I am about a hair's length away from being an actual hoarder. I can still throw shit away, but when it comes to certain things, I just can't throw them out. You never know when you're going to need useless items. Seriously, I keep just about everything except for cellophane wrappers and cereal boxes. All right, there are other things I throw away, but for the most part, I find it difficult to get rid of stuff. I've always wondered why this is in my head, and I finally figured it out. Two events from my childhood are responsible.
RAWHIDE helped me figure it out. A couple of weeks ago, I watched the episode that had aired 50 years previous (to the day), and one of the characters made a kite for a kid to fly. People questioned him on it, since he hated children but seemed OK with hanging out with this particular child. And then a memory rushed back into my head, something I haven't thought about for decades.
I still have scars on my body from my experience with my abusive step-father, so it should be no surprise that my hoarder tendencies were started by something he did. When I was a kid, he married my mom. Shortly after, Brother Dan was born. I think he was still a baby when this happened, it was that long ago. Now I have three brothers from my mom and step-father and a brother and sister from my father and step-mother. Back then? I was almost an only child.
RETURN OF THE JEDI was the second movie I could remember seeing in the theaters. The first was STAR TREK 3, which my father had brought me to see. But Bill, my step-father, brought me to see the third STAR WARS movie, and he had a shitty habit of mixing Milk Duds in with his popcorn. I hated Milk Duds, so I had to examine each handful of popcorn to make sure no Milk Duds had found their way into my grip.
Seeing this movie led to me getting a Luke Skywalker kite shortly thereafter. It was Luke dressed all in black with his green lightsaber, if memory serves me correctly. Bill helped me put it together. I didn't care about kites aside from the funny Peanuts strips, in which Charlie Brown was always outsmarted by the Kite Eating Tree. But . . . well . . . it was a Luke Skywalker kite. For the record, the first poster I ever put up in my bedroom was of Luke Skywalker. I had a boy crush on him. Of course I wanted a kite with him on it.
We went out to the park in Berkeley on the other side of the viaduct from Elmhurst, where my grandparents lived, and he showed me how to fly a kite. He was kind of a weirdo, though. He liked to get it as high as possible, so he played it out until the string was down to the last loop on the cardboard roll. He was a scientist, so he liked pushing nature's limits and humanity's control over such things. Then, he handed the controls to me.
For a little bit, I flew that kite like a pro. And then, I slipped. The string loop fell off the cardboard roll, and Luke Skywalker flew away from me. Forever. The air rushed it away to another world, for all I knew. I chased after it, panicked, but I never found it. Crying, I returned to my step-father, and what did he do? He savagely beat the shit out of me because I lost a fucking kite.
For the rest of my life, I've been terrified of losing anything. So I'm hovering on the line between a normal person and a hoarder.
A few years later, there was the second incident. In my childhood, I'd been given a baseball that had actually been used in a classic All Star game. In a moment reminiscent of THE SANDLOT, I brought it out with my friends to play ball. I didn't know the significance of the ball, so I brought it into play, and it was hit so far that we never could find it.
I didn't realize it at the time, but I felt the same panic I felt when I'd lost the Luke Skywalker kite. It's no wonder I'm the way I am today. I hope to fix that. My place is fucking cluttered as all fuck, and it would be beneficial if I could clear some of this shit out.
The only question is, now that I know where this impulse came from, can I control it? Can I really follow through with this sudden need to purge my belongings?
I hope so. I don't want to be featured on TV for my hoarding abilities.