I Collect, I Do Not Hoard

I don’t watch much TV. I watch football when its on (quite religiously, in fact). I watch Coronation Street during the week (quite religiously, in fact). And I watch The Mentalist when I remember that it’s on (providing Sunday Night Football is a game I am ok with missing). Other than that, the TV is usually off. But now? Now I am hooked. On Hoarders.

I am not sure if hooked is the right word. Fascinated? Yeah. Grossed out? Definitely. Super dee duper intrigued? No question. I’m baffled when I watch this. And now? I want to be a “Hoarding Clean Up Specialist”. Do not mistake that with a Hoarding Therapist. No way. I would SUCK at that because I am 99.99999% sure my reaction to probably everyone would be “You’re just a little fucking crazy.”

I would LOVE to be the one that just goes in there and pulls ALL THAT SHIT out. I’m a fan of transformation. I love before and after photos with a passion, whether it be rooms, bodies, renovations, it doesn’t matter. I’ll watch and be amazed. So to see what these guys do with a home that is to-the-rafters with crap? I love it.

All that love aside, a show like Hoarders begs the question, how the hell does one let their lives and their homes get like that? Now I KNOW I am not a spotless housekeeper, I rarely vacuum or clean the shower or dust, but my home is tidy. If there is a pile of something, it is a tidy pile. If theres a mess in the corner, it is a tidy mess. I may have a stack of magazines but there is a rhyme and reason to it. And its 6 issues high, not busting through into the attic. So how does one let their mind get to a place where towers of boxes or clothes or “stuff” can pile higher than their heads, block exits, overtake an entire room? How does one let their mind get to a place where watching your bed disappear underneath piles of crap covered in rat shit and moldy food becomes an acceptable way to live? To destroy your bathroom, fuck it up so much that your toilet no longer flushes, your sink no longer has water flow? How does one let their mind get to a place where you’re ok with having no where to go to the bathroom and even worse, no where to clean yourself up after going? I’m no clean freak, but I just. Don’t. Get it.

I know, I know, its an imbalance in the brain, its an illness. Yes, I get it, I know that much. But when you don’t live it, its hard to really understand it. At all.

I watched an episode this week where the woman had not had a functioning bathroom for a long time. So she shits and pees in a bucket. And because that bucket gets too heavy to lift, she uses a cup to scoop out some of the mess and puts it into a smaller bucket and then dumps it. In her front yard. And after she has carried this smaller bucket, and let the contents slosh all over her hands on her way outside (because remember, she is navigating a disgusting path of CRAP in order to even get outside), she DOES NOT WASH HER HANDS. And then she eats. With her hands. Her hands that are now covered in fecal matter, as they keep calling it on the show. And she? Thinks this is NORMAL.

I have realized there are two types of hoarders. The type that hoards clean, and the type that hoards filthy. Clean hoarders have piles and pathways, they do their dishes and have running water, and quite often they have a sense of order to their stuff even though their stuff consumes virtually the entire square footage of their home. These are usually the ones that have had a traumatic experience happen in their lives, a death lets say, and they are filling a sadness with buying things in excessive amounts, things they do not need or use but are compelled to just keep bringing it all home. Filthy hoarders seem to have NO CLUE that they are living amongst such filth, that they are sharing their home with families of rats and cockroaches, that their cat has been dead under that pile of newspapers for a year and a half, that bugs and flies are swarming their kitchens like they own them, that they are eating food with dirty hands covered in, well, shit. Or maybe they DO have a clue and they just don’t give a fuck? Their minds are not something I claim to understand in the SLIGHTEST.

I watch this show and feel two things. One? Satisfaction that while I love to collect magazines and notebooks and paper and such, that it is not something that reaches our ceiling or alters our walking route to our fully functioning (and clean) bathroom. And two? The overwhelming urge to clean something.

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