The Public and The Private

Kimberly at The Errant Wife posted this week about how we know so much about these people that we follow through blogs, yet we really don’t. We don’t know what they look like, what their names are, or who they are in their day to day life. It got me thinking about the public “us” and the private “us.” What do we choose to show the world? What do we hide because we are ashamed?
I am a walking contradiction. The private “me” is totally different from the public “me.” I don’t mean personality-wise, because in that way, I’m very what-you-see-is-what-you-get. I am who I am and I say what I feel. But I completely misrepresent the way that I live and the way that I function.
This is what I look like when I go to work:

I’m put together. Professional. I’ve taken the time to put together an outfit and I’ve clearly put thought into what I look like, what I want to wear, and how I present myself. I look clean and polished and well-groomed.

And this is what I look like when I go out later that night:
I’ve changed up the outfit and made it more “me,” but it’s still well put together and well thought out. While it may not “match” to some people, I’ve taken the time to think about the colors I want to wear together, what kind of statement I want to make, and it’s clear that I have a style.
These are my books and binders for school:
Each binder has a label (made with label maker) on the binding. They are all in black binders with plastic sleeves on the outside. This is because each binder has a cover page, as well. Typed. Uniform. Everything is in it’s place.
If you were to open one of my binders, it would look like this:
All my notes are typed and the binders are arranged with dividers. The dividers are labeled. The labels are created with a label maker. If you were to see my desk at work, it’s the same way. My planner is meticulous and everything is kept track of and color coded. I prepare my papers for tomorrow before I leave the office today. I am on top of everything. But–
This is my room:
It’s a mess. Those clothes that look so nice on me? All over the floor. I can never find them. I never know where anything is. I’m constantly in a rush or state of agitation looking for things. See the clothing rack behind the bed? It collapsed  weeks ago and I’ve left it there.
The bed I sleep on is covered in stuff:
If I moved that pillow, there’d be more stuff. Sometimes, I can barely fit in my bed. There’s leftover food containers and empty food wrappers on the bed and on those shelves behind me.
My bedside table is disgusting:
That is all just sitting there. There’s a stack of plates and numerous empty drink cans. If you look in the first picture, they line the window sill as well.
My car is even more embarrassing and is much, much worse. I live in a state of chaos. Every few months, I decide I can’t do it anymore and conduct a huge clean. I organize my clothes, I throw away the trash, I make everything meticulous. But it lasts less than a week. I know that it takes more effort to try and find the things I’m missing than it does to just pick up after myself before I go to bed at night, but I still can’t do it. It seems impossible, and I’ve tried over and over again. I wish that I could keep the rest of my life the way that I keep my school work and my work-work.
The spaces that I inhabit are a good physical representation of the state of mind that I’m inhabiting. I’ve never really been in a very good place, mentally, though I’ve always pretended to be. I try to pretend I’m fine, both to myself and to others, but I’m not. It’s the same way I present myself as organized, clean, and neat to the outside world but in reality, I’m a complete disaster. I’m disorganized, messy, lazy, and have kind of given up.
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to deny who we are or how we feel, we can’t fully do it. It’s like an air bubble in a closed object. You can push it down in one place, but it’s going to reappear and shift to another. You can try to stuff as much as you can into a suitcase, but eventually, things are going to start overflowing and you won’t be able to close the bag. 
If you look at me closely, the signs are there. The hangover in my eyes. The smell of booze from last night that I tried to mask with Febreeze and perfume because I did not wake up in time to shower. The constant congestion. The always-peeling/dry nose. The pill case full of Adderall in my purse. The tiny little straw hiding in the inside pocket of my purse. The little traces of white on the tip of my key. My constant habit of running late because I couldn’t wake up. The sadness in my eyes. The way that my eyes fill up with tears for seemingly no reason when I’m sitting at my desk. The dirty, gross way that I keep my car.
I hide my demons fairly well, but if you look closely, they’re starting to come out at the seams.
EDIT: I’d just like to add how terrified I am that I posted this. It’s like finally admitting it or saying it out loud. I feel totally naked and exposed, and I’m really worried that people will think less of me or think I’m gross or it will change how people feel about me. It’s why I try to avoid letting people come over and I always go to their house instead. Okay, carry on.
  • Share/Bookmark
This entry was posted in Foto, Soul Searching, Wardrobe Malfunction. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Orhan Kahn
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    You need another pair of shoes.

