My life has been no different as I look back over the past 12 months. The exceptional challenge for me was the health crisis that almost cost me my life this summer, and one I am still bouncing back from... but I am here, and physically, I am doing GREAT. (Although I need to lay off the weight gain now that I am above what my doctor demanded...the holiday season cookies are too good to me!) Work has been a fight for absolute survival of my organization, and it seems that we often are our own largest problem. But that is a different blog for a different source.
So... what is the purpose of this blog entry? I am continuing my internal inventory and review, because I do not want to get trapped in horrible patterns that I was groomed for by my hoarding mother and the enabling role of my father, (intentionally or not). I do not want to do the same things over and over, expecting a different outcome. I wholeheartedly agree with Albert Einstein that this is the definition of insanity. I also do not want to slip off the balance of owning my own stuff, and learning from my experiences versus taking on responsibility that is not mine... especially for issues related to the hoard and hoarding. I do not want to 'victim blame' myself, but yet I do not want to give myself the 'get out of jail free' card [a Monopoly game reference for those who have not played] because I have survived such abuse. Wearing a 'V' like a badge of honor has never been my style.
From the experiences of this year, and many of the adverse experiences have come in my complicated yet partially estranged relationship with my hoarding mother. It has been hard, no... hell. But there are lessons learned there as well. What I do not want to be. Keeping a healthy balance and protecting my boundaries. A healthy level of introspection yet being able to keep my focus on the bigger picture, keeping focused on the present and the future. I see what staying immersed in the past does...
Do I have lessons to learn still? ABSOLUTELY! I am still learning to be willing to be vulnerable, to show that vulnerability with those who care about me, and to truly be more open. I am learning to trust a little easier. I want to thin my thick, tough 'armadillo skin' a bit. (And part of that has been my work as well... but... not what I want to happen to me!)
If hoarding gave me anything, it gave me the resilience and the 'toughness' to take whatever is thrown my way by life, by circumstances, or by my own choices. I know I can, because I have. I know I will succeed eventually, because bluntly, I have never had the luxury to fail and not find a way around it.
I have also seen what lack of self care does. It may not cause illness, but it allows it to become something huge. This can be 'illness' in the physical, emotional, relationship, or whatever-else realm. I did not learn that lesson the first few times around. After this summer, I may not get another chance if I abuse myself the way that I did.
I look to 2014 as a new opportunity to consistently practice what I have learned in the past 44 years, but especially, the past 12 months.
And my hoarding mother? She regards the new year with apprehension and fear... as future 'opportunity lost'. What a terrifying perspective, and a truly sad and sick one.
I quote this most every year, and misquote it badly... but one of my favorite movies is 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' with Geena Davis and at their holiday/New Year's celebration a toast is made that is to the effect of "May the best of your past be the worst of your future." In the spirit of wishing you a Happy New Year that is full of the folks and experiences you value, I wish you the best in 2014 and forward. And I wish it for me too. And I will work hard to make it a reality.
Thank you for reading, and more 'From the Mouth of a Hoarder' will be coming in the upcoming days and weeks. She has been on a roll...
Hoarding... No one wins... But maybe I don't have to lose, either. Not anymore.