I peeled an orange the other day. The skin was thick and difficult to remove, which meant I unintentionally squished the fruit inside, repeatedly plunging my fingers into the flesh and each time muttering “goddamn it.” In short, I made a mess. I still ate the orange, the bright citrus tang on my tongue, but it wasn’t pretty. Sweet sticky juice ran down my chin as I stuck my fingers in my own mouth, removing the sneaky seeds that got past my security system (my eyes and my hands). I laughed at myself and how ungraceful I was, standing there leaning over the kitchen counter dripping bits of orange everywhere, and later I thought it was perfectly appropriate, the way I peeled and ate that orange. I was impatient, messy, undignified. Exactly the way I live my life.
I don’t say this with shame. I am more than impatient, messy, and undignified. And, I need messy. Sure, I should clean my house more and I am certainly messy on a surface level, but I’m talking about the messiness of a life worth living. Relationships, parenting, constant questioning, overwhelming curiosity, debilitating emotions, the awkwardness I feel in social situations that require small talk, having to make a decision about anything, the very state of my mind. It’s all messy. Some days I long for a clean and sterile mind (and home). A mind with a place for things. A mind always sure of its assessments and decisions. A mind that doesn’t cause me pain. But other days that sounds boring as hell. Other days I savor the mess like the sweet sticky juice of a freshly, badly peeled orange. I embrace the mess. On those days, I find the beauty in my impatient, messy, undignified mind. On those days, I find the beauty in myself.