  2. Sa
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    I don't think tidiness means anything morally in a private space. Some people are messy and some are organized. However, I understand what you are saying about wanting to pretend you are tidy-making a once in a while effort, without having the will power to keep up the pretence over a longer period of time. There is no more truth to who we are publicly than to who we are privately-we always show something of who we are, even through lies. But feeling constant tension between the public and the private persona we inhabit is terribly draining. Maybe your work folders are organized because you respect the people you work with, whereas your private space reflects your lack of consideration for your own needs and desires. But no one from the outside can make that call. You're the only one who can bridge the dichotomy.

  3. April
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Sa wrote what I was thinking, so no need to repeat it.

    I keep my house pretty clean. I make sure the laundry is always done, the dishes are done after dinner, and that things are generally nice and tidy but not neat freak clean. My car? Probably looks like yours. It's gross. I've always had a gross car and I can't figure out why I don't care about keeping it clean. I've sometimes thought that maybe it's because I live with other people and have a need to make them happy. Those people don't live in my car, so why bother to clean it? But I don't know about that rationale.

    Your bedroom looks just like mine did when I was in high school. I used to pay a friend of mine $20 to clean it up once a month for me.

    Also, maybe these signs are apparent to you, but not to others. I would think that if it were that obvious to others, someone would intervene and try to get you help.

  4. Damian
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    How could we think less of you for being who – we had already worked out – you are?

    That's the thing with these revelations. You are usually the last to know, or the last to admit it. We have been eavesdropping on your thoughts, your self destructive behaviour and your occasional deeper revelations about who you are. We are all here, watching, thinking about you and wishing the best for you.

    You are a beautiful, bright girl. You are achieving well in your career, and just managing to hold it together at home. And now that you feel that you are having trouble coping at home, you have chosen to talk about it – so your pressure relief valve is working.

    My wife is a high achiever – a tremendously high achiever – and she is also the messiest person on earth at home. I am constantly kiching clothes and shoes out of the way. But as she gets older, she is getting better at keeping it all together.

    We do not emerge from university and into our careers as fully formed beings. University gives us a head-start professionally, so we can put on the professional veneer, but some of us are still kids at heart. In fact, some of us need to be a bit childish and sloppy at home to balance the hyper professionalism of our other selevs. And there's nothing wrong with that.

    But as life goes on, we learn more, we cope better, and we eventually get it all together – work and home.

    You will too. You sound like you are doing well at work. You dress well, with your own strong style – it's all part of Brand Britni! And you are now starting to ask for help to get it together at home – your therapeutic experience tells you that you asking for help is the biggest hurdle.

    Well you're over that hurdle.

    You're on your way.

    Well done.

    We're coming along with you, by the way.

  5. Damian
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    "constantly kiching clothes and shoes out of the way"

    I meant kicking…

    "professionalism of our other selevs."

    … and selves.

    sorry about the sloppy spelling.

  6. Lori D
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I certainly don't think any less of you, in fact I think you're more human and "real" than ever. Oh, and my car,bedroom, and house look just like yours. And when I do clean all my mess up, it lasts only about a week too. So there.

  7. sqweakygurl
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    But isn't it always that way? My apartment looks like crap 9months out of year when I'm in school,but my schoolwork is pristine. I don't think anyone one is going to think less of you. i don't!

    btw those shoes are killer I’m so jealous. lol

  8. HyperSexualGirl
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    You're gorgeous! You have the perfect stature for a model.

  9. Gray
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    *hugs you*

    You worry so much.

    You are a beautiful person trying to deal with life.

  10. champagneandbenzedrine
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 9:10 am | Permalink


    Your messy bed is just an expression of how you embrace life and LIVE IT, instead of feeding your inner OCD and creating a very well organized, safe little cage to retreat into. Girls with tidy bedrooms try to also have tidy lives and that's no fun.

    Besides, you're organized at work, stylish and well groomed when you go out – so nobody's got a right to criticize.

    Keep it up – you're amazing.

  11. Nolens Volens
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    You are flawed. You are imperfect. You have quirks. You have a way of prioritizing things. What does all that combined means? Means you are human. ;)

  12. A Secret Freak
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Wow.. when i started reading this post (after i got through the dress and binders) I almost fell out of my chair.. holy shit she snuck in my place and took pictures..

