*[Conditions for dealing with my portion of the mess: a house empty of all save me and my portion of the mess, the better to wrestle with my demons and call upon deity for aid and comfort and make vows to whatever powers that be that I will never ever no never let it get this bad again.]
No, the historian, ill and in need of rest, needed to be able to lie down. So, the people, my portion of the mess got worse. Or, if not worse, it began to glower at me. To call me names and to insinuate things about my character. In the cold light of day--November light, hence, quite cold--the loomingness of my portion of the mess seemed ever more looming. My character ever more flawed. It was pretty bad. Very bad.
I kept thinking, how can we have people over? There's this mess, and it's looming. And I am a flawed, flawed person! This house! The squalor! Etcetera &c &c.
I had to do it in stages: first, sort my portion of the mess into smaller portions (sweaters, tee shirts, skirts, trousers, fashion magazines, The New Yorker, catalogs, old crossword puzzles, scarves). Then, go through them to see if there are obvious giveaway candidates. Then, on D-Day (dinner day), put things away and throw things away. Meanwhile, I also cooked. Meanwhile, the historian did other cleaning and sorting maneuvers.
And, the people, I felt so much better. About everything.
Our friends came over and of course what they responded to in our home wasn't anyone's portion of the mess. Rather, they loved the colors of our walls, the paintings, the candlelight, the dinner itself. We had a wonderful time and I was able to see again--it is a little surprising to me how long it has been since I've seen it--how lovely and wonderful our home is to live in, how much we've made it our own, how vivid and lively and lovely it is. That's hard to see when all you can see is your own flaws.
There are resultant resolutions and plans aplenty, which I will spare you. But mainly, it was very good to be reminded about how to enjoy our own space--our own lives.