Have you guys seen that show on A&E, the one called Hoarders. It's about hoarders, aka people who collect and keep lots and LOTS of stuff to the detriment of their lives and families. I know, shocker. But bear with me while you reel from that revelation, okay?
I was watching it tonight, you know, when I couldn't sleep. (I can never sleep. I don't sleep. Until morning and then I have a hard time waking up. Go figure. The sudden revelations I'm pouring out for you tonight are just almost breathtaking.) Where was I? Oh, yes. Tonight on Hoarders they featured this lady, somewhat old but not like one foot in the grave old, who had this weird need - nay addiction - to collecting food. Not eating it, mind you. Just shoving it in her fridge to rot. Or her freezer. Or, you know, when she ran out of room inside things she just left the food on her floor. On her floor, rotting, with flies crawling all over it. Seriously, I've seen a lot of gross things - dirty diapers for one, laundry for a family of 4 for another, my brothers' room growing up - but this was gross. When this lady pulled out a drawer from her fridge that had an inch of brown, liquid slime coating the bottom - well, that's the first time I almost lost my insides watching TV. It was so wrong on all kinds of levels.
And I thought to myself: How could she let it get like that?
And then I went to do some laundry. And I had this little light bulb moment. The lady was hoarding food, yes. And junk too, don't forget the piles of useless junk lining her floor from pillar to post. But, I kind of get it. She was hoarding something physical that made her feel safe, secure, independent. Sure, it was 600 different kinds of wrong. But I get it. Because every day I hide behind the things I hoard. Like my weight. Like my computer time. Like my sad, selfish, negative choices.
Now I realize that we're talking about different things here. My house is usually clean (not my sister-in-law Angie clean but usually quite pleasant) - no maggots crawling around, no rotting food on my floors/fridge/counter tops (gag). It's nice here. I'm not embarrassed to have people walk in.
But on my insides, I can see how she let it get like that. I can see how one bad day leads to another; how one mean thought multiplies and takes root; how my untended self esteem will crumble; how people's opinions from 15 years ago fester, take root, and rot. I can see that.
Can I change it? That's the real question here.