We hadn’t had our apartment cleaned in a few months because of Covid. Once the cases started rising again in Vancouver, we stopped.
I hate cleaning. Anything besides light cleaning makes me miserable. Which is why we had a cleaner in the first place.
So when the cases rose and we canceled her, it just didn’t get done.
I think I cleaned the bathrooms once, just because I felt like I should.
Last week, Jordan and I were walking down the street. I had just gotten back from my hotel stay, where I’d gone to finish out 2020.
I had been annoyed ever since I’d gotten home. But I didn’t really know why – I just knew I felt aggravated in general, irritated toward Jordan.
Jordan sensed it and asked what was up.
I traced it back, in my mind – I had been so happy leaving the hotel in the morning. What had bothered me?
I remembered walking back into our home. The floors marked with our footprints. Dust on parts of the table we don’t use. Food stains on the counter.
I remembered how my body had constricted – coming from the luxurious cleanliness of the hotel, back into our home.
Jordan had even tidied things – folded blankets, put things away, expecting me to be happy with his efforts. I struggled to praise him, because couldn’t he see? The home was still dirty.
There is a particular feeling that happens in my body when I have a desire but feel like I am not allowed to have it. It’s like a constriction around my solar plexus, pulling down, slowly suffocating.
There were many reasons I felt we could not get the house cleaned.
Cases were up and we shouldn’t have someone come in.
We are going to buy a house now so we should save money.
And the biggest one: I should be able to do it myself.
I named these to Jordan and he shook his head. He didn’t feel that way at all.
“Do you have a desire to get the house cleaned?” He asked me.
I could not say yes. Everything in my system closed up.
What is going on? I thought to myself, searching deeper in my body. It’s not really any of those reasons… what is it?
And then, finally, it hit me.
Jordan has not been quite as cautious around Covid as me. And we’ve had a few conversations the past couple months where we agreed not to see people unless we’re outside, where we agreed to wash and sanitize our hands more often – mostly because of my concerns.
I did not feel like I was allowed to ask for our cleaner to come back, while still getting to have Jordan listen to my concerns around the virus.
I had decided, internally, that I could not have both.
So I had decided to sacrifice myself for the sake of our perceived safety.
So then I got to resent Jordan for “making” us live in a dirty house.
(It’s so fun being a martyr, right?)
OH, I said, and we stopped walking, standing in the rain on the sidewalk.
“I have a desire to have the house cleaned AND I still want our other agreements to be taken seriously.”
Jordan smiled. “Done,” he said.
And just like that, my body opened.
It was never about not feeling comfortable with someone coming into our house. It was never about the money (Jordan pays for pretty much everything, making this an extra projected, unnecessary concern on my end). And it was never about me thinking I should be able to do it myself. Those were the logical reasons my mind came up with to rationalize why I thought I couldn’t have what I wanted.
Desire can be tricky in this way. Our minds will create so many stories around why we can’t have what we want – often to protect us from the real reason we believe we can’t have what we want.
It’s in the deepest, stickiest layer that the truth lies.
By that evening Jordan had scheduled our cleaner.
She came today and our home is spotless. There is such a sense of spaciousness, of ease.
I sometimes have to remind myself that I can have everything. Always.
And with true desire, everybody benefits. Jordan and I had a wonderful day, and are in a home that feels nice again. Our cleaner got paid. Everybody wins.