not so secret life

Although I started this blog anonymously, not sure where it would take me, it has quickly become a public conversation piece when we go out. I am currently on a research sabbatical and when I see colleagues out in the open, so to speak, they want to know what I’ve been working on. Telling them about the painful editing and staring at notes and computer screen does not make compelling conversation. Telling them I’m battling my hoarding tendencies does.

We accepted a rare invitation to a cocktail party on Saturday. When I made my way into the kitchen to refill my glass and talk with a different group of people, one of my colleagues said, “So I heard about your blog…”

“So you know about my hoarding?” I asked.

“Sure, I heard all about your bags of bay leaves and sumac that sat in the cupboard for years.”

It is both an entertaining and startling conversation starter. Last week at lunch two people went into a long dialogue about the worst hoarders they had ever seen. I believe they were talking about television programs, but I was drifting in and out of their words. Perhaps they were talking about their own homes? Unlikely.

The ability to share what I’m confronting elicits a strong reaction and sometimes a grotesque fascination with what’s in the hoard. It’s also a bit of coming out and making myself accountable for what I bring into the house. The fact remains, though, as much as I have collected, stored, and forgotten, I am not living in a pile of clutter in 80% of my living space. For as much as I struggle, I know I have largely succeeded. If I’m able to talk about my tendencies, it’s largely because I’ve already won.

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