Friday, June 01, 2012
Hello Spark World. I hope you are all doing well. The following blog is a very personal account of a painful part of my childhood.
We've been doing some major home overhauling around here this week. I discovered, with the help of a friend, an amazing website called theflylady.net. Its a great program that helps people who are disorganized, clutter addicts get their lives in order. I have only just started with the program, but its honestly like Spark People for your home.
I grew up in a hoarder home. I didn't realize it at the time, and I know some of you may be thinking that with all the tv shows about hoarders that there is just no way anyone can live that way. Well, like I said I didn't really realize it was a problem at the time. But over the years I have come to realize that a lot of my mother's fears rubbed off on me.
We were never financially stable when my parents were married. Between the time that I was 4 to 9 years old we moved 13 times because of evictions and what not. Most of the time we never took our stuff out of boxes. One year, things got really bad and we lost a lot of our possessions in a storage auction (sometimes I feel like television is mocking my childhood). We actually had to go to the auction to try to buy some of our own stuff back. My mom lost a box that was filled with dozens of personal journals she had been writing since she was 12.
We relied on welfare and the church to provide us with food and clothing. This TERRIFIED my mother who ended up divorcing my father when I was 9 and set out to do her best to take care of my brother and I on her own. Although things stabilized for us, she began to hoard food, clothing, dishes, towels, blankets, toys etc. She was always afraid that one day, we wouldn't have enough.
Mom continues to live her life this way. It makes me very sad. I can't take my daughter over for a visit because her house is unsafe. Its not like the worst ones you see, where people are living in their own filth. Rather, she is the type of hoarder who has piles of things everywhere. She has taken to hoarding books, now that there are no kids in the house. So a visit to her home requires careful navigation of stacks of books, piles of magazines, towers of dishes, mountains of clothes, pantries full to bursting with canned and boxed food.
I have tried over the years to get organized and I often will purge my belongings so I don't end up with a hoard. I try not to let myself get attached to stuff, but just as it is difficult to overcome overeating, its difficult to overcome years of conditioning and fear of losing your "stuff". When we joined the Army we got rid of 50% of our belongings to move to California. It was cathartic. But I've noticed things slowly piling up here and there. I see a pile of dishes in the sink, laundry on the floor, or toys out of place and I get chilling flashbacks. But every time I clean things up, inevitably the mess comes back.
Like I said, this flylady website is like Spark for getting your house in order. Baby steps for getting organized. And I really need that! I need someone to hold my hand and walk me through it til I can find my own way. I finally feel like I have really gotten a handle on my healthier lifestyle and it's prompted me to get other areas of my life healthy.
So, you might notice that I am not here as often. It's not 'cause I am quitting the spark. I am still tracking daily, doing my cardio and strength and what not. But I am trying to spend a little less time on the computer and a little more time getting organized. Plus, with Summer here, we have a lot more family activities going on. My daughter is starting Gymnastics next week and we are participating in the Summer Reading Program at the library. I am going to try to keep checking up on my Spark Friends and encouraging you all in your journey, but I just might not be around quite as much.
Thanks for letting me air my dirty laundry. I guess I needed to get that off my chest. I love the relative anonymity of spark for allowing me to do that. lol.