What only rotten apples could teach me

I’m struggling to put the weekend into words. It’s been such a revelatory one that I don’t feel like I can move on to talking about anything, whether deep or inane until I write about this. So, instead of making this a week of silence at Circus Queen, I’ll try to explain it, to myself as much as to you, in objects.

This is Friday’s spoil. It’s a pencil eyeliner by Barry M that I hunted down. I always have to go to at least two stores to find it in black. But it’s so worth it, with skin as oily as mine.

I spent the day up to my armpits in serotonin. I hadn’t had a proper day out in a while. SPD has made walking reasonable distances something I always pay for later and as my work becomes increasingly doable from home, I’ve less incentive to leave the house.

But after a little fight with myself over whether to go to a possibly mythical women’s group meeting at my church or to clean the kitchen, I was out and about. It ended up being a day of socialising, writing, lunching and shopping which did me more good than I could have predicted.

Imagine this space covered in rotten apples. Everywhere. I should have take a before picture, I suppose. I’d been meaning to pick the apples up since we moved in a month and a half ago but there was always an excuse. Laurence and I finally did it on Saturday.

After the life-rush of Friday, I had a crash looking around the mess that was our house. I’m not a tidy person by nature. I don’t see the point in folding laundry. But for whatever reason, I’d let things get particularly out of control last week. Carpets needed to be hoovered, floors mopped, dishes done, boxes unpacked rather than lived out of.

It’s not that I feel ‘homemaking’ is my primary responsibility as the woman in our relationship. If anything, that’s probably why I’m not better at taking it in hand. When I was growing up, I saw too many men watching television while their wives rushed about making nice with broom and stove. I knew I didn’t want the same for myself. I also feel it’s important for both partners to take ownership of the home by being involved in caring for it.

At the same time, as the one who’s home most often and therefore has more opportunity to sort things out, I feel guilty when it all goes awry. Laurence doesn’t see it that way. He always reminds me that though he goes out to the office, a day spent writing in the spare room is equally work.

Still, as is often the way, I let my upset about my apparent ‘failure’ connect itself to much larger themes in my mind. Mothers are tidy, or at least clean, aren’t they? Will I be a good mother? You can see where this is going.

By the time it was lights out, I’d worked myself into a state of stress that carried well into the next day. It culminated in the fear, guilt and rage that left me paralysed on the garden porch.

I couldn’t tell Laurence what was wrong. I didn’t even understand it myself. I couldn’t talk to God. I had no words. So Laurence wisely left me alone and let me do the only thing I felt I could. Cry.

When the tears were gone, we got our garden gloves and together we picked up the apples. For the first time, I appreciated how we’ve come to know each other. We don’t really need to explain our frailer bits anymore.

I asked him last night if he ever feels like he lives with a child. It seems I crack at some point every other week. He said he likes feeling needed. I suggested he should start crying too so the roles could be reversed, at which he laughed and mock-cried.

“Do I cry more now, since I’ve been pregnant?” I asked. He shrugged. “I don’t remember how much you used to cry,” he replied. It’s strange how time can make just about anything normal.

This is the jewelry board I’ve been meaning to put together for the past four years. An ex-boyfriend suggested I do this and I was instantly offended. Was he saying that I was messy? Well, I am, but was he saying it? Was he trying to change me?

It’s taken me all this time to get over my self-righteousness and stop procrastinating. But here it is, made with cardboard from the box something or other got delivered in and tacked to the inside of our wardrobe last night.

It’s a little thing, I know, but every pair (and lonely only) reminds me of someone I love and displaying them not only makes me more likely wear them but it feels like a small step of progress in the ‘taking care of life’ department. It’s a simple reminder that growth takes time.

Please excuse the bad photography. I’m not feeling particularly techie this morning.

[she/her] • writer • unschooler • team Soul Farm • Revillaging podcast • breastfeeding counsellor • Trinidadian in Cornwall

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  • Hello Adele…. its Jacqui here from small group. After meeting you finally on Sunday I was intrigued about your writing and saw your blog link on the email and I love it!

    Being a creative ahem(very messy person myself haha!) I loved this made me feel better about my self and then to see your jewellery board was the icing on the cake as i did the same thing a few years ago and was very proud of myself and now the contents of it mostly sits in a mess next to it! Haha

    So yes brilliant, honest writing… Thank you Adele made me smile xx

  • I’m not a great ‘cleaner’ either, although I do insist that things go back where they’re from once they’re done with…it’s just less tidying up. With a child around, cleaning has become even less of a priority, particularly since she has stopped eating off the floors 😉
    We do insist, toys get put away before the next game gets started…minimal mess.
    I was very very emotional pregnant, that said, I still get frustrated every now and then, a good cry often seems therapeutic. Love the jewellery board!

    • I want to believe that I’ll get better at being organised when the creature’s here…putting things back is still something I’m learning. Yes, there’s something almost enjoyable about a good cry.