Thursday, February 9, 2012

Books and covers and judging

I was watching one of those "hoarders" shows a week ago and the lady on there had been through some pretty horrible stuff - a violent rape and the death of her child. Those two traumatic events triggered something in her to start hoarding.

While I was watching her talk about these things I realized something - I do the opposite thing for the exact same reasons.

I feel so much anxiety when things at home are grubby and disorganized because:
  • how will the cops get good fingerprints if everything is dirty?
  • how will I know if something is missing if all my possessions are in chaos or if I have so many that I don't even know what I have?
  • if I force myself to purge things on a regular basis then I will desensitize myself to loss and when I am forced to lose something it won't hurt so much.
If I have to suffer trauma and violence and tragic loss and then nothing can be done for me - no perpetrators identified or captured or brought to justice - because of the way I keep house then the pain and devastation become partly my fault.

I know that these messages are tricks my head plays on me. They aren't true, but they feel good to me. Just like a hoarder.

The relationship between people and their things is so complex. And just because someone looks and behaves in a way that looks "normal" and good and healthy, you never can tell what the psychology behind a person's actions really is. When they see me getting rid of things other people will make comments to me about how they really need to do that too, or that I am so good and responsible and hard-working, or something along those lines. When people respond like this it makes me feel like a poser and a fraud. I would like to respond that throwing out unnecessary things and living an organized and tidy life is natural for me, and that I am good and clean through and through. The real truth is that there is a lot of darkness and fear that motivates my behavior. I've noticed that making decisions about my possessions while I'm doing this '40 bags in 40 days' project is bringing up to the surface a lot of stuff that I usually keep deep. I have tears at the ready and a lump in my throat these days.

Even though this is my truth, and there is a little crazy behind it, I do actually love and truly prefer things clean and sparse and uncomplicated but still decorated. I love the way this pantry looks (and you can see all of her awesomeness at her blog here):


  1. That pantry may look pretty, but they'd be pretty hungry if a real emergency were to befall them.

  2. and I wonder how long it stayed looking that way after the picture was taken? (says the slob who would love to have just a teensy bit of AWW's motivation to purge without having the dark side behind it).

  3. Hey, D--I wonder if most of the good works we do have a dark side behind them...

  4. When I think about my "stuff" and what I can get rid of, or what I have lost along the way - I always remember back to when we moved to Clinton - and all the stuff in storage back in Utah was lost to us. I lived through that - I wish I had some of that stuff. But then I remember it's just stuff. STUFF. STUFF needs to get thrown out - regardless of what kind of STUFF it is. This post made me sad, melancholy and reflective. Then I remembered I have a pretty great life...and I am beginning to like who I am for the most part - and my stuff too. I hope the "purging" eases your pain - we all need a way to do that.