One day I felt a nudge.
It felt like the nudge said “make your bed.”
This seemed very unimportant so I ignored it because tucking and smoothing sheets had never been at the top of my morning to-do list.
Over the next few years my friend Melissa would come to my house, and for some reason always ended up in my bedroom. I don’t know why this happened with such precise regularity, or rather I do, since if I need to learn an important lesson, situations present themselves over and over until I decide to play along. Which is the only way I can explain why the powder room toilet would get plugged exactly at the time Melissa was over, forcing her to use my master bath. Or why I’d run out of tissues in the living room at the same time Melissa would have a sneeze fest and need the Kleenex I kept on my bedside table. It didn’t matter the reason, somehow, someway, she would find herself there and make fun of me for my unmade bed…Which is a dick move for a friend.
I mean, really.
I told her I made it sometimes, just not ever on the days she came over.
And it was true.
I had started paying attention to the nudges and making the bed an average of three times a week, which was a huge upgrade from never. And I felt good about this.
The problem was, Melissa never came over on those days. So, I upped my game and worked myself up to about five days a week, taking weekends off, naturally. Sunday is a day of REST, not a day of making beds, I told myself.
But then life upped it’s game and suddenly, I had multiple people knocking on my door each weekend who would, for some reason, need to get into my room to fix something, or gain access to a dish outside my bedroom window or fix the master bedroom carpet. The reasons were plenty and excessive. We were moving and inspections and fixes were going on and so it made sense. My husband never told me when these things were scheduled because I never paid attention anyway, but I promise you the rate at which plumbers, painters, construction workers and even firemen were showing up in my bedroom was alarming.
And firemen showing up in your bedroom should be a happy thing. Unless you are me of course, because I’m married and why on earth would I think it happy to have firemen showing up in my bedroom? I wouldn’t. Thats what I’m trying to tell you. In theory it’s exciting. Gosh, stop trying to make me look bad.
Finally, after I thought the inspections were over and I was safe, there was another knock on my door. This guy combed through the whole house looking for what he needed before realizing it had to be in the master bedroom where my unmade bed was lying in wait. He told me the bedroom was “a weird place for it to be.” I threw my hands up in the air and yelled to the universe “fine! I get it! I will make my bed everyday because apparently that is the kind of person I want to be. I want to be the kind of person who doesn’t have to be mortified when people stop by and need into my bedroom and apparently, it’s the kind of person YOU want me to be SO FINE. It’s a weird thing to harp on, I must say, but starting today I am making my bed every single damn day.”
And I did. I made making my bed a spiritual practice.
Even the day I woke up tired with itchy allergy eyes and was running late, I still made the damn bed. Because I knew…
I had watched an episode of House Of Cards (I was so into this show, you guys, before it got too weird) where Peter’s character is running for Governor and his whole campaign is based on a “fresh start” since he had suffered an alcoholic past but had gotten sober and his life together. You are rooting for him. He’s doing really well. His darling girlfriend even comes back to him. Things are looking up. And then, he gets hit on by a woman with cleavage and a little black dress at a party who is offering him cocktails and slips him a key to her hotel room. For a minute you think he might do the right thing, but as the screen flashes to him walking down the hotel hall, key in hand, you shout “No! No! Don’t do it!” and watch in horror as he does do it, and walks into her room and sober Peter accepts her Jack Daniels offering. He justifies to himself that this doesn’t mean anything- no one would know, and he could just have a little bit of alcohol…it wouldn’t matter. But you, as the viewer, knows it DOES matter, that everything he is doing matters, and he is jeopardizing everything he wants in life for what? A drink? A girl? One night? Such small things. Surely this one choice couldn’t take him down, after all the good choices he had made. But you know it will. You know it’s bigger than that. You can see how one bad choice and his willingness to pick it means something bigger about him. It tells you the kind of person he is when the going gets tough. And it makes you feel sad.
This is how I feel about not making the bed. You know, minus the threat of losing the fancy political career by way of a spectacular public scandal.
Not making my bed threatens becoming the kind of person I want to be. I do understand that one day wouldn’t undo all the other days, but do understand what me giving in to not doing it one day says about where I am in my journey. I don’t need days off from making my bed. I’m ready to honor my commitments. I’m ready to step into the invitation of becoming who I was meant to be and that includes having dignity enough to make my bed. For whatever reason, an outward symbol of this hinges on whether or not I chose to make the bed. For now, making the bed is my AA meeting. It’s my one day at a time until something changes.
I understand this is a thing now. Every time I’ve brought this story up someone says “oh, it’s like that Army guy. He’s all about making your bed!” and yes, I’ve seen his talk. Inspiring guy. I believe there is even a book on this now. But back when this all started years ago I’d never heard of “make your bed guy.” It sounded like the most ludacrist thing to hold on to as my standard. I mean respectable people make their bed. I thought of myself as a respectable person yet I wasn’t making my bed so therefore I couldn’t actually be a respectable person, right? I understand how lame this sounds. Did I believe making my bed actually made me more respectable? Yes, I did. It made me more respectable to myself, which really, is the only thing that matters. I don’t have to be secretly angsty when people knock on my door now. I can just be at peace in my home and feel peace within me for being self-accountable.This feeling is priceless.
So what I’m trying to say is that I wasn’t ready to be self accountable to this before BUT— you know, if any…I don’t know, let’s just say…the firemen for example. Say the firemen wanted or needed to come to my door now, I’d be ready for them.
No special reason why I picked the firemen. I could have just as easily made an example out of the painters or construction workers, you see. Stop trying to make it seem like I’m more excited about the firemen.
I’M NOT MORE EXCITED ABOUT THE FIREMEN.
On an completely unrelated note, JEREMY! I just thought of a really great Halloween costume for you this year…