I've been watching the television show "Hoarding," and I confess it's making me nervous. Like many of the people featured on the show, I attach too much sentimental value to "things."
Don't get me wrong. You can walk and see the floor in my house. The dishes get done, the trash goes out, the litter gets scooped. But I have a lot of "stuff" that I hang onto for emotional reasons. And I can "attach" to just about anything, from jewelry, to books, papers, knick-knacks and small pieces of furniture.
And if I'm going to be completely honest, I have to admit that being a mixed media artist is a great excuse for accumulating a lot of STUFF. A lot of WEIRD stuff. Broken doll heads, tiny fabric scraps, old music, books, gaudy picture frames from auctions and thrift stores, vintage game pieces and photos of people to whom I have no relation whatsoever. And I know I'm not alone in this... Lynn Perrella wrote a whole book on this issue, which I felt vindicated me...
...until I started watching "Hoarders." Now that I've seen at least a half-dozen episodes, I'm learning about the different ways people perceive their stuff...and hoarders tend to place a lot of emotional or sentimental value to their things, sometimes to the point where their things keep them company. Ouch.
Anyway, two things have happened in the past year or so that propelled me into aquiring stuff of immense emotional "importance." First, my father passed in December 2008; almost a year later, his stuff was auctioned. Then, this December (2009), my mother's house was sold and cleared of over 30 years worth of stuff. For my dad's auction, I rented a van to haul things back in. And I packed my little Corolla tight with treasures from Mom's.
So now, with all this new "old" stuff and my new awareness of my attachment to that stuff, I'm facing the issue of what to do with it all. That, or never use my dining room again. My choice.
So what's important about this stuff, other than the memories it invokes? Nothing. So I've decided to photograph and write about these things, and then release them to the Universe (or the recycling bin).
Stay tuned. Tomorrow: "Gentle on My Mind."