Friday, May 16, 2008

Hidden Danger...

Did you know it's dangerous to read stranger's blogs? Not dangerous as in "watch out, you might hurt yourself" or "someone crazy is going to hunt you down and.."

O.k. maybe dangerous isn't even the word i'm looking for.

What I'm trying to get at is that reading people's blogs that you don't even know (and even people you do know) gives you a false sense of reality. You read what they write, see the pictures they post and you think you know them. You think that perfect little world that you are witnessing really exists. Those happy smiling faces staring out from the computer screen say it all.

And then you start to ask yourself... why am I not like that? Should I be more like that? What am I doing wrong? You find yourself making comparisons... and when you do this, you cannot win.

Because no one really tells it how it is. Sure they might tell you about the mess the kids made and they might talk about sleepless nights and unfolded laundry, but the tales are usually told with just a hint of humor. And there are always the pictures, and the pictures "never" lie.

Nobody puts bad pictures on their blogs (o.k. the pictures may be bad -as in poor quality - but you get what i'm saying). Because a picture really is worth a thousand words. The hundred or so words they used to describe their "terrible" day is always followed up with, or sandwiched between pictures of smiling children, laughing parents, and always in the background are snippets of clean houses.

Yes, I notice these things... so do you. I just do it consciously and you probably do it subconsciously. It's funny because growing up my Mom took lots of pictures. And I look at them and smile knowingly. Not because of what you can see, but because of what you can't see. You can't see that just out of the frame is a pile of junk that just got pushed a little higher so it wouldn't be in the picture. You look at us in the picture with our cute smiling faces and our flushed cheeks and you presume we just took a break from our play to pose for the camera. What you don't know is the fact that we just spent the last 5 minutes making a small space near the curtains or wall presentable enough for the picture. As a result, most of the pictures we have (at least inside) are posed. We don't have any of those spontaneous "oh that's so cute, I had better get out the camera" moments (at least not inside anyway).

You see, even at a young age, I was being taught that the way I lived wasn't acceptable to others. So I pushed the piles out of the way and I posed for the camera. And that's how it still is. Although the piles aren't there in a literal sense, I still have to push them out of the way and make my self presentable to others. I feel like a fraud...

Double Identity...

In the interest of time (and because I still need to get over to Mom's and take those pics), I am going to copy a post I left on my Children of Hoarders message board a while ago. I feel that it is the most accurate description of my daily life that I can give you right now...

March 20th, 2008
My sister and I were trying to talk through some of our issues as children of a serious hoarder the other day and we came upon something we hadn't consciously realized before. We both realized that we have similar problems with our "true identity". For example, let's say someone knocks on my front door, I instinctively feel that familiar panic - oh no someone's here. Then I remember, I don't live with Mom anymore (relief), next I look around and see that things actually look O.K. (not perfect, so I'll stress a little about it later -but no way in H*LL am I going to make up random excuses and look like my Mom) so I let the "someone" in and have a little visit or whatever. Doesn't sound too bad, right? Here's the kicker though, after the visitor leaves I am RELIEVED that they didn't see the "REAL ME". Even though I'm not a hoarder like my Mother and I don't save stupid things like yogurt containers by the hundreds and I'm probably only as messy as a "normal" mother of 4 little ones, I don't feel normal. Rather, I am counting my lucky stars that the visitor came on a good day.

A lot of the time I feel as though I am watching my life happening from across the room, like I shouldn't be allowed to live that normal part. If someone compliments me on my beautiful home and how I have done such a great job decorating it, I thank them, but secretly I know that it's just luck it looks that way and thank goodness they don't know the truth about me (which is what??? That I have unfolded laundry downstairs and that makes me a bad person?), why can't I just live my life now? I don't know if this is making any sense at all to you, but when my sis and I were discussing it, we were floored that we both felt the same way...which is that we are sort of living two lives all the time, and the good one (the one where things get done and are organized and we are smart capable women) is the one that feels like a sham.

I just feel that I am always on the verge of being "found out". I feel that "nice things" are not my right or privilege, like I don't deserve them really. So if I happen to have nice things, it feels as if I am just borrowing them or maybe just visiting - like at a hotel or someone else's home. If I manage to get some organization in my own home, deep down I know that it will never last and so I can't enjoy it for what it is (everyday life)-instead I focus on the mess that must inevitabely follow and how will I ever keep up...

Thanks for dropping by! Just a quick note: I have been receiving emails from people who would like my permission to put this blog on their blogroll and I say go ahead! Since this is my "secret" blog (at this point I haven't even told my hubby about it) I have been unsure about how to get it out there for people to read. But it seems to be working all the same!