    Seriously girl! This is me I understand, i fight the same battle.. My theory is, if everything is in the floor, i know where to look for something!

    no matter how hard i try, to do better and me more "put together" the more I fail miserably… The car thing bothers me worst..I am afraid something is going to bite me in there.. and am terrified, someone will need a ride or see.. Yet, I do nothing about it..

    Funny how no-one notices the signs… and they are the same for most of us. You touched me deeply with this post, now i know there is someone like me.. damn I am not the only one fighting this battle..


    Hugs kisses and love and as cliche as it is.. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

  13. Jo
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Hello, this is future Britni…just kidding.

    I resemble slightly an older, more conservative you. Good news…at 37, I'm married to a fabulous man who only freaks out occasionally at how messy our house is and totally GETS ME.

    Not saying marriage is the answer, only giving you hope that the RIGHT ONE does come along. Had my share of assholes along the way so I (in at least a small way) understand what you are going through).

    That person who makes you feel comfortable being YOU does exist…sometimes you just need to sort through the asshats to get to him/her/them.

    I'm a neat freak who is also a slob and constantly worried that people will know. Turns out that the people worth knowing will love you regardless…and sometimes even help clean when you can't take it anymore.

    Don't know you but love you anyway.


  14. alana
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    My room looks like yours – but without all the food plates cause that’s the one thing I’ve always been a stickler about. It’s funny cause Ryan’s side of the room is way more put together. I feel like it’s a physical representation of the different ways our minds function. (See it’s ART, I can’t possible be expected to clean it up now…) And I love the shoes. There’s no way my old job would have let me pass those off as professional, but I think it’d be worth the lecture. Go you.

    I don’t think I misrepresent myself on my blog. I just don’t talk about myself enough for there to be a clear picture of who I am. In real life I’m much more intimidating (maybe it’s cause I’m really assertive – I have no idea why. It’s always just been that way) and really loud.

    You do sound a lot better though. Like the tone of the post. It sounds like you really do want to change. I hope things work out. I have huge issues with drugs. All the fucked up shit that happened to my sisters and me is a direct result of drug use (well poverty is the big umbrella here). I just don’t tolerate it. I can’t.

  15. Eve
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I like what you said about the space you live in being a physical representation of your state of mind. I can relate to that.

    My room isn't quite as messy as that, but it used to be. I definitely don't think any less of you. Up until a few years ago my room would be so bad I couldn't find my floor. And my bed had the same problem. Over the last 5 years I've fought my tendency to leave things on the floor and pile things on all available surfaces and be a packrat, and it's gotten a lot better. It certainly hasn't gone away, but now I have enough clear floor space to keep from tripping, and I manage to keep my bed clear. I still have to do a major purge of my room every month or two, and I still almost never put my clothes away when I should (my dirty laundry forms a nice pile next to my hamper of clean clothes that I haven't put away yet).

    And my mom is about as messy as I am. Although that might have something to do with not having a bedroom (she sleeps in the living room, and half the chairs and our dining table are covered in her stuff). Anyway, my point is that plenty of us live in chaotic spaces. You're not alone! I do find it helps me feel a little more sane when my room is clean, but I usually can't be quite that together.

  16. Another Suburban Mom
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Everyone needs a junk drawer you have just extended it.

    Once you find that you crave order everywhere you will create it.

    I send you a hug. I feel that you need one.

  17. Ambitious Blonde
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I am in serious awe over your honesty. Posting that took some serious ovaries.

    I'm not going to sit here and tell you "Oh it will all be OK eventually", because it's trite and overplayed. I WILL tell you that you're fucking awesome and give you a hug or high-five or knuckle bump or whatever it is you'd like me to do to show I'm in your corner.

  18. La Roo
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Think less… I think not, I think more of you.
    Girlfriend life has handed you some shit to figure out, and it's not pretty. So many people are dealt a bad hand one way or another. The strong ones look at it no matter how painful, the others suffer the rest of there lives. You are glancing around the corner.
    Please know you are pretty special.
    Take Care.

  19. April
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Who gives a rats furry ass what your room or car looks like? YOU are the one who has to live there and if it works for you or is what you can manage then that is just that.
    My worry is not with the state of your living environment but with the state of your heart.
    You are too pretty and too smart to lose yourself to a drug,a man,or a drink.
    What I see in those pictures? You love clothes, you love minute maid, and your bed looks soft and fluffy.
    Chin up. Sometimes it's gotta get bad before it can get better but I have a feeling you are the kind of person who can pull yourself out.

