Hoarding: A Frowned Upon Hobby

by Sneha

My name is Sneha, and I am a hoarder. Now, I’m sure you immediately thought of the TV show so let me be clear, no I don’t have piles and piles of junk against every wall of my apartment and there’s no fishy smell. However, I do have a lot I could get rid of; the worst part is that I not only hoard things but I also hoard people. Let me explain.

Let’s agree on one thing, in moderation, it’s not a bad thing. It’s not like a drug addiction and I’m not hurting anyone right? For example, I have a “memory box;” ok it’s more like a huge chest which the last moving crew had a hard time carrying. Then there are a few random boxes of clothes that are no longer in style or purses I’ll never use, but you never know, they could come back! Ok, ok, I hear you. I know I need a major spring cleaning. I blame my mom. Both of us own quite a collection of “stuff” (at least she has a garage) and we have a fetish: collecting storage containers like bags, bottles, boxes, clutches, coin purses, you name it. And what do you do with these containers, you fill them! The Container Store is actually one of my favorite stores; I curse the store’s creator.

Now how is it unhealthy? I can’t let go. (yes I hear it too, the song from Frozen) Everything I keep has a memory attached. It can be my grandmother’s favorite sweater I took when she passed away to something stupid like the plastic beer cup from my first time at Wurstfest. Good news is that I am getting better and recently donated 2 huge piles of clothes that no longer fit AND I recycled old flower vases I had gotten in high school. Progress.

Letting go of things is hard but letting go of people is harder and necessary. We hold onto more than we realize: hate, pain, sadness, and regret. There comes a point when you realize that letting go is crucial to happiness and health. There are some people that just hold such a huge part of your heart and past that it’s scary to let them go. If you let them go, will you lose that part of your life, those memories, the happiness that you once felt? I grew up in a huge family; we saw each other too frequently and were insanely close. I was so lucky to grow up with so many people I loved, adored and respected. But that just makes me realize how vulnerable we are at such an early age. We let people in blindly; not knowing how much influence they can have on our lives.

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But what happens when someone close to you hurts you? As a child (and adolescent) I was upset and didn’t know how to deal. Now that I look back I see how we all have people who we were once close to who we just can’t seem to forgive or forget. Was it the good times and happiness that we don’t want lose or is it the evil inside us that seeks revenge? Either way, the only one who’s still hurting is you! I look around and realize that these relationships and its demise affect my personality and my view on life, love and death in such a profound way that it’s time to re-assess. People hurt you, but it’s not your job to make it right. I’ve realized that all I can do is love and care. That’s it. It’s every person’s decision to love you back. We expect it in return and that’s when we get hurt. It’s human nature but how is it that we end up hurting ourselves by loving others? I’ve accepted the fact that people come into my life at a certain point for some particular reason, I may never know. Their presence is important for that period of my life and forces out of my control may take them away. I can miss them, I can be angry or confused but at the end, it’s my decision to let go, allow them to live their chosen lives and be happy with the memories I have. Why do we keep this pain or resentment? Are such attachments what make us human and connect us emotionally or are we just weak and unable to live enriched lives in the moment versus living/dwelling in the past?

I know what you’re thinking: easier said than done. So I leave you with what my grandfather told me years ago: If you don’t have any expectations, then you’ll never get hurt. It makes sense but is it humanly possible?

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