After much thought, I’ve realized there isn’t exactly a good place to jump into this story, so I’m just going to start. As I write more posts, hopefully a through line to the narrative will develop. If not, that’s okay too. It will have been a fruitful exercise at least. An exorcizing of demons.
Let’s tackle the title of this blog first, shall we? When I was growing up, there got to be a point where there was a shopping cart in my bedroom. My mom bought too much at Sav-On one day and couldn’t carry it all so she took the cart home with her. Instead of returning it, the cart ended up parked in my bedroom.
Maybe I should back up.
My parents are hoarders. I didn’t realize it at the time. This was before there were popular TV shows chronicling the freaks who store empty ramen noodle cups in their cabinets or leave rotting food across their living rooms. This was before I knew about the word “hoarder” and before I knew there were other people out there living like me, going through what I was going through.
I was hoarded out of my bedroom by the time I was eight or nine. Filled with my parent’s stuff, my stuff. Stuff and more stuff. And then the shopping cart ended up in there. I couldn’t walk in the room and could only access the toys that were nearest the door. I slept on the living room floor on a fold-out couch/chair thing. I had a bedroom and a bed. I just couldn’t use it.
Before that, I had a normal room. I could play on the floor and put my toys away in drawers. I had a nightlight and a bookshelf. The rest of the house was a shambles, but I had my room.
But then, one day, the hoard from the rest of the house crept into my room. It’s like my parents made some kind of effort at first to keep my room clean. However, a piece of stereo equipment appeared in my room one day. Then the empty boxes from Christmas gifts. Then some clothes. Then it all got stacked on top of each other in the towers of junk that characterized the rest of the house. Finally, I couldn’t sleep in my own bed anymore because my mom put stuff on on it and I wasn’t allowed to move it. Then I couldn’t walk into my room all the way anymore. Then I couldn’t walk in it at all.
By the time the shopping cart made its appearance, I could only walk about two feet into the room. My backpack hung on the handle of the cart like I could just pull that cart out of there and parade down the street with it. Like I’d accumulated things to take with me on a journey and I was just waiting for the right time to leave. It was in my room, after all. It must have been my things. My mess.
When I turned twelve, my mom spent a few weeks clearing out the entire room. She painted it, cleaned it. I had my bed back and my room back.
From that moment until I was in my early twenties and moved out, my room was the cleanest in the house. Cluttered like a teenager’s room, yes. But the cleanest. And I fought hard to keep the junk from encroaching.
And yet (and yet) if I left a soda can in the living room, my mom would thunder and bellow, “I can tell you’ve been through here. God, can’t you pick up after yourself?” I’d sheepishly rinse out the can per her instructions and put it in the trash bag just like she wanted (but I never did it right) and wait until I did something else wrong to be corrected and chastised.
Now you know why this blog is called what it’s called. Not sure where I’m going to go from here, but I hope you come along with me for the journey.