Monday, May 26, 2008

Heaven and Hell...

I want to try something a little different today.

I'm going to tell you about my Mom. But it's not what you're thinking...

I want you to know a little more about her than the one aspect, hoarding, for which I have dedicated this blog.

I want you to see that hoarders are people too. There is more to them than just the mess that you can see.

My Mom is kind, in fact she's just plain sweet. She's one of those people who others would find it difficult to dislike. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body.

She is honest. In fact, she refuses to lie. It's funny when she is trying to keep a secret (like what she is giving you for your birthday or something along those lines) if you confront her, she gets this deer in the headlights look and tries to avert the question. It makes me laugh every time.

If you need something my Mom will drop everything to take care of you. In a crisis, she is the person to have around.

She is an amazing Grandma. She goes out of her way to make all her grandchildren feel special. When she babysits, she has a special bag filled with things for the kids and they LOVE it.

My Mom is very religious. She is a big believer in prayer and I have seen her prayers work miracles. She is never short on faith.

When I was growing up, my Mom stayed home to be with us kids. She baked homemade bread and she sewed our clothes to save money. My Dad was a schoolteacher and never made a lot of money, but we always managed because my Mom was determined to do what she felt was right in raising her children. I admire her courage and respect her decision as I now look back with a new perspective as a mother myself.

There is so much more that I can't put on this page, but I just wanted you to see that hoarders are not bad people.

Of course, that just makes it all the more confusing growing up the way I did..

You see it don't you? The problem?

Here is this practically angelic mother trying to teach us about honesty and other important life lessons, trying her very best to give us everything she felt we needed, all the while living in an environment that can only be described as hellish.

And therein lies the issue...

A picture of the kitchen counter... or maybe it's more a picture of what's on the kitchen counter.

It's all about your point of view...

I've been contemplating what to post today and I'm having difficulties. Not because I'm having trouble coming up with anything to write about. On the contrary, I just have so much in my head I'm finding it difficult to sort out just one topic.

My sister and I talk daily. Not always about hoarding (thank goodness), but it does come up quite a bit as we are both working our way through the issues that come with growing up the way we did.

I always find it interesting that she and I see things so differently. We can be discussing the same incident in our past and find that it affected us each in a different way.

For example, I "like" to go in and do the clean outs at Mom's (when she isn't there). When I see the huge mess in front of me and I know that the one obstacle to clearing it is out of the way (my Mom), I feel energized! I dig in and as I throw things out, I feel purged, refreshed...

I just feel good. I know that as the clean up goes on I will tire of it, but I will use humor to get past that. I know that eventually my Mom will come home and freak out and just end up messing it all up again, but I feel justified. I feel like I've made a difference.

On the other hand, my Sister (whom I always drag there to be with me) looks at it and she feels something else entirely. Anxiety starts to kick in, she starts to panic she says she wants to scream and cry and never come back again. She starts to feel hate towards my Mom and the way we were raised. She always says she can't take it and swears she will never do it again.

It happens that way every time and I just don't get it. But I guess, she doesn't get me, either.

I think it's interesting that we were raised in the same house, with the same mother, and for the most part (we are just two years apart) experienced the same things. Yet, we ended up so unalike. That's not to say that we don't have similarities, because we do. But we each reacted differently to the hoard.

And that's made all the difference.

I'm toying with the idea of recording our phone conversations on hoarding and posting them on here weekly (with my Sister's permission). I just haven't figured out how to make that work yet.