Cleaning My House.

Half an hour ago, I was sitting cross-legged by myself on the floor of my old bedroom in the apartment I recently shared with my brother on Nathan Ave in Abhaya Hrdaya (fearless heart mudra) chanting to myself I love you, I am sorry and I forgive myself over and over again as tears of pain and joy streamed down my face.

Ok. Maybe I was getting high off the fumes from the cleaning products? Or maybe, just maybe, as I cleaned my house, I was simultaneously cleaning MY house.

And by that, I mean…me

For a creative and sensitive person I have never been much of a crier – certainly not compared to my other female friends, especially – but in the last month I have found myself crying openly (howling even):

– in front of a choir of 40 people as my assistant Corinne dabbed my eyes with a tissue because I was playing the piano with both hands;

– in a crowded cafe in the Brisbane CBD as I drank green tea with my friend;

– on the treadmill during my personal training session;

– in front of my singing students (whoops);

– on a jog;

– in the shower;

– in my dreams;

– on my mama’s shoulder, on my dadda’s shoulder, on my brother’s shoulder;

– during my morning meditation;

– while my friend told me about a boisterous Russian woman she met at a gig who was full of life!

What the!?

You name it. I’ve cried it. 

These tears just keep flowing, and for the first time in my life, I am allowing it. Instead of being concerned about what other people think or thinking to myself “oh god, there must be something wrong with me” I actually feel, finally…

There is something right with me. 

So, going back…

This humble little apartment on Nathan Ave was where I lived with the man who I had a 7 year relationship with. The longest and most integral relationship of my life. And the room I was sitting cross-legged in was the room we used to share before our separation. A room I rarely even stepped into after that time, even though it was filled with a new energy, my brother’s drum kit, his clothes and bed.

It was still too painful and confusing for me.

As I scrubbed the floor for the last time, I felt a lump form in my throat. This lump I realised I had swallowed for almost a year. Through one of the busiest professional periods of my life including an EP recording, release and numerous tours and gigs. Through two more relationships and two more painful breakups. Through weird health issues.

I swallowed this lump so I could survive. But I was doing just that…surviving.

And I wanted to thrive. 

People around me (and I suspect especially those I was romantically involved with) knew something was not quite right – that I was not all there. And I fucking wasn’t. I had lost touch with myself. With my feminine power. With my sexuality. With the things that made me me.

I didn’t know how the hell to relax. I didn’t know what I wanted. I carried so much shame and anger towards myself. I felt so much guilt. I had a short attention span. I drank too much. I felt insecure. I longed to be loved but I didn’t know how to love the very person I was spending the most time with…myself.

(BTW this all reminds me of a Fiona Apple song, which is not really surprising. My whole fucking life has been a Fiona Apple song.)

So…there I was…chanting out loud I love you, I am sorry and I forgive myself as Jonsi sang THIS in the background. And I softened. And I cried. And I howled. And I laughed. And I smiled. And I allowed my heart to open. And I felt all the pain I had packed away in the boxes of my house. And I felt so much love. And I remembered. And I felt gratitude to all the amazing (and not so amazing) people who have entered and exited my life and who I have learnt from in some way. And I wished them all well on their own journey, as they move on, as they grow.

Thank you thank you thank you.

As I pulled my hands closer and closer to my heart, I took a moment to pause and let go on an exhalation filled with the tears and the breath I had held on to for so long. I said goodbye to the ghosts out loud.

And then I switched off the light.

I share these stories with you, not because they are any more special or unique than anyone else’s stories, but because I have so many women (men too, but especially women) around me who share their stories with me. The tales I read and hear from these brave women have brought me a great deal of solace and I believe that through shared experiences we can learn so much. We can begin to heal. We can find a place for forgiveness of ourselves and of each other. We can talk about the importance of radical self-love. We can help others. And we can remind each other, very simply, that…

You are not alone. Or at least, we are alone together

So then what?

Well…I picked up my succulents and my tomato plant, and I closed the door on that chapter, making room for whatever is to come.

Love. Love. Love.


About Emma Dean

Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, performer, director, lover, sister, daughter, choir mistress, vegetable fanatic. For more info:
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6 Responses to Cleaning My House.

  1. you are a full person emma xo

  2. Sarah Cooper says:

    Love this Emma (and your last post!) Definitely sounds like heartbreak welling up and being released.
    I know. I’m the same as you. That’s why I find songwriting hard – to let my emotions out and share all my zany wacky insecurities and self-reflection with the world. Yet it’s THE most important thing that I learnt from working at a woman’s gym – no matter the shape and size and economic status, we all still share the same insecurities! Love this!

  3. James C says:

    I want to try to remember this: the radical power of allowing yourself to experience your own emotions. I can tell at the moment there’s a lot of life in me that i’m stomping down on because i’m too busy. But love and life and I will find a way. Thanks for the reminder xx

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