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COMMENTARY

Talk about those dirty kitchens and life messes

Posted on April 29, 2021

OpinionColumnsLife

LaMonique Hamilton

LaMonique Hamilton

In a world of differing opinions and lived experiences, the one thing we have in common is our imperfect humanity. So why is it so hard for us to talk freely about our failures and shortcomings? Why do we not talk about what we have to give up to achieve the success we happily promote?

Perhaps I was overthinking things a few days ago while looking at the wreck of craziness in my kitchen. I’ve been known to wax philosophical over the mundane, and a dirty kitchen falls squarely in that category. The idea of adding “clean kitchen” to my already long to-do list completely overwhelms me.

I’ve been productive over the past few weeks. There’s never a shortage of work in my job, and I’m making significant headway in my personal projects. These are the things I promote. These are the things that make me outwardly look like I might have my stuff together. But I know my kitchen is a mess.

I know this may not be everyone’s story. Some of you would never dream of having a dirty kitchen. And I can’t explain how the kitchen gets so crazy when I’m not cooking, because I only cook in a clean kitchen. It’s our central hub when we come in the house. The clutter collects quickly.

But I’m sure there’s something in your life that, despite your best attempts, remains a bit on the crazy side. Something your inner critic shames you about endlessly. There are some things that we gloss over as we openly discuss our latest victory.

I think we should talk more about those things. When we do, we often find that we’re more alike than different. Yes, we should get excited about our hard-fought victories, but when we only share our highlight reels, we lose a bit of our accessibility, our shared humanity.

Unfortunately, when we fail to talk about our dirty kitchens or our mess in general, there are people who are struggling, barely hanging on who are comparing the mess they see in their real lives to the imagined spotlessness that we post. Sharing our mess frees us and encourages others. It may be just what they need to keep fighting another day.

And we do keep fighting. I’m not content with maintaining a messy kitchen or a messy life. I want to find solutions to my problems and issues. But I know the biggest obstacle in problem solving is admitting there’s a problem.

Believe me, there is understanding on the other side of admitting our messiness, our mistakes, our missteps. We are all navigating this imperfect life the best way we know how. There is plenty of encouragement and people who are rooting for us — not the polished version that we want to show, but the real, behind-the-scenes, outtake version that makes us human.

We are more than our mess, but our mess is definitely a part of what makes us who we are. We are more than our struggles, but overcoming those struggles makes us stronger.

We are a beautiful mix of mess and message, discord and harmony.

We are not perfect, but we are good enough.   

LaMonique Hamilton is a Wilson resident and former Times reporter and copy editor. She is the national deputy director of communications for Repairers of the Breach and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and blogs about arts and culture at iamlamonique.com.

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