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Confessions Of A Pack Rat
Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 - 3:21 p.m.
I know it's been awhile since I've been here, but once again, I'm here as part of a problem-solving process.
Once upon a time, I lived in a home where the Golden Rule went something like "Whoever has the gold makes the rules." When I was young, it was made clear to me by my parents that I didn't actually own anything, would not own anything unless I worked for it myself, and that they were free to go through my things at will, and if they didn't like whatever it was they didn't like? Out it went.
Or, far worse -- when I'd go to school, sometimes I'd find my room had been turned over, and whenever that happened, Mom would have a box sitting there in the den, with the lid taped shut, and she'd say "I took ten things out of your room today! If you can guess what ANY of them are, I will give you back everything in the box."
When I moved away from home, I married a pack-rat. His one true joy in life was to find something for cheap. "Are you kidding? Don't you know what this is worth?" was the mantra. And no matter what else happened, meaning no matter what other forms of abuse he inflicted, (a whole lot of physical and more than a little financial) he never tried to make me guess what he'd hidden from me.
I didn't know it at the time, but some very bad patterns were starting to become reinforced.
About a month after I got married, my grandmother fell and broke one of her kneecaps. My mom insisted that my husband and I move in to Gran's guest bedroom so I could take care of her and be there 24/7. Unfortunately, immediately prior to my grandmother's accident, we had given our notice on the apartment we'd been renting, had been packing to move, and were unable to undo any of these plans. "Don't worry about it," said the man I was married to. "I'll take care of everything."
Then he told me he had an opportunity to work extra hours, so he was going to do that for as long as the extra work lasted.
I believed him.
But it turned out not to be true.
What he'd done instead of working extra hours was rent a storage unit, and move the contents of our apartment there, except for the things he thought we would need. I'd kept some dolls and toys from my infancy, along with some handmade wooden toys given to me by my maternal grandfather.
Those ended up in storage because they weren't precious to my husband.
And no matter how many times I asked, somehow we never got around to retrieving those things. He'd just put them in boxes and put the boxes in a storage unit and I never saw them again.
When I finally got tired of the other abuses, we parted -- and I made what I thought was an intelligent and considered decision to walk away from those things.
And ever since then, I've been trying to find my way back to those things.
I'm a pack rat in a huge way.
When I see neatness, it still makes me panic. I literally have a panic attack when a given space seems too neat, or when furniture doesn't seem to want me to sit on it. I guess that's a strange way to put it, but in my universe, whenever I can see most of my possessions, I'm relaxed.
Earlier this week, due to having to deal with some unavoidable repairs to the apartment, I had to face my landlord and apologize to him for the chaos. He said all families have their problems, and that there was nothing to forgive.
So the epiphany here is that I'm tired of the chaos and the clutter, and that I really do want to relax when the place is neat -- and all I can do now is hope that my universe continues to show me the way.
Thank you for reading.
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