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9:12 AM

Everyone's a Cinderella 1

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

We all do it, everyone does it. Some do it more than others but we all do it.
Cleaning.
Anytime you get people especially women together they spend a lot of time talking about this subject. Whether it's cleaning yourself, your home, your car, your garden, your family....everybody cleans.

It is one of my personal flaws that I struggle daily with to better.
My biological mother is the messiest person I know. When I was 16 and got my driver's licence I went and drove to her house to see her again. When I arrived I was shocked by what I found. I was always told how messy she was and I remember as a child boxes and crates and trash bags everywhere filled with things, but as a child we don't notice the normal as being bad.
So when I stepped out of my truck I wasn't sure if anyone lived in this dump. I asked the neighbor with his sparking garden and white fence if she lived there and he was all ready to talk about her but I wasn't there to see him. SO I walked tentatively up to the chicken wire fence. dog bowls and toys were scattered in the first quarter of the walled off yard so I avoided that side. The other side of the yard was blocked off by an old car that looked like it hadn't been used in years. I found the closure tabs on the wire and began to undo them and roll it back so I could gain access when a woman comes yelling from the window of the house "Get back, you can't do that you can't trespass!" I recognised her right away and called back, "Hi (name), it's me you're daughter. I've just come to visit you, can I come in?" She looked dazed and confused for about two minutes then suddenly she began rushing around to get her dogs under control and tie up a nasty mean dog she has (which is what the chicken wire was caging). Finally she looked me over and was happy to see me......blah blah blah we met and chatted about life and such out by the dusty car.....then she invited me in. I was looking at her backyard with new eyes that saw what no child understands. Junk was fence to fence in the back yard just a swath large enough for a trailer/car to get through. It came about shoulder high to me (I'm 5'7" /170cm). I saw old baby toys that were most probably mine as a child and when i asked her about it she said You never know when someone might want to visit and has children. I thought these toys were not fit to be used by a dog at this point much less children but didn't say anything. We went inside and the dishes were clean but nothing else was. It was a two room house (one bedroom, one living room) and to get to the bedroom you literally had to wind your way through junk piled to the ceiling. It was like a junk jungle. Some places it was a tight squeeze for me (since i was "bigger" than her) but we got back to the bedroom and at least the bed was made and not full of things. She showed me pictures of us kids long ago and we chatted more. As we went back out I saw the pieces of 5 computers (at least 5 years older and ancient) sitting around and asked about it since i wasn't aware that she was techno savvy. She said she's saving them so that when all of us kids come to live with her again she can have us use them. I said riiiight...and moved along. Wound my way back to the outside where I could feel less cramped and invited her for dinner. I drove.

The point of this story is to show a standard of cleanliness which is far below average. This is my roots and where I come from. As a child this was normal for me. I was always messy and procrastinator and my Dad and his wife (my mom but not biological) had to always nag me to clean my room and some days I had a path through my room just to get to my closet. It took me a very long time to learn how to clean better. Though if I wanted to go somewhere special or my friends would come over I would super clean super fast and everything would be fine. My secret messiness wouldn't be known too much.
When I moved out into my own house it stayed clean for about a month. Then slowly (since i had no visitors) things got worse and worse and I was looking for jobs and was depressed and having issues with meeting my fiance so cleaning wasn't at the top of my menu. After a half a year I got a roommate and we moved to a new house which I kept up a little better (with her help and sometimes nagging). Depression got worse and life got more stressed because I got a job where I was working literally all the time. My roommate said once (just before I got the job) "You're a terrible housewife. I'm being the man and bringing home the bacon and when i get here I want to relax and enjoy my house not have to clean it more. Get off your A** and start making it nice." I did take her kind words to heart and cleaned more. My room was still a disaster though. Eventually came the time for me to move to Lebanon. I packed up my most important clothes and things and left the rest with my roommate (who was a darling to get rid of everything she didn't want).
When I got to Lebanon I stayed with my in-laws in their mountain house. I had one room to call my own (with my husband of course) and I set up "house". Daily I didn't make my bed, bi-weekly I didn't sweep my floors, though I didn't have junk to pile up, the things I did have in my closet I didn't do anything with them. My mother-in-law offered to do our laundry with hers so that worked well for me not to have to do anything. So I spent most of my days writing or trying to find privacy and quiet in a crowded house. They thought I was some weird recluse for always wanting to be alone. I knew nothing about the Arab culture and found the life tedious at first. Always cooking and cleaning and sitting together and eating together. Then my mother-in-law was quite fed up and so was my husband. They laid it out clearly for me that I was being a bad wife and daughter-in-law not to help more. I explained my upbringing a bit and my whole ADD issue (not that that excuses me to be lazy) and they understood a little more. From that day on began my great struggle with cleaning Arab style......

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