Saturday, January 16, 2010

Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food... ~Austin O'Malley

  1. One who hoards; one who accumulates, collects, and stores. 

I'm fairly certain I'm a hoarder...

Not in that way that makes people vomit, that box-up-rotten-food-and-used-tissues-just-in-case-I-need-them kind of way. But more in that I-still-have-clothes-from-my-senior-year-in-high-school kind of way...

I have boxes and boxes full of shit. Every one of them labeled "memories". Not small boxes. Not shoe boxes. Moving boxes. Full. Of. Memories. 90% of which I don't even remember. There are things in these boxes that I assume were important to me at one point in my 30 years. Notes from people I didn't know I was friends with, movie stubs from movies I didn't know I'd seen, Mardi Gras beads and yet I don't recall having ever been to Mardi Gras, corsage ribbons, pom poms, Playbills, charm bracelets, plane tickets, tourist pamphlets, costumes, yearbooks, pictures, uniforms, old magazines... There is no limit to what I will pack up and slap a "memory" label on... It's a sickness.

I have billing statements from accounts that have long since closed. I have receipts from gifts I was given on my 23rd birthday. I have wrapping paper scraps from 7 Christmases ago. I have old cell phones and remote controls to electronics I no longer own.

I have over 100 pairs of shoes. I have 99 tank tops (I just counted) and I live in SEATTLE. I have jeans in every size I've ever been. I have socks that forever sit at the bottom of the drawer because they have so many holes they no longer serve their intended purpose.

I am a hoarder. But I hoard only the best.

I have gotten better in the past few years. I moved in May and threw out TRUCK LOADS of rubbish. And my mom and I recently emptied out one of our storage units at which point I discarded every "memory" that I didn't actually remember.

I'm not sure when or where this compulsion was born. I do know that I've always hated goodbyes. I've never dealt well with change. But I have an amazing memory. I remember things that no one cares to. I remember events and names and experiences and trivia. I remember old phone numbers and the subway I took to get from Times Square to Queens. I remember so well that I am the go-to-gal for everyone else's lost memories.

So why all the shit?

As a child I used to L.O.V.E. going through my mom's old stuff. Trying on her prom dresses. Flipping through her yearbooks. She was an all-star when it came to saving things that mattered. She kept the newspapers from the days JFK Jr. and Elvis died. She has old records that she used to listen to with her sisters as they sat in rollers gossiping about boys. It's fascinating stuff. And I want that for my kids (if I have kids) or my friend's kids (if I don't). I want them to experience a period of time that they weren't around to experience.

And I guess a part of me fears the day I can no longer remember. When it all goes away. When there is too much life between me and my teens. Too much time standing in the way of my childhood. A teeny tiny part of me feels that if I don't remember than no one will.

But really, with the old receipts and wrapping paper scraps...? Someone call A&E... this bitch needs an intervention...


  1. I can't watch that show on A&E. As an obsessive compulsive cleaner and organizer, I can't wrap my head around anyone who can live that way. I do watch Clean House on Style and have been for many years. Those hoarders aren't too extreme, but they still frighten me. Like you, I like to hold onto treasured family heirlooms and photographs. I will keep certain clothes and shoes that I know will continue to be in style. I want to be able to remember, too. I love to hold onto items that provide great memories, or represent significant moments in my life. I think it is important to hold onto some things. I guess I am a hoarder, too. Take care.

  2. I have a shirt that is 20 some odd years old. It still fits. I don't wear it. But I can't part with it. Why? Because just like you said, it is tied to a fond memory. As for receipts and wrapping paper...well you might want to rethink those. ;)

  3. oh my gosh, you are SO me! I have so much crap from years gone by....why do we do this to ourselves?!!