I am Ashamed

Dusty Lamp

I’m ashamed. Ashamed of the dust. Ashamed of the clutter. Ashamed that I do not, that somehow I cannot, bring myself to keep my house clean.

This afternoon, as I sat working at our dining room table, my husband just touched the dusty lamp above me, and I started coughing, choking, asthmatic that I am.

My son suffers with eczema, with asthma, as do I. Still I leave the dust undisturbed, afraid of another asthma attack.

Too ashamed to ask for help. Too ashamed to hire help. Too ashamed to let anyone in. Too overwhelmed to attack the job myself.

Now my husband Nick chokes and coughs himself, as he cleans the lamp of its dust. Thank you, Nick, for all that you do.

42 thoughts on “I am Ashamed

  1. Jess Melancholia November 1, 2015 / 7:26 pm

    I can completely relate. You are doing an amazing job and the best that you can and it’s OK when you feel tired or overwhelmed. I find it hard when I have the drive to cook and clean and my husband has to pitch in to help but he always tells me I’m doing a great job and that he doesn’t mind helping. Thanks for posting this. I think we all have those moments more often than we care to admit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Grief Happens November 1, 2015 / 6:11 pm

    Hiring a cleaner was the best decision ever!!! In fact, I need to get on that now. We moved, so I don’t have anyone on speed-dial, but seriously, they do not care!! I felt like 50 pounds of stress were lifted the first time my house was cleaned. You deserve it! It will be uncomfortable for a few minutes, and then you leave them to clean, come back, only to feel so much better! I understand, though. I HATE cleaning, but I hate even more the guilt I feel
    because we live in a filthy house.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. bipolarfirst November 1, 2015 / 4:54 pm

    I was actually JUST thinking to myself that I would be a happier person if I could just let it go…just get off my back about the mess. I simply am not interested in living the kind of life/doing the kind of work it would take for the house to be gorgeous tidy all of the time.

    It would be all of the time ALL of the TIME and I didn’t sign up for that.

    and yet it always bothers me.

    So i have to learn to make peace with it somehow.

    Like other posters said…..

    you are doing much more important things than dusting. MUCH.

    not to invalidate your feelings because the thing is that it actually DOES feel better when the house is clean….

    but is the pursuit and clean house worth what is sacrificed to obtain it.

    I am sure that health issues make the issue different because obviously there are somethings that we do just need to do.

    One step above squalor. That’s my goal! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 1, 2015 / 5:01 pm

      No cockroaches. The health department would have no complaints (I hope).


  4. Susan November 1, 2015 / 4:39 pm

    Kitt, I completely understand. I have learned to become with the dust. I just don’t do it…well maybe twice a year. 😉 Actually, a friend of mine and I walk 3 days/week. Two of those days, we will each pick a room in our homes and we will clean after we walk. It’s great! Neither of us care what each other’s house looks like so we don’t judge each other and we get help cleaning. Maybe that could be an option for you? I also agree with Sheila. You are so much more than the dust in your home. My motto is “If you complain about the mess in my house, I’ll point you to the cleaning supplies” 🙂 My mother-in-law has been very quiet. (She is a wonderful woman.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 1, 2015 / 4:41 pm

      I love that you walk with a friend and help each other out. I would love such a set-up, but do not have such a friend nearby (that I know of).


  5. hirundine608 November 1, 2015 / 4:32 pm

    Hmmm, interesting! I am currently a twice divorced man living alone. I have lived by myself for about 13 going on 14 years, now. Prior to living alone, i used to do housework. Living solo means now there is only one person to do the chores … so guess who does them? Am I obsessive? No … but I can be. I try not to be.

    I was lucky enough not to have any sort of metal illness or problems. Yet it seems we’re all crazy to one degree or another? That’s what it seems, when diagnosing the human race.

    I can understand the allergies. For my ex. had them. Others, close, had them too. The question for me is? If the dust causes allergies, or rather if the dust excites those allergies? Why not deal with the problem before it becomes the real problem? With an efficient mask and gloves, etc?

    I really wondered about my ex. For in the last three years of our married life and someone who had become allergic to cats and their hair. Why would you go out and get three more cats after the last had died? Don’t even try to answer, it’s rhetorical.

