Monday, October 27, 2008


The first step is admitting the problem

The Collyer Brother's Home

It is no secret that in the past I have referred to myself as a self described OCD person. OR, that I was sinking into a grey gardens lifestyle. I truly believe that I was on my way to becoming one of those people who needed an intervention. Like maybe, by the grace of God, Oprah or TLC would show up at my door with some tough love. I had reached a place where I was feeling overwhelmed by all my stuff and I just couldn’t deal with it so I ignored it. But, also I couldn’t get rid of it. I have a history of getting rid of things only to seriously need them the next week. So, I got where I just didn’t get rid of stuff. Plus, I think I somewhat had a notion that my stuff was part of who I am… it was like my identity. But, the truth is, I lived in fear of people stopping in without warning and all my stuff had become suffocating. I’ve been talking to God about it for quite a while. It was on my list of miracles needed. Before my trip to Philly, I never would have considered being Little Edie for Halloween because I honestly had a fear of actually becoming Little Edie… just perhaps with a slightly different twist on fashion. And I had this weird fascination with the Collyer Brothers. And as a single person I somewhat feared that maybe one day I’d die and people wouldn’t be able to find me because I’d be buried in magazines, shopping bags, and coat hangers in the middle of my bedroom floor… hidden. Sort of like what happened with Langley Collyer. I don’t want that to happen.

But, then I went to Philly and for whatever reason when I came back home I just started cleaning out junk. It’s an absolute miracle and answer to prayer. I’m not putting pressure on myself… I’m not even setting goals for fear that I lose whatever it is that has inspired me to get rid of my stuff. It’s like that Episode of AbFab where Saffy has a date and Edina makes Patsy tip-toe around and whispers “don’t frighten Saffy!” That’s how I feel. I don’t want to bring back that overwhelmed feeling and give up. I must accept my baby steps.

I’ve managed to get my house to a somewhat better junky state. One I feel is akin to a normal person’s junky state…not Collyer Brother like at all. I’ve got miles and miles to go but “shhhh” I’m tip-toeing around that fact. So far, I’ve cleaned out lots of clothes and lots of trinkets that had previously just been sitting around. I’ve got surfaces people! Surfaces that I can easily dust. Praise God! I boxed up most of my ALA books to take to the library for their store. (That was about 75 – 100 books that previously sat in bags and stacks in my living room) I’ve got a box of CDs waiting to be taken to a CD store for resale. And, the best part has been going through all my old videos. Some of the videos were movies I had bought… But, many of them were just things I had kept unlabeled. The videos are sort of like boxes of chocolate. I’d put one in the VCR and I never knew what I was going to get. I’ve found some great stuff. I found Letterman’s 10th anniversary special. I found an interview of Jason Bateman on the Late Show with Craig Kilborn. I found old PBS specials on Gershwin and Sondheim. Previously, I would not have been able to get rid of that stuff. But, now, I simply watch the stuff then trash the tape. I’ve realized that I cannot be held responsible for archiving television. I’ve trashed about 50 unlabeled video tapes – Go Me! Previously, I had considered asking Santa to buy me the remaining season’s of the X-Files. I already own seasons 1 -4. And, I enjoy watching TV on DVD… but this is what I’ve realized. Netflix is my library. I can get whatever I want from them. As long as I’m a member, there is no need for me to dedicate my precious shelf space to TV on DVD. That was a Spunky inspired decision. She’s been doing that for years… only; I’ve just recently understood and accepted it for my own home. Materials entering into my home are under much more scrutiny than they once were. I’ve realized that perhaps I really was a girl with a problem and problems should be respected, right? I’ve told some of my friends … you don’t serve alcohol to alcoholics… don’t give stuff to a hoarder. If you want to get me something... and you aren’t sure what to get, consider giving me time – hang out with me at a movie or dinner or get me gift cards that can be used responsibly. If you give me stuff… please know that I’m a girl with a problem and I may not be able to commit to keeping it for long for fear of suffocating. Now, I still think that some of the best gifts are those that you wouldn’t necessarily get for yourself or quirky things. I’d still appreciate such things… I never would have understood the glory of glitter without such gifts. I’m just saying, I admit I have a problem.

But, I’m recovering. Thank you God!

*silently acknowledges that Lulalu is doing a wonderful, difficult, exciting thing*
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