I am not...

I know the above statement is so simple and straight forward, yet it has tripped me up almost my whole life. Perhaps it is because of the transference my mother bestowed upon me that any issue or flaw she saw within herself she felt it necessary to accuse me of as well. Yes, she told me as a child how the family thought I was fat. She told me that they disliked me and only tolerated me because of my grandmother. And those were truths.

About her.

Even now, although I am further beyond this now, I struggle with the fear that some day a magic switch is going to be activated and my home will become a hoard. Nevermind that I obsess day and night about the cleanliness of my home. You know...NO! I no longer obsess.

I am not my mother. I do not struggle with letting go of things. I cling to memories inside of me, and if a "thing" truly triggers a deep reaction I evaluate why before I keep it. I keep cards but I don't have a lot. I have a few gifts my beloved grandmother gave me that I have kept probably too long (the wedding quilt she gave me from my first, now failed marriage; a wallhanging she stitched for my first apartment; the last gift she gave me--still unopened--a heart-shaped box with small candles in it). But I do not have to worry about my home being a hoard. It never has been, even during the darkest trials in my life--the searing pain of having my spouse deploy for months on end over and over again, the excruciatingly painful divorce, my grandmother's passing, the surgeries that didn't go as planned for my son, the years I was alone and parenting.

And I have given my husband and children full permission to have me committed if I start to go down that road.

But it won't happen. Because I am not my mother.

I don't care if hoarding has a genetic component or not. I will not become who she is.

I don't care if my children leave and my house burns down. I will not attach my value to things made by human hands.

I have a choice. I have THOUSANDS of choices. And I choose to be me with my own group of "issues". I choose to remain resilient in the face of trials, troubles, heartaches, and disasters.

And that--RESILIENCY--is why I won't become mentally ill, a hoarder, a narcissist. I will adapt to whatever changes come my way, never letting WHO I AM be torn from me. Change doesn't have to take away my stripes. It means that I use them differently.

And it's okay to change because I can, and I'm worth it.

I'm done rambling. Maybe you can relate.


Unknown said…
Well I am not my mother either, I spent so much of my life reminding her I would not be like her and though it sounds cruel now, I am glad I am me and not a reproduction of my traumatic childhood. I can only thank God that I am like him, that is my daily desire, to be more like HIM a nothing like me! Thank you for sharing your heart, God bless you my beloved Sister Cecilia!
Alex said…
Found your blog through Children of Hoarders, and what a fortuitous post to land on. I'm trying to use other people's triumphs and all-too-familiar troubles as a way to get through my own mother's frustrating hoarding. So from one COH to another, keep remembering resilience!!

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