*Disclaimer:  this black cat is not mine.  However, if I do get a cat, y’all will be the first to know.  I have almost exclusively owned black cats and am seriously thinking of getting one.  To share space with Kelto, of course.

If I may quote the extraordinary Jenny Lawson:

A little bit of filth should not stand in the way of happiness. In fact, a little bit of filth is sometimes the only road to happiness.

Last week my mother said my bedroom smelled pretty bad and that she should come in and vacuum, change the mattress cover, wash the duvet, the duvet cover, the pillows, the pillowcases, the pillowcase covers, do the blinds, and dust.  I want to be VERY clear here that she means well and wants to help.  Like a little kid, I just stood there and farted really quiet like. And the expression on my face was exactly like that of the cat in the featured picture who had just spit back some pumpkin he’d just been fed (they were supposed to mix it in with his food). I mean, the cat looks really pissed and I think the owners should sleep with one eye open for a little while.

Back to my room.  Inside, I was just as angry as that cat.  If I’d been healthy, that room would have a nice cleaning once a week. Instead, I stood there, seething, upset that I needed help.  It’s hard to let go of my independence.  Even after 26 years.  I mean, why can’t I just get a rolled up towel for a pillow, crack open the window, get a thick washable blanket and set up a hammock in there?

Like who gives a shit if there are old suitcases in the corner and it’s been a month since I changed my pillowcases and bedsheet?  Who cares if my bed doesn’t look like a store display model?  I don’t have bedbugs, I don’t do drugs in my bedroom (well I don’t do drugs at all), and I don’t have broken whiskey bottles lying around everywhere.  I mean, I do have standards.

I wish that I could change all my sheets, covers, pillowcases, and dust my bedroom every week. The rest of my home is neat and tidy.  It’s dusty in places and doesn’t get vacuumed often, but I think I’m doing the best I can.  It’s just that the bedroom and laundry happen to be last priority, and if anyone comes to visit (which is rare), I simply close the bedroom door. Cleaning the toilet and sink in anticipation of a guest is not a huge energy expenditure. Washing the dishes in a dishwasher and wiping the cupboards is not a huge energy expenditure either.

I feel as if I must have my bedroom completely ready so that my mother will say she’s proud of me the next time she’s here.  Who cares that I will be sleeping for a whole day afterward?  Being chronically ill forces you to take a giant magnifying glass and examine your entire life.  You MUST sweep away everything that is not of absolute importance (for example, perfection) and hold on to things that are.  Friends.  Family.  Making memories.  Laughing.  Slowing down.  Eating ice cream while mourning the loss of a pet.

I mean, are you going to be thinking about what you didn’t get done or washed or picked up or cooked on your deathbed?  On my deathbed, I’m sure going to say “I’m sure glad I changed my fucking sheets and vacuumed my floor and dusted and cleaned my blinds so people wouldn’t think I was a filthy pig.” So yeah, a little bit of filth is the only road to happiness because when you try to be perfect for someone else or yourself you are magnifying whatever problem you already have.

And then when I die I want my epitaph to read “I told you I was sick”.

Picture of Loki©C. Denée 2016