The word hoarder is thrown around a lot these days. In some cases, maybe we should be less casual about using such a strong word, but generally I think it’s good that such a debilitating condition is being talked about so people can get the appropriate help. My parents hold on to a lot of useless stuff, but you can’t really blame the older generations can you. They grew up with so little and worked hard for every one of those broken blenders. I can’t say I’ve ever had this issue; although in earlier years you could barely get into my room or sit in my car, but that was less of a hoarding problem and more because I was a filthy slob. Nowadays, I keep my space efficient and tidy; if I don’t need it, its cut. I wish I could say the same thing about my mind though, it is a mess. I hate to say it, but I think that I am an emotional hoarder.
A few weeks ago, while performing a regular email cleanse, I came across a folder where I had saved all of the emails from my most recent romantic entanglement. To be fair, it’s been a while and I am now friends with this person. However, contained within this folder, which had been saved on my account for nearly two years, were hundreds of emails; conversations that I cannot even remember, raging arguments, and some emails that were only a few words. Why was I holding on to these? There was no important information contained in there. It’s not as if I was ever going to read them. It’s not as if I was performing an autopsy on this failed relationship or conducting research for the next one – really, I promise, I wasn’t. The more I thought about it the more it disturbed me. Ok, then what am I doing with this folder? And, as mad as I was getting with myself, why had I still not deleted it? This sparked the little mouse in my head to start spinning the wheel, and I began to think more about letting go. It sounds so simple, seems so obviously the right thing to do, so why couldn’t I just let go. They were, after all, just emails.
The interesting thing about holding on to old feelings – alienation, rejection, inadequacy – is that they follow you around everywhere. You can ignore them or try to suppress them and they may subside, but they don’t disappear. Or worse, you may be subconsciously coping by faking elation, going numb while your mind takes you elsewhere, or even getting drunk and promiscuous. If you’re thinking this all sounds pretty specific, yes, I speak from experience and not qualification. And yes, I’m nuts. What’s most annoying is thinking that I am the only one affected by baggage. Everybody around me seems to be getting along just fine. Surely I cannot be the only one struggling. And I guess that’s the point isn’t it. Whatever it is that I am dealing with, it has nothing to do with anybody else. They may have their bags that I cannot see. But this is just me, holding on. Whether I continue to hold on or not, life around me continues. Does this mean it is entirely within my control. Can it be as simple as making a decision and letting go. It is a lot easier said than done but maybe by clearing out the clutter in my head, I will be making room for something better. Just like the people we see on television, maybe I get sweet new furniture in the deal.
For the record, I have now officially deleted this folder and my email account is the tidiest and most efficient it has ever been. But more importantly, I feel lighter. It’s as if something I didn’t even realize was there has been lifted off of me. Perhaps this is step one in the right direction. Or maybe it was just deleting a dumb folder off an email account and it doesn’t mean anything. You can choose to look at it either way. I see it as a milestone of an achievement – one I may refer back to for years to come when I am making vital life decisions. No, in all honesty, I will completely forget all about this. But for now, yay me 🙂