Years ago I took four months off and traveled around Australia. Sort of a delayed gap year, the sort of trip I should have taken after high school but finally set out for one and a half years after graduating university.
A friend and I decided to escape our lives. I needed an out from the small town I was desperately resisting falling in love with, biting and scratching at the familiarity of its inhabitants, the self-imposed confines of my life.
We set out with full backpacks and came back completely different people. Away from my family and my then-boyfriend (now-husband) I became someone else. Leafing through the journal I kept during the trip I am struck by a list hastily scrawled in the back pages: Things I Learned in Australia. #4: Messy is more interesting.
There seem to be two popular archetypes in popular culture, the messy, creative, wild bohemian (read: irresistible and interesting) and her opposite; compulsively organized, neat, punctual (read: boring and bad in bed). I think about this often. I thought of it when I was the last person in the world to watch Black Swan last night. I am engulfed by it when I visit my younger sisters, who live this delicious, sink-your-toes-in-and-wiggle existence, flying by the seat of their pants as I play the mom, worrying and fretting. It makes my heart hurt as I try desperately to let go, go with it, try and bite off a little of their juicy lives for my own.
I thought of this today as I swept, arranged and tidied our home. At times I feel as though I am fighting a battle within myself about which archetype to identify with, to embrace. I so desperately want to be the wild bohemian, I genuinely want to be flexible and spontaneous and accepting. I want to not give a damn, to embrace those sickening coasters that proclaim “Dance As If Nobody’s Watching”. Yet something in my inner nature finds it impossible not to plan, to colour-coordinate, file and sub-file my life into categories. Impossible not to worry about the neighbours when I crank the music, impossible not to be painfully aware that people are watching and what will they think?!
I stop and look at my white furniture, my bookshelf arranged by genre. I note how my hands twitch when I see disorder, how my heart races when I don’t pay my visa off in full. I think I am losing the battle.
Is there beauty in boring? If I’m predictable and sensible am I doomed to beige? Are there no redeeming qualities, save being that boner-killing word, dependable?
Deep inside I think this is why I married Adam. He lends me some street cred. With him my house will never be clean, my life will never be boring. Right now one of the rooms in our house has undergone a guerrilla takeover and been transformed into a “Media Cave” featuring two computers, five screens and our old mattress lying on the floor. It’s hideous, it’s embarrassing. It looks like a flophouse. It’s just what I need to keep me from fading into the background completely.