I am a messy person. Or I guess, I was a messy person. I was very messy the first 18 years of my life, when I still lived at home with my family. We have a family of four, my mom, my dad, and my sister who is three years younger than me. If you step into our household, you will most likely hear my mom shouting at us above the noises of daily life.
“JULIA have you done your laundry?”
“Why is the bed unmade???”
“When will you ever learn to CLEAN YOUR ROOM?”
Of course, just like every other teenager, I found these requirements to clean and wash and tidy things up extremely annoying. I delighted myself in maintaining the messy state of my room just to spite my mom. (Un?)fortunately, oftentimes after I came back to my room after a day of class, I found that my room had been cleaned and all my dirty clothes tossed into the washing machine while I was gone. While calling out to my mom to tell her not to clean it anymore because every time she cleans she misplaces things and I cease to know where things are and it becomes extremely annoying when I need them because even though things were messy they had their order which only I knew, I secretly enjoyed how much more convenient life became after my room and my clothes were clean again.
Fast forward to the day I moved into my university dorm, I was so happy that I would be able to take control of my life again. Finally I would be able to intentionally not make my bed and not do my laundry until I ran out of clothes to wear. However, whenever I toss another dirty piece of clothing into my laundry basket, watching it pile up progressively, I would hear my mom’s voice at the back of my head, telling me to wash them. The voice would keep nagging at me until I admit defeat, taking my laundry basket to the laundry room and washing my clothes. Slowly and quietly, it became a habit for me to clean my clothes and my bed regularly. One morning I woke up, got out of bed and the first thing I did was to arrange the sheets. At that moment, I realized I had become my mom.
And I am proud of it.
And hey, I guess some habits do stick with you. I finally learned to do laundry by myself when my mom was no longer there to nag at me and remind me. When she was there, I was entitled to not care about it because there was someone that loved and cared for me. It is such a privilege to not think about doing your own laundry. It is a privilege that my mom gave me, which I should by no means take for granted.
Right now my mom and I are oceans apart. But when I go back home, I want to do the same things for her, to tell her that I care about her, and she is extremely precious to me.