“Hoarding: Buried Alive” on TLC
Yesterday, I told you to remind me about the lady on the train and Hoarders. I’ll spare you the crochet lady for today, and jump right into Hoarders.
The night before, I actually watched TV at a friend’s house while working on the cowl and while he pretty much slept soundly stretched out next to me. What can I say? I apparently have a very relaxing presence. Or maybe I’m just super dull…
Either way, I flicked through channels (such a strange experience) until I stumbled across TLC. Now, I don’t know what it is but, TLC is turning into my favorite channel the very rare times I find myself watching television. I just tend to find so many of their shows interesting even though I can’t help but feel like maybe they’re somewhat exploitive at times. But I get past the guilty thing because I think they do a good job of capturing some things as honestly as they can get in TV land. Take “Hoarding: Buried Alive” for instance. This is one show I always feel is somewhat exploitive because these people are in some way damaged. Hoarding is an expression of an emotional disturbance or downright mental illness. At the same time, they, supposedly, do their part to get these people some level of help. But either way, I was sitting on my couch, trapped under a pair of man legs, curious about my cowl, and decided television wasn’t such a bad thing in that situation, and “Hoarding” drew me in. I ended up watching (mostly) two episodes which tracked three people total. It got too late before I finished the second one.
However, I watched enough to learn the common denominator in the three hoarders was the reason they hoarded—security through barriers. All three of these people went through an extremely difficult time, or times, in their lives, found relief in acquiring, and then found further relief in being surrounded, but were absolutely distressed about releasing. And it really does scratch the surface on why we acquire in the first place. I really think one can delve much deeper into this and apply it to a broader range of people (hint, hint TLC) because I think this pretty much is the heart of all consumerism.
We acquire and retain not just to provide for ourselves and/or our loved ones, but also to show others we can do so. I feel this is simply programmed into our human spirits. It was always about who had more cattle, more wives, more this, that, and the other. So we all seem to acquire for the same basic reason—satisfying a perceived or real need. And here alone you find a broad range as to how people classify wants and needs and how things change from wants to needs in the first place. But what happens next, I think, is where people really diverge. To retain or to discard becomes the question. Waste not, want not versus burn, baby, burn. The spectrum is wide and people fall all over the place. For me, I’m interested in being in the middleish. Like everyone else, in varying degrees, I enjoy acquiring things; but, there are some things I enjoy acquiring more than others, some things I like holding onto more than others, some things I wish I could make last longer than they do, and some things I have no issue getting rid of—either to make way for a replacement or to simply just make space. My heart goes out to these people who simply can’t let go. I’ve been there, but not to such an extreme level. At the same time, I also have discovered letting go can be learned and appreciated so I wish them well and send lots of encouragement their way and to anyone else struggling with acquiring versus releasing.
Somewhere along the line, we have lost respect for our possessions—what they’re true intended uses are and what they are truly meant to symbolize—and are therefore less selective about what and how we acquire. When your things are being stepped on, shoved to a corner, collapsing under the weight of other things, or disappearing under layers of dust, you are not showing them and yourself the respect they deserve. And there is a limit to how much any one person can truly care for. Once you reach that max, you need to stop adding. If you’ve exceeded the max, it’s time to start reducing and to keep reducing until you truly feel you have something manageable.
This is where I’m at right now. I over-acquired and am in the process of letting go and letting go some more until I feel, “This, I can handle.” I don’t think I’m there just yet, but I do feel that I am getting closer. I am now more selective and conscious of my acquiring process, generally moving slower and more deliberately. We take in everything around us every second of every day, and I’m tired of taking things in that make my eyes roll while suppressing a groan and forcing back a headache. I want to be able to have as many things as I can respect and therefore enjoy. It is my precious time and energy that goes into acquiring these things, I should show myself a little respect in maintaining them. There is a major difference between materialism and object appreciation. I maintain there is nothing wrong with having things as long as you can appreciate them and care for them—all of them. Think about the object buried in a corner under a mountain of other objects. Is that object appreciated or even used? Of course not. So, it doesn’t belong in your home and that’s that. There are other people in this world who would appreciate or use such an object. You are denying that person the opportunity to do so by keeping it in a dark and dusty place or hidden by hundreds of other objects.
Here is the thing to remember—getting rid of things and acquiring them, these days, are equally easy. It takes work to acquire so don’t bemoan the work it takes to discard. Just be patient, with you and your things, and you’ll see how it all starts to click quite nicely. Even now, as I sit here typing this, my brain is bringing forth all sorts of things that sit unused, untouched, unnecessary in a drawer, a box, a bin, a bag in my home. Even as I type this, I cringe just a bit at the thought of getting rid of some of them and why? Because I fear I will one day want or need them and won’t be able to replace them. But they were so easy to come by in the first place and I know, in the deepest part of me, they will be easy to replace the day that want or need surfaces. I know it, but I don’t want to admit it because in a way, it’s hard to admit these things came into my house recklessly in the first place. They were overindulgences, plain and simple. Many were bought without specific purpose and funded with money I did not have (and am still paying exorbitant interest on). Some of these things are brand-spanking new, unopened, untouched, unappreciated. But, in the end, I listen to the logical rational voice telling me it’s totally ok to let them go and it’s going to better for me and others in the end anyways.
So, now you know what I’ll be up to this weekend. There will be no shelf-building as Ex has informed me I won’t see a dime from him until some point in the middle of the month (maybe). There’s no way I can risk spending a dollar that isn’t absolutely necessary in these circumstances. So, instead, I will be going through more of my things, setting them aside for someone else to use and appreciate, and taking the time to show some of the things I do keep a little bit of appreciation and care. What will you be doing?