Monday, January 20, 2014

Confessions of a Hoarder: When You Own Someone Else's Mess ...

One thing we hoarders go through is not owning up to our own messes. We see them, but we don't SEE them, know what I mean? We live with them because, well, they've always been there. They give us a little bit of comfort because we know that in all likely hood that pile of clothes over there will never hurt us (well ... In some cases it could fall over on top of us and probably crush us to death ...).

That's not to say we DON'T take ownership for anything ... On the contrary. We do.
But when we take ownership, it's for a MESS THAT IS NOT OURS.

My dish over there? It's fine. It's not hurting anything.
My daughter's dish over there? Mega freak out moment. Then blaming myself for not reminding her to take it to the sink - which is filled with dishes anyway that haven't gotten done which is my fault again because I've been trying to reorganize the kids' room - and it's my fault their room is messy because I didn't get rid of a handful of legos two weeks ago last Tuesday ...

See what I mean? That's how our minds work.

Another example:

My husband has one job to do. The reason I've only given him one job is because he works for a living - and I mean WORKS. He spends every day hunched over a desk with a magnifying glass and sometimes a microscope building wiring harnesses for airplane manufacturers. It is certainly not some cushy desk job where he sits in a comfy chair playing solitaire all day. He works really hard. So I don't mind him only having to do one thing. When he gets home from work - some day - there will only be his one thing to do.

That one thing? Taking out the trash.

Now some have asked me why I don't just do it myself. Well, there's two great answers to that. One, because half the time I can't lift the bag out of the trash can and carry it down the back steps to the ginormous trash bin in our back yard. What can I say? I'm a weakling. Second, my amazing, wonderful, darling hubby insists on having SOMETHING to do to help out. So, there you have it.

Now I need to preempt this next story by making something abundantly clear: My husband is a wonderful, amazing man. He is an amazing daddy and God's perfect chosen one for my heart. We are like Forrest and Jenny: "We go together like peas and carrots". He is my love, my heart, and my lifeline and without him I would be a giant pile of mush. This is NOT a post to pick on him.

There. That's done.
Now ...
Sometimes, my wonderful, adoring, darling husband forgets to do his job.
Sometimes he forgets for DAYS.
And then the dogs get into it. Like they did this morning.
And my mind says this:

"Oooh, poor dogs, maybe they didn't have enough food last night or they got bored? I better pick this up. IT'S MY FAULT IT'S LIKE THIS ANYWAY ..." I had to physically stop myself on that one. WHO'S fault is it? It's NOT my fault it's there - it's my husband's fault (forgive me love of my life!!). This is HIS job that didn't get done. When I don't do the dishes, we don't have anything to eat off of. When I don't do laundry, we don't have any clothes to wear. And when he doesn't take out the trash, trash has nowhere to go and gets torn up by the dogs on the kitchen floor. Before today, I would never have said that. I would have belittled and beat myself up over it. Today, I was able for the first time to pass ownership over to the person it belonged to. And what a relief it is!

So how does one get over this? HOW do you quit taking the blame and let it ride where it belongs? Practice, dear ones. Lots and lots of practice. And prayer. LOTS and LOTS of prayer. God has shown me many revelations over the years. And this is one of the most recent.

Say it with me:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hi, I'm Jen. And I'm a Hoarder ...

I never wanted to admit it.
I fought it for years, but it's time to finally come clean.
I am a hoarder.

Papers, books, clothes ... You name it.
But the problem is, I hoard other people's things rather than my own.
When it comes to my stuff, I have no problem getting rid of it.
When it comes to other people's stuff, however ...

I have to come to the realization that I am not responsible for someone else's memories.
They're not MY memories, they're THEIR memories.
I had nothing to do with that statuette or that book or that slip of paper. It's not my problem, and it shouldn't be.

Another issue I have is that I can't seem to throw away papers.
WHY?? Most of these I'll never use again.
Manuals - you can find copies of almost every one of them online.
Bills - you only need one copy of each bill until you pay it ... Then it's time to chunk it.
Kids' art - I have a photo album for those.
Movies, games, books ... - If I'm never going to read, play or watch them, why keep them?

It's a process. It's a huge process.
I can say I AM getting better.
Hopefully it will continue to improve as time goes on ...