Sometimes, when I’ve done my spring cleaning of the month (read: year) and I can finally see the floor of my once-messy room for once, that feeling of achievement gets overridden by a sense of something being “off”. Inadvertently, I’ll set a book beside my pillow instead of on my bookshelf, or my bottle of foundation would have migrated to a spot next to my mirror, instead of my usual makeup drawer. I’d find pens inside my couch and I’ll come across a baby photo slipped between the pages of an unfinished notebook.

And even as I sigh in resignation, I wonder why it feels right to see piles of unread books stacked messily on top of one another instead of tidily placed together, seeing as I own the equivalent of a mini library. I would happily climb into a bed filled with untidy sheets and strewn-about pillows at the end of the day instead of one with sheets neatly tucked in, waiting to be carefully unfolded. And I’m completely accustomed to bumping my nose into the spine of a book in the middle of the night as I toss and turn with dreams of a world that my mind had conjured up, courtesy of the story I’d just read before going to sleep.

It’s a discomfiting sensation, because I am the opposite of picture perfect.

Don’t get me wrong though; I love being able to walk into my room without having to walk over an island of clothes. However, there’s a sort of sterility that comes with a picture perfect environment; almost like it’s not lived in, and I can’t shake off the thought that I’m a trespasser in a museum of my own doing.

It’s a discomfiting sensation, because I am the opposite of picture perfect. If my messy living space was a representation of the state of my own mind, I’d be wary to discover what could be hiding in the nooks and crannies, and I’d also like to never cross paths with the likes of a gigantic dust monster.

And yet, it is an oddly comforting thought at the same time, the idea that I still don’t know myself and there are more things to discover about me, by me.

After all, life itself is wonderfully whimsical, and a couple of books out of place never hurt anyone.

Let’s put it this way. Have you ever been in a situation where you’re desperately looking for something, and you’ve suddenly found something else that you’ve completely forgotten? For a sweet, blissful second, you’re distracted from the current worry, and you’re filled with a bittersweet nostalgia as you reminisce the memories a simple item could bring. It’s similar to having a random thought or memory that comes across your mind and instantly cheers you up, and I always look forward to those moments. I absolutely love finding a memento by surprise; it’s an awesome distraction from the constantly buzzing hive that is my caffeine-fueled mind.

Perhaps it is somewhat self-indulgent to romanticise a messy space and excusing the disorder as “aesthetic”. But everyone has their own quirks. Some are particular about the way their sofa cushions are arranged, and others can’t really be bothered about the makeshift closet on their drying rack. The jacket over your chair, the book hidden in the folds of your sheets and the eyeshadow palettes haphazardly placed on your vanity-to some, an eyesore. And that’s completely alright.

But to me, they are a representation of the fragments of my mind. So, even as I try my best to organise my space and my own thoughts for my own benefit, I will still relish in uncertainties, and the unpredictable occasions where my messy space will give me a moment of joy, perhaps in the form of a photo from bygone schooldays, or an old letter from a loved one. After all, life itself is wonderfully whimsical, and a couple of books out of place never hurt anyone.