Someday, I will detach myself from everything

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.”

“Why?”

“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.

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8 comments
  1. This was so helpful for me to read. I have never parked my car in our garage because it is piled high with stuff. When my gma died 5 years ago I got her stuff…boxes and boxes of useless memories. Cookbooks that don’t matter except her handwriting is in the margins. Hungarian dresses, vases, trinkets and who knows what. Then my mom had her stroke. I spent days packing up her condo. Trips upon trips to goodwill. Still I kept what I thought was important in case she got better. And some things just seemed as if I should keep it. Books, tv’s, pictures, jewelry, clothes, suitcases, more antiques. It’s endless. We have three garages packed with shit. Then my hubby’s dad died and we added more shit and it hardly mattered because we had so much.
    Then I’m a collector and I can’t get rid of stuff that doesn’t matter. It collects dust on the shelves. I don’t remember names of people in the pictures. I keep all the things your mom did for you for my kids assuming they’ll care. Oh my gawd. It’s endless. Endless crap that makes me feel bad.
    My T suggested I clean it up so I can clear my mind for other things. I don’t think she has a clue as to how bad it is. It’s flipping embarrassing. She sent me a link to to the Salvation Army website which supposedly one can schedule a pick up by the press of a button. It really isn’t that easy but was a sweet thought. Last weekend I cleaned out my mom’s room which is now our office. It took over 7 hours and I got two closets cleared out. All her clothes are now at the nursing home. I took over 50 bags and boxes of stuff from the bedroom to goodwill without even going to the garage.
    Moral of this comment is throw out the stuff if you have no attachment to it. Heck even if you do, get rid of it LoL and feel free to delete this as it is a bit long….

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    • Hey! Don’t worry, you can comment as much as you like on here! This is your space as much as it is mine 🙂

      I’m sure your T was well-meaning, but yeah, I guess she’s not aware of how much of a problem it is for you. Take it slowly, you know? Don’t be so hard on yourself. The time will come when you’ll be ready to address this issue. Focus on what you have at hand right now and what you feel capable of addressing at this point in your journey.

      Take care hun, as always looking forward to your updates and sending you strength 😉

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      • 😜 oh my T’s suggestion was all good! I just meant that it will take more than a call to the Salvation Army to clean it all up–it’s not a weekend fix. Cleaning out your parents’ home and being emotionally unwell just wasn’t a good mix. I cleaned our room yesterday and it feels so much better. I bought a new downy comforter in pale colors and pillows and sheets for our bed and my friend sells doTerra so I got an essential oil diffuser and lavender. Anyways it is slow but sure. I took about another 40 bags of clothes and things from my mom to goodwill yesterday too! Yay me, I thought of you as I threw out pictures that held either bad memories or no meaning<–that felt empowering.

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      • I’m so ridiculously proud of you!!! 😀 Seriously, you’re making leaps of progress. Go enjoy that relaxing lavender scent, you deserve it xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good for you! My mom’s a minimalist and my dad is sentimental (not quite a hoarder) and so I feel like I’m constantly in a tug of war with myself. Remembering is important but not when it brings you down (or when all your STUFF gives you hay fever). Keep going, girl!

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    • Oh yes, no hay fever for us! haha! I’m definitely a minimalist when it comes to these things.

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  3. Sounds like my mom. I tried to organize our office once. I put each type of art supply in a plastic bin, and tried to donate any extras. For example, the crappy Kodak colored pencils when I have a huge set of the nice Prismacolor ones. Mom took all that stuff out of the donation box. But not only did she not let me donate it, she squirreled it away in her bedroom closet where it doesn’t belong instead of just telling me I had to put it back with all the other art supplies.

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    • Oh my yes, that sounds exactly like something my mom would do. Hopefully we won’t end up too attached to objects like them. Take care!

      Like

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