I’m certain I’m a hoarder. Last month I decided, again, to throw away all unnecessary things from my room. I then threw out one bag of actual trash—plastic boxes from toys I didn’t have the strength to discard when I opened them. Years ago.
I keep every scrap of paper I wrote one line, a few words, on. This excludes most college course notes, unless there was a doodle or the middle of a poem. I have two loose-leaf accounting binders in the corner by my door. I am not an accountant and I never had any desire to account anything, but there they are. Waiting, but I’m not sure what they are waiting for.
A pile of newspapers I have never read from my childhood rests in front of my closet, blocking passage to most of my clothes, because when I was in high school I liked to think of myself as the kind of kid who read newspapers. One Journal Star features a large cover picture of the Jonas Brothers, when they came to the Civic Center for a concert. Concert tickets were my birthday present, and I kept the newspaper as a memento of the time I picked up a newspaper featuring my favorite band at the time, and I never read any of the articles, even the one about the concert I was going to see. This was my fifteenth birthday. Next month will be my twenty-third.
I thought I deserved a change from this life of nonsensical papers and student-less accounting books, so I bought that famous book about cleaning up your life—The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up—and I sat it on the floor by my childhood bed. The next day I awoke to better my life and read it, but the book was covered by a mass of forgotten clothes that fell off my bed. I didn’t even know I had these clothes on my bed. They were always covered by my blankets, probably since the day I brought them home from the mall. One shirt still had its tag, and spoiler alert, I never read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. At least now I know why my feet were always so warm.
So instead, I went to Barnes & Noble to buy another book. After spending too much time flipping through a book of Hillary Clinton haikus, I made my way to the psychology section and looked at books for my hoarding anxiety. I figured if I fixed my anxiety about being a hoarder, the hoardiness wouldn’t matter because I simply wouldn’t care anymore. Instead of being free of my clutter, I would be free of myself.
Suddenly, as I skimmed these covers, telling me how anxious people can be, I became anxious about my anxieties, and then I got angry that my anxieties made me anxious.
Luckily for me, what did I find a few shelves below? Anger management books! Automatic relief was followed by the realization that no, I wasn’t relieved. These books didn’t make me feel any better, but I journeyed to the next bookcase, where books about changing your mood and feeling good were held. The designer of the psychology section must understand me very well, and saw how I would seek books about anxiety that would make me angry, and then I would find no relief in anger management, and I would need to learn to feel good again, if I ever felt good at all.
On first observations though, I don’t think this book arrangement worked, because my first observation was that one of the men on these read-me-and-be-happy books was nearly ugly, and I didn’t know how he could ever be happy.
Maybe this case was built for people like me, who think those thoughts, because the next shelf had books about dealing with narcissism, and reading about those self-loving freaks made me realize that I finally found home.
I’m a writer. I’m a writer who used I 51 times so far in this post. I (52) choose to write non-fiction because I (53) believe that I (54) am the greatest character I (55) could ever come up with, so now I (56) know I’m (57) a narcissist, all because I (58) didn’t want to be a hoarder anymore.
The lesson of this story is to never, ever, clean your room (wow, I (59) used your! How good for a newly-found narcissist?)
Now I’m (60) going to go stare at myself in a mirror. I I I I I (65)