“HOW TO” HOARDER
The picture on the television screen was nauseating. A house had not only mouse droppings, but also dead mice, littering on the floors. Thick dust coated cardboard boxes, trash bags and newspapers that were disbursed liberally throughout the home. As usual, I gagged a few times. The program has always served as a warning to me.
But while viewing this particular episode, I realized something. I too have a hoarding compulsion. Not a littered lifestyle from being too busy or lazy to pick up my shoes or fold the afghan on the couch. No, my compulsion is specific. It is collecting “how-to” books.
I don’t know when it started. Probably in my teens. I got a subscription to Teenmagazine and I loved looking at it, especially the pretty clothes and the short story they featured each month. But I really liked the makeup and diet tips. So, the magazines got saved. Then, as I was always overweight, I collected diet books like The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet. After joining Weight Watchers, I bought a number of their cookbooks.
But my self-improvement desire didn’t end with diet books. I’ve bought a book on eating like a French woman as well as one on dressing like a French woman. Then there were books on how to win friends, be more assertive, more extroverted, and ten percent happier. I’ve been privy to the Secret and learned the five languages of love. I’ve tried to awaken the Giant within, secure Grit, and learned life lessons with Mitch and Morrie. Then there were the dozens of books on writing I have. Some focused on character development, others detailed point of view or plot.
The sad part? I have hardly read any of them. I start (most of) them and never get very far. Could it be because I don’t want happiness? Perhaps I’m psychic and can tell after reading a few pages that the tome is bunk or it won’t work for me? Am I lazy? Well, I think I established above that I often am. But I don’t think that’s the reason. Maybe in some twisted way, by not reading and following through, I can feel okay if I don’t get anywhere. After all, I can be lazy. But I’ve always longed to be a renaissance woman: writer, artist, musician, fencer, gourmet cook, krav maga expert, salon host of lively, intelligent discussions. If I read and actually tried the suggestions then the failure is the fault of something a lot more serious than laziness or busy-ness. It would be that there is something inherently wrong with me. I am the failure.
So, what am I going to do? I don’t know. Am I brave enough to take the chance? I’m not sure. I do know I have been eyeing a workbook from L.R. Ryan. It’s gotten a lot of good reviews. Maybe this will be the one…
At any rate, I could always use it as a door stopper.