I’m exhausted. I want to review this book like any other book—with sense, detail, and maybe a little wit—but I’m too tired and too sad to say much more than: this is a great, great book. It’s been recommended highly by Emmalita (see awesome review here) and it sounded like the right book at the right time for me. How to Keep House While Drowning: 31 Days of Compassionate Help by KC Davis is about combatting shame and judgment around taking care of your space. You can feel her compassion come off the page, as well as her understanding that we deserve to treat ourselves gently with radical acceptance (a term I learned in a dialectical behavioral group some years ago). This passage particularly struck me:
You may tell yourself “if I could just get better at this I wouldn’t hate myself so much.” But you’ve got it the wrong way around. You deserve love and compassion regardless of your level of functioning. True skill building can only happen in an atmosphere of profound self-compassion and gentleness.
I don’t deal with anything that others don’t also deal with. I’m not unique. But the things I struggle with feel very isolating. I don’t care for myself or my home, which leads me to isolate further from others, to which I respond by neglecting myself and my surroundings. It’s a terrible cycle, and one I’ve looked at with harsh judgment. But if strugglecare (as Davis so beautifully puts it) is morally neutral, if it must be approached with care not punishment, then you can pause to reframe things in a more kind way. And through that kindness, it’s easier to make those small steps towards not only cleaning your space, but towards self love. It’s hard to see that amidst the chaos. They both feel like very hard things to do. Many years ago, I went to a therapist, and I talked about all the self destructive things I did. She would ask, “How is that working for you?” I’d say (not without humor): Not very fucking well at all.
The point is, if self castigation doesn’t work, then why not try something different? What do you have to lose except the things that have overstayed their welcome?