So, there has been a lot of talk going on again on fat/fit shaming… time for me to break out my favourite technique: the analogy.
So, let’s say that your house is a lovely example of modern minimalistic decorating. White walls, tasteful art, wooden floors. You spend a lot of time keeping your house exactly the way you like it. You clean meticulously, vacuum daily and generally spend a lot of time keeping your house spic and span. Also, you feel rightfully proud of the work you put in and the way your house looks.
Now enter me, the chaotic guy with a thousand hobbies. My house tends to reflect my mind. I have books everywhere, my table often has a half-finished project on it and in general my house reflects the fact that I spend my time and effort on a lot of things other than interiour decorating. But… I am not a hoarder, my kitchen is clean and so is my bathroom. There are no food containers or dirty dishes. My house is chaotic but clean.
I’m sure everybody can see where I’m going with this. Is it bad for you to be proud of your house? Absolutely not! Is it bad for you to show off your house? Of course not, Instagram the hell out of it!
Is it bad for you to call me a slob? Yes! Should you impose your standard of housekeeping on me? Absolutely not. Should you tell me that I’m failing at life, need to clean up, that I’m ruining my health by living like this? Well, I’d respectfully disagree and point out my clean and functional (though chaotic) kitchen.
Of course, it would also be bad for me to call you an OCD neat freak or tell you that you are wasting your life cleaning. That’s not my business, and the effort you put into making your house look nice is valid. It’s just not more valid than the effort I put into other endeavors.
Also: be aware that this is not a level playing field. Society in general will look much more kindly on your neat house than my chaotic one. I will have to deal with prejuidice from people who assume that rodents are infesting my kitchen and new lifeforms are developing behind my couch. People who assume that I must be totally out of control and secretly want to live in a place like yours.
And yes, I’ll be honest: if I could afford a full-time cleaning staff then my house would look more like yours. But I personally don’t want to put my time and energy into that, and that is completely valid.
Now, let me finish off by an invitation: if in writing this post I have actually just completely showcased my own prejuidice, privilege or blind spots; please tell me. I’ll do my best to be thoughtful and gracious.