Am I a hoarder or just obese & exhausted?
Updated: Sep 12
This post is about three things:
My shopping addiction
How obesity affects housekeeping
The ways grief and hoarding are tied together
(1) I’ve always been mildly obsessed with my clothes, I guess because my body was never up to snuff I decided to gift wrap it to make it acceptable to the masses.
I figured this out in junior high school. I always loved dressing up, and Mom was a kick-ass seamstress, so my wardrobe was much more expansive than the typical jeans and tee shirts that most of the kids wore. All of a sudden I was no longer called Tub-of-Lard by the other kids. I was accepted as one of them as well as someone to be admired.
Next, when I was older in late high school, I figured out that dressing with a bit of sexiness would draw certain men like flies to honey (the ones who like a chubby girl). My Dad used to say that in college I majored in boys and minored in beer. He wasn’t too far off base so getting attention from the opposite sex was a priority.
Let me say that I don’t mean that in a slutty way. Just little things like wearing a tee shirt with a scoop neck rather than a crew neck is sexy. Or wearing flats instead of loafers shows a sense of sexiness. Cute cut-off jeans shorts are worth their weight in gold because they can make even an oversized sweat shirt sexy.
So, as an obese woman, I shop like a crazy person to make myself look nice. I have piles of clothes, some with the tags still on them, and don't get me started on the shoes. I have walk-in closets to put all this crap in, but the problem is having the energy to do it.
(2) I've weighed in at around 360 for the last few years. I'm basically already carrying around and extra 200+ pounds, so picking up a bunch of clothes to take them either upstairs to our bedroom or downstairs to the laundry room is near impossible. And lord help me if I have to do both in the same day. I'm out for the count.
On top of that, we just have STUFF everywhere. Bagged up garbage that's ready to go out. My husband's music accoutrements (he's a clarinetist and composer for video games). Dirty dishes are commonplace because my kitchen sink (and dishwasher) was out of commission for at least a year - not sure exactly how long - and we put off getting it fixed, not for lack of money, but out of embarrassment on how bad our house looked.
We bit the bullet and got some stuff repaired after my hospital stay in December. But the mess and grossness is still embarrassing so we hesitate to hire help. We had two small dogs, both of which have passed, so there's regular dog mess and our little girl had seizures where she would pee on the carpet on the landing of our stairs. I've tried to clean it, but it really needs to be torn out and replaced.
And believe it or not, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I want it all done correctly and all done at one time. There is no way on god's green earth that I could pull that off, even with help, in less than five days. More like weeks because I have a five-bedroom house and every room is full of stuff, stuff, and more stuff!
(3) Grief is a massive mental burden when one loses a loved one, or something of significance like a job, home, friend, etc. I've had a series of years that fit the saying, "When it rains, it pours." I can trace back from when my house went to slightly messy to abhorrent. It was in early 2016, almost seven years ago.
I'm going to lay out a timeline, not for sympathy, but for a categorization of the additional mental weight that I carried. Keep in mind that I turned 52 this year so a lot of this is unusual for someone my age.
My therapist said that most people would struggle to keep up with their housekeeping under this much sadness and change. Add in the extra 200 pounds and it was a recipe for a disaster area (get it? my house is a disaster area!).
2016: Momma died at 72 years old
2017: Daddy died at 73 years old
2018: We had to put my dog down (seizures)
2018: I had a partial hysterectomy (def no kids now)
2019: I had my gall bladder removed
2020: The pandemic started (Worked From Home)
2020: My other dog died (stroke)
2021: My sister Trudy died at 48 years old
2021: I almost died in the ER (BP was 71 / 50)
2021: Lost one of my best friends (major disagreement)
I list working from home because I'm an extrovert-zilla! I need people around me to get through my day. Being home alone and only seeing people in Zooms and talking on the phone took a LOT of getting used to. I'm pretty good now, but it led to a lot of depression at the time.
I'm exhausted reading this list. However, I also look at it and say to myself, "Look what I survived!" and it makes me not only proud of myself, but makes me feel stronger and more prepared for whatever the world can throw at me. Maybe that strength is what made me feel like I could take on the battle with my weight. I don't know, but I'm determined to fight on.