My mom has a bit of a hoarding problem. My grandmother also had a hoarding problem.
I refuse to have a hoarding problem.
She carries so much weight with her. She hoards not only objects, but memories, regrets, and dead dreams. She lives in the past. And for what? Where has that gotten her? Nowhere. If anywhere, it’s gotten her more miserable than she already is.
I have a feeling she wasn’t like this when I was a child. I have a feeling she’s gotten worse over the years, but that’s just my impression. However, I can’t ignore the fact that the garage and my dad’s office area are filled with a bunch of unnecessary crap and it wasn’t as bad before as it is now. I don’t know if dad’s the same. I think he’s just careless and doesn’t clean up his act. But mom? No, she cares too much.
I’ve been home alone this whole week and I felt incredibly light, incredibly free (in spite of my ongoing problems). It gave me a few clues as to why I should leave this place for residency. Today my parents are back and I can already feel IT growing inside me: the ball of useless crap, of negativity, pessimism surreptitiously passed as realism, and the noise. The useless sludge of toxicity is taking over my mind and soul. But I can’t let it.
At one point I decided to throw away a bunch of old crap I had in my room. It’s a bunch of stuff that I’m supposed to look at every year or so and think back to happier times, but mainly they just leave me feeling bitter and heavy. Souvenirs of the past, basically. And some of them I do like, and I kept; but a whole other bunch I’ve just kept over the years because my mom doesn’t let me get rid of them or makes me feel guilty for considering throwing them away. I guess she doesn’t understand the incredible high I get whenever I throw useless crap in the trash bin, especially useless crap that makes me feel bad about myself or my life. Who needs that, really? Throwing shit out and feeling light makes me feel good about myself. I don’t think she can say the same about her hoarding.
I like to travel light in life, with only the essentials. And “the essentials” doesn’t encompass a bunch of crap from when I was in school, like useless participation certificates from useless clubs (The Geography club! The Spelling club!….and many more). “The essentials” also doesn’t encompass a bunch of crap from senior year of high school and documents signed by backstabbing teachers who “adored me” but then treated me like shit when I most needed the help of an adult (during the relationshiT). Finally, “the essentials” doesn’t encompass a picture of a random group of smiling eighth graders, myself included, which was simply taken to be put on display on the class bulletin board. Especially if said picture includes people who made my life a living hell.
So, I was trying to throw away all this crap without my mom noticing, and I was feeling awesome about it. But at one point she suddenly opened the door to my room and saw what I was doing. I instantly saw it in her face, the guilt-tripping that was about to come my way in full force. She sat on my bed and we talked for a few minutes until what I knew was coming came.
“Are you going to throw away that picture?”
“Yes,” I said decisively without looking at her.
“Don’t do it.”
“Just…don’t do it. Don’t throw it away.” It was almost a plea, but the whole time she kept a level tone.
“Why not?” I said, anger boiling inside.
“You shouldn’t throw away that stuff. Dana, don’t throw that away.” And she didn’t say it, but I saw it playing peek-a-boo along the lines of her lips: You’ll regret it later.
And she left.
But why do I have to keep it if I don’t want to? Why do I have to keep something that makes me overflow with wretched memories? What got me throwing away stuff in the first place was something MM told me. She said: A friend of mine once told me: I’ve never missed any of the things I’ve thrown away before.
And she’s right. I’ve never missed any of the crap I’ve gotten rid of. I never regret any of my throwing-crap-away binges. If anything, I’ve always thought: why didn’t I get rid of it earlier?
Finally, mom didn’t succeed in her guilt-tripping. I threw the picture away, and I didn’t just throw it away. I cut out eighth-grade-me from the picture and kept it, while I also cut out an asshole who made my life miserable during that time…for an art project. A productive way of dealing with the anger eighth-grade-me couldn’t express.
Still, my mom’s hoarding problem affects me to the point where I had to go to the trash bin while she was taking a nap. I can’t let her see me throw the crap away because she’ll try and stop me in my tracks. And for maximum security, I made not one knot on the plastic bag containing all that crap, but four. I’ve thrown away stuff before that comes back to haunt me because she snatches it from the trash bin and decides to keep it for herself….disregarding the fact that I don’t want it around. It’s an undercover mission.
Do I regret it? Not one bit. I plan on continuing the throwing-crap-away binges little by little.
I have enough problems as it is. I don’t need to keep dragging all that SHIT with me.