    I was going to say how much this reminded me of a man who named himself Quentin Crisp. An Englishman in New York. While he lived in England, he write a book called “The Naked Civil Servant”. Not a great literary work but an amusing anecdotal account of his life, as a homosexual man in the mid-twentieth century. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quentin_Crisp

    He is renowned for saying …. in 1940 he moved into the bed-sitting room he would occupy for over four decades, the first floor apartment at 129 Beaufort Street. Here he stayed until he emigrated to the United States in 1981. In the intervening years he never attempted any housework, saying famously in his memoir: “After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse”.[4]

    A woman I worked with. was fond of quoting it too. So there is little need for shame. Just embrace who you are and keep it in reserve? Maybe?

    Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 1, 2015 / 4:38 pm

      Love the quote, Jamie. I do have gloves and dust masks. Having the proper equipment doesn’t mean I actually get around to using it.


  6. Just Plain Ol' Vic November 1, 2015 / 4:30 pm

    I have come to accept some of the clutter in our house, despite my OCD. The dust and the “poof balls” from the dog are the worst, but in the scheme of things at least we have a house and things to get dusty!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. bpnurse November 1, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    So sorry you’re feeling down. But like Sheila said, there are much more important things than dusting. I’m also sorry your asthma is flaring up; mine is too. Must be the dust in my house too…we’re remodeling the kitchen and the whole place is a mess.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley November 1, 2015 / 4:28 pm

      Remodeling is the worst! Drywall dust is insidious. We still have things in boxes from when we installed hardwood floors.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. dyane November 1, 2015 / 2:36 pm

    I feel the same way about our place; it’s gross/dusty and I’ll admit it here despite feeling scared as this is simply revolting- there are RAT FECES in numerous places. We are working on ridding the house of the rats as humanely as possible, but it will take some more time. Is that disgusting or what? Lucy couldn’t care less about the rats, by the way! But get a neighbor’s cat near here (she can spot them through our windows) and it sounds like a scene from the “The Exorcist” around here.

    We’re having our very first professional babysitter in SEVEN years come watch the girls this month so we can go out to dinner. Part of me wants to clean before she shows up, but during the interview she admitted that her house is very messy too.And we noticed that too when we snooped on her Facebook page! :0000 Yep. We did that. I’m really admitting everything on your blog today – what next?

    Apart from that, I’d like to give you sincere permission to hire help despite your deep-seated shame. A year ago I hired a lovely husband/wife team who spent several hours doing a one-time deep clean only because my Mom would be visiting the house for a day.

    I was VERY VERY embarrassed to have these strangers see how dusty, dirty and yucky my house was, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t tell you how good it felt to have the house clean. (That was before the rats came.) At least for a short while after! 😉

    They offered to do a monthly service for $100 a month, but our finances didn’t allow it. No pressure, but just think about it my dear friend. And I’m so, so glad you have a good guy – he really is.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley November 1, 2015 / 4:27 pm

      $100/month is a DEAL! You need a cat. Or an exterminator. We have rats in our backyard and have had them in the garage. When we had a cat – no rats. But we had to rehome the cat because he marked inside the neighbors’ garage and their sports car. The cat was not an inside cat and hated our dogs. Trees and forest and landscaped hillsides are havens for rats.


      • Kitt O'Malley November 1, 2015 / 5:02 pm

        Too bad I’m allergic to cats. They are GREAT for rat and mice control. Even if the cat doesn’t hunt, the rodents stay away from its scent.


      • dyane November 1, 2015 / 5:28 pm

        I’m sorry about your mice problem, my sweet. That SUCKS. I know the rats are sentient beings (mice too) but they TOTALLY gross me out. I used to have a mice problem a long time ago when I lived in a studio. I forgot what method I used to get rid of them, (I tried to be humane but that sounds so wimpy…) but they wound up crawling into my clothing drawers, and dying in between my clothes. SOOOOOOOOO GRRRRROOOOOSSSSS!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Linda Lee November 1, 2015 / 2:35 pm

    THANK YOU for being courageous enough to write this post and share this picture!!!!

    My house is like this, too. My shame eats away at me, too. Ditto the asthma and allergjes… coughing sneezing wheezing runny eyes, runny nose.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 1, 2015 / 4:23 pm

      Catch-22 isn’t it? If you clean, you have asthma and allergies. If you don’t, same.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sheila North November 1, 2015 / 2:21 pm

    Don’t be: there is so much more to life than dusting. Yes, my house is cluttered too, and dusty.

    Most of the time, I just don’t think about it. You do valuable work as a mental health campaigner: surely much more worthwhile than dusting.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kitt O'Malley November 1, 2015 / 4:22 pm

      Thank you, Sheila. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.


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