I come from a long line of hoarders.
My grandmother in particular was a hoarder to the level that you will rarely experience outside of the world of reality TV. A three bedroom home filled with several lifetime’s memorabilia, memories interspliced with folded sheets and towels, photographs and embroidered doilies. Beer cans a dozen years out of date surround the bills once black and now read.
There’s a sort of poetry to hoarding, a clinical nature to it that feeds into a sense of organisation. Some people spend their lives searching for things, where’s my phone? Have you seen Joe’s school shoes? When did the house get so empty? But not my Nan, she knew where everything was. The stuff had replaced the many voices within her home and she gave every item the love of a person. Memories.
I’m an overpacker. I have to have options and be organised enough to see what those options may be. I pack for every eventuality. I start with the best intentions – but as the suitcase fills – So too does the metaphorical weight of not having a raincoat, spare underwear (or 10), or a just in case pair of trainers.
“Just in case” is common amongst my hoarding brethren. Not being able to comprehend what would happen if you didn’t have those extra items in your life. The inconvenience of being buried beneath a wall of Nick-Nacks, balances the loneliness of the empty space.
Knowing what I do, you would think it would be easy for me to push this aside with logic, but the reality is, that it isn’t easy at all. The thing is – hoarding comes from a legitimate place. It means well. But in reality, it hides what is at its core – the part that can be damaging to us.
So maybe next time, will be the time when I realise that enough is enough, and I will pack no more than is necessary. And maybe it won’t. It’s strange that in my mind holidays and my grandmother are so interlinked even though I can’t remember a single holiday we went on together. Maybe I’m filling the cases with objects because I don’t have the memories in my mind. I don’t think I fully dealt with the emotional baggage of losing my Grandmother. Time has passed items are kept and memories are made…
Things, object, chachkis are great. But memories are way better.
I wish she was here.