Room For Ruthie

Why do I always put things off until the very last minute?

My friend, Ruthie, is partially moving in with me. By “partially”, I mean she will live with me when she’s not off being a travel nurse — a job that steals her away for three months at a time.

Ruthie will be living in the other half of the floor I call my room. I sleep on the third floor of my house, which has this neat little division line created by the staircase. I will reside in one half (which I basically do, anyway, give or take the piles of crap I have on the other side), and Ruthie will take the other half.

Ruthie and I have been friends for 9 years now, and were briefly roommates 8 years ago. I’m excited to be her roommate again, even if it will be sporadic — hopefully, the good memories that we have, like diner runs and dressing up in Joker makeup, will continue to be had, along with some other hopefuls — she, in her recent pursuit of music, has already requested that we have random sing-alongs; something that I fully support.

BUT I’VE GOT TO CLEAN MY ROOM.

I’ve been on a cleaning spree all week, trying to actually get rid of things instead of just rearranging the current mess into another order of mess. I promised Ruthie that she could start moving her stuff in at the beginning of June, and am now having a panic attack at how soon that actually is. Given the work already put into it this week, the cleanliness of my room is significantly better than it’s ever been, I’ll say that much… though that isn’t really saying that much.

What I’ve noticed is that cleaning my room has a direct correlation with my life. I let things pile up and become forgotten in corners that I don’t regularly visit, until someone comes along and requests space. In either scenario, I should be more on top of things… If my room was already clean, then I wouldn’t stress out about getting it done before Ruthie moves in; and in life, it is better to have cleaned out the clutter before you embark on a new adventure.

That’s easier said than done. Sometimes messes happen even as you try to clean it up and make it presentable, and what’s more, sometimes those messes cripple you, preventing you from inviting friends over in the first place. I’m beginning to realize that sometimes I make the bad decision of jumping to play host even when I’m not ready. And while no one ever actually got offended by a little mess (though we all make it a point to apologize for it, regardless), it’s probably not wise to invite someone in if they have to wade through the clutter.

After I accomplish the Clean Room Project, I want to work on keeping my room (read: life) in order. Maintaining a healthy relationship with your vacuum (read: brain) is a concept that I have often struggled with, and I will probably continue to struggle with. But for Ruthie… Damn it all, I’ll give it a try.

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Turning Over Stones

There is a game I like to play when I have the down time and am feeling particularly creative.

I will go and sit in a public place and people-watch — I’ll think about what that woman with the glasses and the limp is thinking, what she did today; what that man with the beard and leather jacket’s family is like and what he likes to do for fun. Sometimes I’ll write these things down, and the people that I think them to be then begin to develop in my head and become characters — when, moments ago, they were just passersby, now I am beginning to get to know them.

But I don’t really know them, do I? As much as I whittle them into poetic people, craftmanship of my own design, that isn’t who they really are. The truth is, sometimes the passerby is a mystery. I am imagining what is under the stone without actually overturning it. I can only be so accurate in these imaginings, and at times I wonder if my attempt to stimulate my creativity can simultaneously be harmful in my connecting with my surroundings.

This dilemma doesn’t just arise with strangers. Sometimes we think we know a person, and we expect them to live up to who we have built them up to be in our minds, but we don’t realize that we have drastically missed the target — that they are nowhere close to what we perceive them to be. Maybe they have more self-doubt than we realize; or more anger; or more passion. Maybe their quiet demeanor is masking their inquisitiveness, their creativity, their stubbornness; or maybe their stubbornness is masking their exhaustion, their kindliness, their loneliness.

Maybe they are more content with life than they appear; or maybe they harbor more hurt than we could ever possibly imagine.

Most people tend to skip over the true beauty of friendship. It’s not just about the surface interactions; you can judge someone by the casual conversation they hold, but oftentimes that is not a true depiction of who they are. And that is the beauty of friendship: getting to know someone — truly getting to know them, after the introductions and the pleasantries — even if it means you see their underbelly. We go through life understanding that we have more than one dimension, but are so quick to assume that that’s all others have.

The world is a strange, unfamiliar place, and we must resign ourselves to walking through it, turning over stone by stone as we come to them. It is imperative that we never believe that we fully understand the fluctuating nature of society, or the people within it… but also that we never stop trying to understand it. Whether it is joy that we find in getting to know someone, or pain in trying… It is them. That is who they are. With all their blemishes and faults, they are still walking on the same earth that you walk on. They are still crying out for someone to want to know them. They may cry differently than you or I, and they may have a different way of dealing with life, but they are there. And sometimes that is all a person has.

She Thinks Too Much (She, Part Two)

I’ve been in a poetry mood lately, guys.

She thinks too much.
She philosophizes and soliloquizes,
and when nobody’s looking,
she writes things down.
She analyzes
both what she does and what is done to her,
and she chastises herself for the majority of it —
but then she stops.

She realizes that the vast size
of her responsibility has been elephantized
to the point of disjointed reality,
and she then tries to organize
her guilt into her new frame of reference:
I am me.

I am me.
I am who I aim to be.
And if my aim is the same as what they want me to be,
Then there is no harm.
But if they want from me what is not me,
Then theirs is the shame, for I am the same.

And in her eyes,
To internalize the external pressure
Would be to compromise her soul.
And this would be the demise of her hold
On life, on love, on the pieces of herself that make her
imageHer.
Herself.
Her heart, her voice, her body.
Her.
Hers.

But they tell her otherwise:
You are a prize
(not the winner, nor even in the game).
This enterprise, built by lies,
Still surprises her today.
They tell her,
You think too much.