Life is messy. That shouldn’t come as a large revelation to anyone currently living it. But in living this messy life, I have become a mess. Or maybe I was the mess to begin with, and life is messy as a result of me. Not everyone else mind you, just me. I am a mess and I mess up the world with my reckless inability to be an ordered, civil being.
You see I have animals and I’m fond of them, in fact I prefer them to most humans. But these animals have fur, and this fur is shed, on my clothes, my floor, my bedding, my whole life. I wash my clothes, I lint roll my clothes, I take care to avoid cuddling with the puppy or holding the cat while wearing black. But still I am covered in fur. People point it out to me… a lot.
The dog hair situation is pertinent to the messy life situation in that it is one more example in an increasingly long list of my imperfections. You may have heard that nobody’s perfect. But from my brain’s perspective, imperfection is more or less just a me kind of phenomenon. I look at everyone else I meet and they’re so put together and so free of dog hair, and it makes me think that maybe this life is messy because I’m a mess and not vice versa.
It’s not like I’m paranoid, I mean, it’s totally like I’m paranoid, but I would hate to admit that because it’s another point deducted from my perfection. It’s just that I’ve never been able to look at my fellow human beings and feel totally assured that my awkwardness, or self-loathing, or smells were quite the same as there’s. Okay. I’ll explain smells. I do shower daily. But I have this phobia because I’ve recognized that at a certain point your brain doesn’t bother to continue to register smells that it smells all the time, so maybe my breath or my general self smells and I’m totally unaware of it. That’s just one example of the millions of things I worry are wrong with me and not wrong with everyone else.
I worry about my hair, cause it’s not great. I’m incapable of wearing make-up, not because of hardcore feminism, but because I never really know when enough is enough, the line between none at all and clown is near impossible for me to distinguish. I worry that all clothes look terrible on me. Half the time I’m talking I’m silently telling myself to just shut up, I think that everyone must be thinking that I’m a moron or an ass. I worry that people only laugh at my jokes to be polite. That my voice sounds shrill. That the people who claim to like me don’t really like me.
So basically my self-esteem never left high school. But what the fuck else am I supposed to think when I’m surrounded by people who have dogs but are not covered in dog hair? How the hell do I feel good about myself when other people’s hair is silky and obedient, yet I have more cowlicks than any reasonable normal human scalp should allow? How do I feel good when any observation of the world will tell me that I am wildly lacking in a myriad of different directions?
I love being a reader because I love that I can crawl inside an author’s mind and feel the same insecurities that they feel. And when our insecurities overlap? Well, then that is the kindred spirit moment beyond all other. C.S. Lewis, after all, referred to friendship as “seeing the same truth”. In that case I think I’m friends with C.S. Lewis, E.M. Forster, Kurt Vonnegut, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was Forster who wrote about life being a violin recital where we are learning the instrument as we go. The insecurities I feel are the insecurities everyone feels in this chaotic and random existence. I know that, I know that I’m not alone
But even in spite of this cosmic connection to dead men, knowing and feeling are entirely different animals. I know I am not alone but I still feel so alone. I still am constantly consumed with the worry that my life is covered in dog hair and nobody else’s is.
I don’t have actual advice for this one. Because I don’t actually know shit when it comes to confidence boosters. But here’s what I do know; I am never not going to be a mess, this shit is permanent. Some people seem to like me anyway, and to sit around questioning whether or not they actually do is to look the metaphorical gift horse in its metaphoric mouth. I only get one life and wasting my time chasing perfection is exhausting.
“So here I am” I’ll declare to the world, “Covered in dog hair, lame humor, terrible hair, and possible smelliness. But I am the only me I get, so suck it. This mess is here and she is not apologizing.”
I’ll leave you with the better words of my hardcore friend-crush Stephen Fry
“…we all think we’ve missed out on the secrets of life, and everybody else has got it…. But the wonderful secret is that we’re all equally afraid and uncertain, and that, that isn’t a bad thing; it’s a wonderful thing.”