Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Book of the Month - White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess in Between

I have a goal to read more than I have in the past several years, and went further to make the goal to read at least one new book each month. I used to go to the library every week and come home with huge stacks of books on every topic under the sun. Libraries and books have always acted as a refuge for me. That is until the last several years, when (it seemed) suddenly they didn't offer me the stress relief and stimulation that they once did. I want to change that. 

For the month of February I chose the book “White Walls: AMemoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess In Between”. It’s a book written from the view point of the daughter of a hoarder and a story of how it affected her through her childhood and into her adulthood. It also described how in reaction to her mother’s hoarding she swung the other way in the extreme. Particularly how she battled old demons after the birth of her own daughter. Hoarding has always been a fascinating topic to me in part because I have always been curious about what motivates people to do the things that they do, but also because I identify with many of the characteristics described towards hoarders and I want to understand what those characteristics mean.

The main character of this story struggled with finding balance in her life. She took pride in how FEW things she owned and how she wasn’t attached to objects. She also developed a fear of becoming her mother and combated that by cleaning and decorating with modern white furnishings. It wasn’t until she caught herself scrubbing the floor on her hands and knees for the umpteenth time instead of reading her daughter a bedtime story, and that through her efforts to NOT become her mother had. Her need to keep things clean and Spartan had left her as the absentee parent who was preoccupied with “stuff”.

There have been several types of hoarders recorded.

1.       Project Hoarder – they see the potential in things. They have plans for them, like fixing an item, or making something, but it just doesn’t happen.

2.       Collector Hoarder – just what it sounds like. People have collections and sets and feel compelled to complete.

3.       Trash Hoarder – the gross hoarders. They just don’t throw ANYTHING away and most of the issue is just trash.

4.       Memory Hoarder – the items remind them of moments and emotions. They think they will forget without having the item.

I like to “collect” things. Random things…like glass jars, and boxes. I also collect coins, rocks and stamps. I also LOVE projects. I can see what things could be “if”…

I also like to have things around me. I think it’s comforting to have the things I like nearby.

With all the upheaval going on in my life in the last year and half it’s really threatened to tip the scales into the “that a problem” rather than “she’s so quirky, it’s cute”. Luckily I have swung the other direction and have become interested in living more consciously and minimalistic. I don’t want to be owned or tied down by my things.

I’ve been really enjoying the podcast “the Minimalists” and their points of view towards clearing your life of things that don’t add value. I really like their tag of "Love people and use things, because the opposite never works."

I’ve realized that, THAT is what I am striving towards. I want to clear my life of all the extra “stuff” that is cluttering my daily life so that I can make room for the people and things that add value. Maybe it’s just the stress and trauma talking, but even if it is, I can’t see how working towards the things I value the most can be a bad thing. I believe it will also help me heal from the emotional trama that I've been dealing with rather unsucessfully.

For the month of March I’ve ordered the book “EverythingThat Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists”. I’m looking forward to reading it and gaining more knowledge about simplifying my life and hopefully gain some clarity on wading through all the emotional baggage that “stuff” has for everyone.

No comments: