swamp demon cleans up: the before

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i mentioned i was coming to vancouver for a bit to visit my husband.

i didn’t mention that it’s an essential visit or why, because i wanted to keep it private. i was embarrassed.

but, you know. my whole thing is that i should embarrass myself first before someone else can get a chance. then i can’t really be embarrassed.

well, no, i can. but it hurts less.

maybe? maybe eventually it will hurt less?

the truth is i’ve spent my life being easily embarrassed and feeling absolutely sick to my stomach when i am. i am highly sensitive when it comes to embarrassment. maybe it’s being an introvert. maybe it’s trauma.

but it’s fucking annoying.

so i wanna break through to the other side, where i reach a sort of zen state of embarrassment that it doesn’t hurt anymore. where i’m so embarrassed, i can’t get more embarrassed.

(drink every time i use a form of the word embarrass. no, don’t, you’ll die.)

i wanna be shameless. i wanna live free of shame.

building a fraggle rock (easier than it seems)

here’s a harsh truth: when you’re sick it’s really hard to keep the house clean.

the second part of that: a dirty house is not conducive to healing.

mr. katje and i have been living in a horrendously messy house for 6 years now. if i tell the story of all the reasons why it’s messy, this blog post will go on for three years.

and, you know, it doesn’t matter. our house being messy doesn’t make us bad people. it’s just something that happened, that i’ve been trying to fix for approximately forever.

mr. katje is not good at cleaning up. this is okay. not everyone is. but it does mean that mess quickly becomes unmanageable in a house that’s already made messy by my own chronic illness and trauma responses.

(like i said, big blog post.)

he also says he doesn’t care about how messy a house is. maybe this is true. i’m not going to interrogate that right now. but regardless? the messy house causes stress for us both — if only because he’s stressed about how stressed i’m going to be about the mess.

as katje flits between two towns, taking care of two households and two loved ones fighting sickness, and wonders if zie should buy stock in BC ferries

we both have chronic illness issues, and earlier this month he ended up in the ER with scary symptoms. he got sent home with a supposed clean bill of cardiac health, but he does have a cardio referral so they will investigate further.

as you can imagine, i was a complete wreck, helpless in powell river, while the person i love more than the universe was going to the hospital to figure out if he was going to get hit with a widowmaker heart attack.

so i made plans to come down as soon as my 2 weeks of work were over. i wanted to look after him, check on his health, and…help clean up the house.

i’ll feel a lot better about leaving him again for PR if i can get the house to a state where he can just do basic daily maintenance.

(and no, i can’t leave it for him to do, and he can’t manage it himself. he’s an essential worker working 40 hours a week while battling some pretty serious health issues. he needs my help.)

decluttering trash mountain

do you read A Slob Comes Clean? it’s a blog about decluttering and cleaning by Dana White. (she also has books out now.)

i find the blog pretty inspiring and i am part of her newsletter. it’s a recent email that’s inspired me to write this post.

in the email she talked about “before and better” photos. not before and after, because that implies that there’s a state of perfection you can reach. before and better — you can make progress, and feel proud of it. you can make it better.

and the power of a before picture is that you’ll be able to see exactly how much you can accomplish in a short period of time.

and finally, we reach the point of this post: before pics of my house.

i want to be completely honest about my life, and i want to hold myself accountable to my commitments. posting about them publicly helps with that.

so here are some galleries of a bunch of before photos i snapped today. (they’re not “true” before photos because it’s tuesday the 19th and i arrived here on friday the 15th, but trust me, very little cleaning has happened.)

these photos are…well, graphic. my mom will find them upsetting. i find them upsetting. i find the thought of sharing them upsetting.

but i also get so tired of seeing nothing but perfectly staged households in people’s instagram feeds. or a living room with perhaps three things out of place and a comment about how it’s “so messy”.

those photos make me feel like shit. so i’m sharing my messy, swamp demon swamp photos, so that other swamp demons won’t have to feel so alone and shitty amid a sea of perfectly-cultivated online lives.

swamp demon solidarity, yo

the kitchen

the living and laundry room (which is a closet)

the main bedroom and the office which is also my bedroom

the bathroom, which i honestly didn’t even want to share and now i feel like dying, don’t look at me

crawling into a hole now

no, i’m not. i’m going to go clean now. BUT I AM SO EMBARRASSED RIGHT NOW I WANT TO DIE, GUYS

anyway. the goal is to get this place to livable swamp demon standards. (yes we have standards.)

so i may be here longer than 10 days total. in fact it’s very likely.

i’ll hopefully see you in a few days with better pictures.

i love you. 

3 thoughts on “swamp demon cleans up: the before

  1. Crystal M. Trulove

    When you get some stuff out of there, It’s gonna feel SO GOOD! I got excited about the shelves in your place (which is really nice btw. I mean. Underneath.) because the shelves are not very full and that means you have places to put things. Yay!! Anyway, you are so brave and beautiful and I’m so proud of you, confronting those mean voices in your head and battling them in a healthy way.

    1. Katje Post author

      thank you love! i did make progress, though not as much as i wanted to, but regardless it did feel really good! we even agreed to declutter some stuff and mr katje has started decluttering his own stuff. so those are BIG steps.

      i miss you muchly, my friend. big hugs. <3

      1. Crystal M. Trulove

        <3 Aww. Muchly back too. Recently Facebook was sending Mads and me all our travel photos as memories from our amazingly fun road trip that spring, and we reminisced and talked about our meeting with you. 🙂 I wish I had not been so exhausted that evening, and had a chance to stay with you longer.

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