Should I really be cleaning?

If you want to be a writer, you should write.

That’s the general idea -people sometimes look smug or amused or irritated while they tell us just exactly what we should be doing to make everything in our lives suddenly turn around and fall into place. But the answers to life’s mysteries are rarely ever as simple as they appear to those who shrug off our complexities.

Here I am, for example, writing a blog on a beautiful sunny September afternoon which would be better spent riding a bike down a wooded trail. Millions of Americans around the country are posting patriotic remembrance memes on Facebook for 9/11. I’m struggling with a sense of guilt because there are so many things I should be doing, that I honestly couldn’t finish half of them if I had started first thing this morning and worked straight through until dark.

For one thing, we haven’t got the money to accomplish most of them -the front screen door is not closing correctly, the back screen door is gone, the washer’s busted, the cars are both in need of repair and have expired registration, the central air unit is rusted through and leaking, the bathtub faucet has a drip, the closet door is splintered and broken, the kids’ cieling has water stains, their wall has a large crack in it, the printer in my office is out of ink, the router is on it’s last leg, the van’s tire has a screw in it, my plants aren’t growing any fruit, the yard is dusty from drought and dogs, the weeds are overgrown, the deck planks are curling from not being treated enough, our laundry piles are growing unmanageable (no washer), our garage is full of junk we can’t haul to the scrapyard, our driveway is crumbling and has holes in it, there are still vent covers missing in the living room that we’ve meant to replace since we moved in 5 years ago, the light fixture in the dining room has only one functioning socket out of five, and the floors we were going to refinish this summer are still stained, cracked and waiting to be sanded.

How the hell do you clear your mind and write anything with all that weighing on your conscience? Beyond all those projects are the daily maintenance tasks that only get done sporadically when someone gets fed up or resigns themselves to spend the time.

This is my life now.

As I scrub toilets both at home and at work, I think about the ten years I’ve spent in college and the post graduate degree I’m pursuing. I still have to finish the one undergraduate course I’m enrolled in to get my actual bachelor’s degree in the mail. Because we have about $30 to last us from now until Friday, I can’t take our clothes to the laundromat and I’m still not sure how I’m going to drive the 35 miles to school and the same 35 miles home three more times this week with a quarter tank of gas.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth sacrificing the potential for a future career to just drop school and go get a factory job that will pay our bills. If I were to just give up on my dreams yet again, like I did in high school because I lacked the courage of my own convictions or like I did when I got pregnant the second time and lost my father and stopped caring about my own desires altogether -maybe it would make life a little bit easier for my family today.

Or maybe I should just write.



One thought on “Should I really be cleaning?

  1. You have made me feel better to know I am not the only one out there ready to give up the dream to pay the bills or who can’t find time to write because of all the other piddly-s**t that has to be done. Hang in there, Mary, and if you don’t write today, write tomorrow. I tell myself that all the time, so I know it is easy to say and hard to do. But one day we will both look back and know the struggle was worth the effort. ((Hugs))


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