    My little sister was 18 when she married a 42 year old who taught her to cook and use meth. If she can free herself so can you.

  20. {{ d a n i m o }}
    Posted June 19, 2009 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    this post makes me feel so naked too because we're pretty much soul sisters on this one, except my demons have already started to rip open the frayed seems and are currently bursting out. i love that air bubble analogy too; i just can't stuff it down any longer as it keeps resurfacing without permission.

    i find that whenever i do a lot of this kind of soul searching, especially publicly, it's because i crave someone who understands me, someone who'll validate me by still loving me the same, even though that's never my intention or thought when thinking/writing. so i hope you know that i definitely understand and love you all the same as i did five minutes ago. no, never mind, i lied. . . more so than five minutes ago. truly. :)

    by the way, i have some of the same psych books as you. hehe and i love that feeling of freshly cleaned everything to match the constant state of micro-organizing school and work are allowed. living with my boyfriend, he's encouraged me to clean up far more often than i would have on my own, even with roommates, as his room is small and my mess is that much more obvious. i hope he makes me get on that again soon 'cuz the place is looking a mess and it's just too daunting for me to want to think about.

    *BIG hugs* ♥

  21. Barefoot Dreamer
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    so, here is the deal. I have a well kept house and an immaculate car (even with the sprouts trashing it) the beds are made every morning and the dishes never sit more then 2 hours (usually less then 2 minutes) I do laundry once a week or more and they ALWAYS get folded and put away – even the socks and underware. The lawn is mowed and the weeds whapped. The garbage make it out every Wednesday even if it means I am five minutes late. My dog is even friggin groomed. But, it is all outside appearance stuff (and a way to keep hubby happy and quiet) yet inside…

    I get messed up.

    Just because the outside is in chaos doesn't mean the person is and vice versa…. you get it?

    Keeping up an appearance doesn't mean you are as put together as you make it appear. In fact it is usually the opposite!

  22. Sonora Sage
    Posted June 20, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    The railing in my closet collapsed some time towards the middle of last year, along with my marriage.

    I finally got around to putting it back up, and rehanging the crumpled clothes that had sat on the floor, about nine months later. Just before the divorce was final.

    Sometimes the "externals" are just mirrors for the other things in our life. Don't sweat it.

  23. April
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Oh and Playtex Gentle Glide are the shit! =)

  24. MortalNo Gravatar
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Reading this knowing what comes next is pretty gripping. I’m so glad that though you didn’t catch yourself here, you got your ass up and moved. Because you had to. I admire that so much. You just spontaneously told depression to fuck it. You didn’t catch yourself in the drop, you pulled yourself up out of the bottom. that is fucking awesome.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Privacy Invasion on June 7, 2010 at 12:12 am

    [...] My room is a mess. Instead of harassing me to clean it, like she usually does, my mother took it upon herself to clean it for me while I was out for the night. This was very nice of her… [...]

  2. By Falling into Place on September 2, 2010 at 12:03 am

    [...] never be a Real Adult. Being a Real Adult requires you to CLEAN ALL THE THINGS, and we all know how awesome I am at cleaning. Instead, I’ll just fool everyone into thinking I’m a Real Adult. That’s what we [...]

Post a Reply to Ambitious Blonde

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe without commenting

  • This site contains adult content and is not intended for anyone under the age of 18. Under 18? Click here:


  • Britni TheVadgeWig

    PhotobucketI'm Britni, a snarky bitch and generally awesome person. I write about sex, love, and bullshit. If sex-positivity, discussions about BDSM and kink, queer issues, and topics that are completely inappropriate by society's standards make you uncomfortable, then this blog is not for you.
    Photobucket Photobucket
  • Because I Am a Shameless, Broke-Ass Bitch

    All donations are welcome, of course! You can always buy me something off my wishlist, as well.

  • Get Yourself Off

    Good Vibes PinkCherry Sex Toys Love yourself. Everyday. Tickle. Photobucket ER-150x250-1a_3 / JT's Stockroom
  • Photobucket
  • See My Writing At

    Photobucket Photobucket
  • Watch Them Get Off

    visit Photobucket visit
  • The What

  • The Who

  • Go Back In Time