone call, a cool energy and a warm breeze. It’s a look and a knowing and a cradle of nurturing connection. All this safety, it comes from the inside.
Let’s not pretend and say it’s always easy to find our safe happy fit. Because it’s not. We might feel our bodies and not like the catastrophe we feel surrounding us. And you know what? That. Is. Okay. It’s just a sign that we need to up the ante on our internal sensations. Make those the priority. Feel Or Bust. When change comes from the internal feeling instead of the external gratification, that is when we reap the true benefits of what our bodies are capable of.
Mull it over. When do you feel the most at home? The most loved? When do you feel safe? Sometimes – most times – it’s not when everything is pristine, sparkling, in its exact place. So go ahead. Make your happy mess. To embrace that is to embrace yourself. Feel good from the inside out, not from the outside in. That lived-in feeling, that slight disarray, that’s where you find home.