My Twin Sister Makes Me Hang Up My Underwear

Evie M.

Photo by Patrick Kool on Unsplash

Push your anxiety aside, and take life one step at a time

My fraternal twin sister, Alicia, is a gorgeous but strange bird with equally strange habits. I don’t mind. Her odd routines never affected me much until I moved in with her a few months ago.

After my marriage went belly-up, my job soon went with it due to the quarantine. I found myself drowning in gambling and school debt with an apartment I could no longer afford. She invited me to stay for as long as I needed to recover from my trashed life and the mental illness that lead to it.

I showed up at her door with my dog and one piece of luggage, yet anxiety made my baggage seem endless.

My sister is apparently a Mr. Myagi-type genius, though. One who taught me how to go from saying, “I can’t do this,” to “I can”.

And all I had to do was hang up my underwear from the dryer.

Allow me to explain.

Too much to do, not enough time

The first time I walked into my sister’s immaculate Southern McMansion, she took me to her massive closet. Each article of clothing, besides her socks, hung on hangers.

“If you’re going to live here, I have one rule for you. You can smoke weed all day or hang out in the movie theater upstairs all night. I don’t care. All I ask is that when you wash and dry your clothes, hang them all up, even the underwear.”

I picked up a black G-string pinned to a velvet hanger, pursing my lips in a way that read: “seriously?”

“That’s fucking bizarre, sis,” I said, “but you got it, no problem.”

I cleaned the house each day with a smile. I’d like to note nothing is more satisfying than scrubbing something while watching The Office high out of your mind. The only chore I avoided beyond picking up dog shit was the laundry.

I hated the idea of hanging up my underwear. Underwear don’t get hung up, they get stuffed into a drawer. Either that, or they stay in the dirty clothes hamper until you need them, forcing you to go commando.

They’re a lot like problems in that way. We toss life’s issues aside like panties. Or, we don’t address our concerns at all until we have to because they’ll cause us to have a panic attack.

How can we? Unwell minds are powerful. Chaotic, unsettling thoughts are great at pushing aside any calm left within us.

I can’t focus if I’m always worried, I scolded myself.

I was only half right, though.

When we’re fretting over our problems, we are focused, just on the negative rather than the positive.

Laundry Day

It took about a week for me to run out of clean underwear.

I’m not desperate enough to wear them inside out, I reasoned as I held the last clean pair in my hands. I guess I’ll have to take a trip to Walmart to buy some more.

I started to dress when there came a knock on my door, and my sister peeked her head into my room.

Her eyes traveled first to the piled laundry spilling from my hamper.

“Time to do a load, wouldn’t you say?” she asked. “Remember to hang everything up, even your — “

“ — My underwear,” I responded with an affirmative nod. “I will.”

I wasted the day in the movie theater upstairs binge watching Shear Genius. Unfortunately, nightfall always comes fast when you’re avoiding something.

“This is so stupid,” I muttered as I trudged through the hall to the laundry room. “But it needs to be done now.”

I grabbed my first hanger, cracked open the dryer, and started to hang up each article of clothing.

But not my underwear.

Not until a pile of panties sat in the dryer by themselves, mocking me with their purity.

“No worries or baggage here anymore,” they’d have said if they could. “We’re squeaky clean, why aren’t you?”

My clothes went into the washer needing a change, got bounced around, scrubbed, and came out better off for it. If I could’ve ensured my outcome would be the same if I climbed inside the washing machine, I’d have swan dove in.

It’d be nice if life were so predictable. Without the fear of failure or the unknown, I wouldn’t hesitate to help myself.

But I was afraid.

Once I finished this odd chore, it meant I’d have to fix the mess I’d made for myself, and I had no clue where to start. So, I began by doing exactly what my sister told me to do.

I hung up each pair of underwear, one by one, until the machine emptied, and I could move on.

Like how we all should hang up our problems: one by one, until our minds empty, and we can move on.

The Prophet speaks

“See? That wasn’t so bad, right?” Alicia asked.

As I finished, she stood at the doorway with a grin and her yorkie, Stanley, struggling in her arms.

“There’s a method to my madness,” she continued. “I hang up my clothes because life is more comfortable when organized. Drawers make it too easy to stuff clothes inside and forget them.

A pile of laundry may seem huge in the basket, but only take a few hangers to get the job done. If you don’t stop it adds maybe an extra minute or two. It helps me remember issues in life are manageable if we just take the time to address them.”

Her head gave a thoughtful tilt to the side.

“Does that make sense?”

I stared at her as if she’d become Gandhi incarnate.

“You’re a wizard, Harry,” I said.

“Probably,” she answered.

Take Life One Step at a Time

The number of people who’ve scraped the bottom of the motivation barrel to get through the day is too great to count, I’m sure.

Which is why there’s no shame in chipping away at problems day by day, or even sometimes not worrying for a moment. As long as there’s progress, that’s all that matters.

The trick is to crack our knuckles, push aside our anxieties, and hang up our underwear one frilly pair at a time.

My sister may be weird, but she’s definitely onto something.

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