I have always been the sort of person to collect details about other people. I have a friend who tends to lean towards the literal collections (and I don’t understand it at all, but it makes her happy, makes me happy). I have known people who collect excessive amounts of salt and pepper shakers. I don’t understand the compulsion to collect tangible objects. I’m a minimalist. I feel that the more things I own, the more I have to clean and move around and that displeases me. So I don’t keep a lot of “junk”.
If I am not using it, I give it away or throw it away. I just don’t have the the mental capacity to handle consistently seeing objects that have no purpose. I have photographs for sentimental value. And, of course, trinkets that fit in with themes of my office space, so they get to stay. I just don’t do well with “stuff”.
Then I realized I’m a mental hoarder. I’m claiming the market for this phrase, but whatever. What I’m saying is this: I collect facts and details about people and store them in my heart rooms and brain spaces. I know how people laugh, and what makes them upset. I learn people’s favorite songs. I am told memories that people have and I store them. At any given point when I’m missing someone, I can flip open my mental filing cabinet and start paging through everything. I can soak in the richness of a person because I study them.
That sounds fantastic, wonderful, and great, right?
No, it’s wrong. I hate that I do it. I’m an obsessive person and I do things to the extreme. I don’t know just a little about people I have met in my life. I know a lot. And that’s a wonderful trait to have when you have people who remain in your life. But then you have me.
I wrestle with the worry that I’m too much or not enough for people. No one finds a Goldilocks’ happy medium with me. They learn to tolerate me. These are ridiculous lies that I’ve been breathing in, inhaling, soaking in deeply. They are insane core lies and I’m working, actively and consistently to shut those lies up and replace them with the truth. But, that leads me, often down a path of self-fulfilling prophecy. I treat others as hostile and am ready for them to “jump ship” and “abandon” me at any given point. (Victim terminology. I know.) And so I often find ways of sabotaging relationships. Feeling somehow justified, knowing that it was my hand that pushed them away. I rationalize that I was merely testing them, and if they failed the test then they weren’t going to stick around anyway. That I had just done myself a favor by proving who was weak, or who wasn’t for me.
So in all of this shuffling of people in my life..(Pause: Let me say something. I recognize these things about myself, and that’s the first step to breaking destructive habits. Also, I don’t believe that everyone in your life is supposed to be permanent anyway. Life wouldn’t be much fun if the cast was always the same. There have to be people that are meant for only a season. Because they are helping you grow or change or learn or you’re helping them, and then they are gone and that’s fine, because change is constant.) I have seen a lot of people come and go.
Have I forgotten anything? No, unfortunately I haven’t.
So then I am left with something that hurts. I have this gaping hole in my heart for people, and then I have heart rooms and brain spaces FULL of them.
So I have a mental purge, just like I think some people should have…think of it as a mental hoarders episode. I spend hours just forgetting people. I take a figurative eraser and figurative GIGANTIC fire and start torching these memories. Not all of them. I have to remember the lessons I learned and the things about them that I should never seek out again, or should keep seeking. But the process of detoxing from exboyfriends or ex-friends, is really the process of unmemorization. And, boy does it suck.