What I Wear Now (Right Now)

I was watching a fascinating program the other day on T.V. called 'Hoarders'. It's a show on the Bio channel (don't judge me) that aims to help hoarders clean up their homes and also deal with the mental health issues causing the hoarding in the first place.

It may sound unethical to put someone on television with mental health issues and let other people watch them, however, at least this program is trying to help. And there are some programs that put those with mental health issues on T.V. without trying to help them – which is pretty bad, in my opinion. Also, if someone watches a program like this and it encourages them to get help for any type of anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder that they are suffering from, it can only be a good thing. Right?

Laying aside whether or not I should have been watching this program, it really made me think about the way I deal with stuff. Objects. Things.

Hoarding is a real risk for me. As an anxious person, I do feel particularly attached to things, especially those that have sentimental value. I also just like having stuff. Especially extra stuff. Just in case I need it.

I'm determined to fight it, particularly as I get older, which is apparently when hoarding gets worse. Also, I feel surprisingly great when clutter is gone.

Apparently, like anything in life, there's a real spectrum of hoarders. From people who just have a lot of stuff (perhaps classified as the 'cluttery sort'), to those who literally keep garbage. The latter is considered a 'Stage 5' and often they are health risk to themselves and those around them.

Also, people generally can be prone to hoarding, but it is traumatic events in their life that cause it to get out of control. I was particularly struck by one woman on the program whose hoarding had worsened after she gave birth to a still-born son. One of the professionals on the show explained to the viewer that she was using hoarding as a coping mechanism. She was surrounding herself with things that were a part of her past or things she had bought for the future – but that she was no longer allowing herself to live in the present. 

This really hit home for me. That's exactly what excess stuff is really about. It's the embodiment of what, in my mind, is living in fear and misery. Being stuck in the past or the future and now allowing ourselves to experience the here and now.

I was in our spare bedroom last night looking at a blue fleece I had taken out of one of our closets. And I thought, "I don't wear that fleece anymore," but yet I had folded up to put up in the attic with the rest of my winter clothes. So why was I planning to keep it?

My Mom bought that fleece for me. It's a good brand. And I have a very fond memory of wearing it to visit my aunt in Holland, about a year and a half before she died of cancer. I know because there's a picture she took of me in the main square in Haarlem, smiling and wearing the blue fleece.

But I don't wear it anymore. Which made me think: what if I got rid of all the clothes I don't wear, right now, at this moment, no matter what the reason?

It was one of those moments, where your vision is clear and you can see the issue for what it is.

Getting rid of everything I don't wear would mean no longer having that yellow dress I once wore so much and wish I could still fit into. And the bridesmaid's dress from my friend's wedding in 2005. It would mean shedding all those things I keep 'just in case'.

Could I do it? I don't know. I'm kind of scared, but also completely exhilarated by the idea. I just might try it – I'll let you know.

Related Posts:

No comments

Back to Top