As I sit here waiting for the hubby to get home from work I turn on the TV and the show Hoarders: Buried Alive is on and it makes me thankful. Thankful that I don’t have that affliction. I think that growing up the way I did – I was bound to go either way. Either be a hoarder myself or be totally against it. See….my grandmother was a hoarder. I would go to her house on the weekends to escape the madness that I called home. I would be so sad for her because she felt like she had to keep things. She couldn’t throw anything away. She would have rotting food in the kitchen, newspapers from 20 years prior piling up in the living room. Mold everywhere. If you wanted to go to the bedroom to talk to her or my grandfather you would have to walk through the pathway of pile-high trash or pile-high knick knacks.
There were so many days where I would ask her if I could clean. And she would get angry. She would get so mad. She would tell me…”why do you want to thow away my things??? they are my things?? I dont go to your house and throw away your things!!” I knew I couldnt win that fight.
Even though I was a kid I knew this situation wasnt healthy. She was basically living in a trash can. So I would call my self “helping” and I would throw away the rotting food when she wasnt looking. I would try to organize things as much as I could without her feeling like I was destroying her comfort zone. I would get cleaning products and try my hardest to clean the mold from the shower. But it never seemed to be enough. And becuase I was a kid and I loved her and my grandpa so much….I didnt care. The little I could do was enough. I was just happy they let me stay there. Staying the weekend in their trash bin was better than the situation I had a home.
At the time I didnt know what Hoarding was. I knew she had issues but I was a kid and TV wasnt what it is today. I didnt learn what Hoarding was until this show came out. I saw the people on there and I would tell my hubby “Oh My God!!!! My grandma’s house was just like that!!” Then after watching a few epitsodes it hit me. It made more sense why she would say no and freak out. I undersood now that it was a disorder. That the stuff I called “trash” an “crap” was her comfort zone. It made her feel safe. My grandma had a lot of issues. Cleanliness was not the only one. But I loved her. No matter how dirty she was. Or how mean she was. She saved me. She gave me a safe place to go when my household was on edge. She wasnt mean to me personally. She was mean to others and I would have to just sit there and listen to it. She would say mean things about other people to me…but not about me in general. At least not to my face. She loved me the only way she knew how. She took me out of a bad situation. And maybe she was just being nice to me to make up for how she treated my mom. Maybe it was her way of making amends for the choices she made as a mom. I dont know. Im just happy that I got to see the good side of her.
Reality shows like Celebrity Rehab, Intervention, Hoarders are like therapy for me. My hubby thinks Im crazy for watching them. But for me…its a reminder of where I came from. And where I dont want to be. Its my way of being thankful for being who I am. Thankful that my issues arent as bad as they could be. Watching shows like Hoarders makes me thankful that the thing I took from my grandma wasnt hoarding. It wasnt collecting. It wasnt a bad attitude. It was education. She always told me to go to school. Get my eduction. Do something with myself. So I did. I went to school. I got my degree (sadly after she passed). And I think of her often. I think another thing she gave to me (subliminally)…is cleanliess. I dont like a dirty house. I dont like clutter. I possibly have my own little OCD issue about a clean house.
And out of all of the time spent with my grandma I have a lot of good memories. Some bad…but mostly good. I know she had issues. But I dont let those issues cloud the fact that I loved her and she loved me. And for that my daughter holds her name. To remind me of those happy memories. To remind me that everyone has a good side. They might not show everyone that good side but at least its there. It reminds me to give everyone a chance. Issues or not. Everyone deserves at least that much.