Friday, August 4, 2017

Child of a Hoarder

I'm going to start this post by stating that I don't intend to sound unsympathetic, harsh, or overly critical. Trust me, I get those comments from my mother when I attempt to discuss her problems. Among many other issues, both physical and psychological, she has a shopping/gambling addiction. When I say shopping/gambling, I mean that the only way she receives satisfaction (in buying things) when she shops online are on websites like eBay when you have to bid. She loves being the "first" or the "winner" of the item. This shopping/gambling addiction began about ten years ago, and she has since gone into bankruptcy. Excessive spending on unnecessary items remains an issue in our family, but another rising concern is that all the things she has bought have invaded our home. Her interests are in antiques, things that generally look "old", decorations, that sort of stuff. She calls it a collection, but it did take her into bankruptcy, which implies that the collection has gone out of control. She has an extremely difficult time in getting rid of stuff, because she believes they might be "valuable" and that she can sell these things for more than the price she bought them at. One excuse she makes for shopping is that these items have "value" and could be sold off for a lot of money "one day". In this accumulation of items, whole rooms cannot be accessed. Beds cannot be slept in. Bathtubs cannot be used to bathe in. The stove can't be used to cook on. The table often can't be used for eating. Couches can't be used to sit in. Everything has become a decoration to display more decorations. Fire hazards are certainly posed by this amassed collection. Of course, she doesn't view it as 'hoarding' as one can argue they are beautiful things and not literal trash as is so often the perception or view of hoarders. On the off-hand, she does have a hard time getting rid of papers and documents. She locks rooms of the house so that her ex-husband or other family members cannot see how much stuff she has hidden in her room. I am ashamed to invite people over. 

I have grown increasingly more claustrophobic in my own house. Fire hazards are posed. I know that if there were a fire in my house, it would be insanely difficult, even impossible, to get out. Almost all the windows are blocked by a pile of stuff. I know she wants to move out of the house and into a smaller place in the next couple of years, but if she wants to actually sell everything, she needs to get a move on it, fast. I also know that my mother has physical problems, and if she dies, it will fall to me and my brother to find a way to sort everything and get rid of it all as quickly as possible. 

I honestly don't know what to do. Every time I address this to her, she states that I am showing disrespect to her, that it's her house, and that when I have my own home, I can do whatever I want with mine (so I should leave her house alone). It's not necessarily me I'm concerned about. My adult brother has Down Syndrome, and the irony is that my mom can't bring herself to leave him alone at home for an extended period of time because "what if there's a fire?" but then our house is undeniably full of fire hazards. I am an able-bodied, fully competent individual and even I'm not sure I could get out of the house if there was a fire. 

How can I approach my mother about this in a way that doesn't make her backlash? On the other hand, how can I just let it go, and come to terms with knowing she will never make that desperately needed change?

It is harder than many of you might imagine, living with a hoarder parent who won't listen to anything you have to say about it, who doesn't appear to care about how much it affects her kids. I would really appreciate some advice from fellow children of hoarders. Thanks. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Remembering People

"It's nice to be remembered, but it's far cheaper to be forgotten." I wasn't able to find the author of this quote, but during my lifetime I've found this saying to be sadly, but understandably, true.

I've always had to work for friendships. I'm not saying that friendships come easy, but I've had to work a lot harder than most people I know to make friends and keep them. Stepping out of my comfort zone and social skills were always tricky areas for me. I only started making lasting friendships when I got to college, but even then, I've had to try hard to get people to remember me.

This isn't an accusation against my friends or against people in general. We're all busy and we all have lives - academic, social, professional lives - and we can't keep up with everybody all the time. It's normal. But I feel like, with almost all my friends, I'm the one that really makes the effort to keep in touch to stay in each other's lives. I rarely get personally invited to anything. It's incredible how nice it feels when someone texts you or calls you and says, "Hey, some friends and I are going to the movies tonight. Would you like to join us?" It indicates that that person was thinking about you. The invitation doesn't have to be to something awesome. It could be that a friend randomly texts you and asks if you would like to study with them, or go get coffee. It's the thought, the consideration, that counts.

So since I rarely get those types of invitations, I often feel largely invisible. Sure, I'm invited to campus-wide events, club events, etc - but everybody on campus and in said club are invited. Those events aren't by individual invitation. I never lack things to do, but most of these are of my organizing (me reaching out to other people) or events that are put on by other organizations that I go to with friends.

All I'm saying is that it's nice to be remembered. It takes a lot of effort for me to stay out of obscurity in my friends' busy lives, but maintaining those friendships would be more special and more important to me if that effort was in some way reciprocated. Then it doesn't feel so much like a one-sided friendship.

Hopefully this all makes sense. Once again, I want to clarify that this isn't an accusation or an attack against anyone in particular.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


So, I really like chicken. And in early March, McDonald's reintroduced their Chicken Selects in an attempt to make the menu a little more upscale. Anyway, I LOVED the chicken selects. They were the only chicken fast food I was willing to eat. They tasted fresh, they were juicy and just really good with fries. I was so disappointed when they took them off the menu. So you can imagine how excited I was when they brought them back.

So I decided I'd rank my favorite fast food chicken items (that I've tried, at least).
Honey butter chicken biscuit

1) McDonald's Chicken Selects

2) I'm from Texas, so I love Whataburger. I was recently introduced to their honey butter chicken biscuits, which are only available early in the morning or after 11pm, which are not normal times I go to Whataburger. The sweetness of the honey butter coated on the chicken tender was perfection, and great with fries for the salt combination.

3) Chick-Fil-A's Original Chicken Sandwich with Waffle Fries - Need I say more?

3) Burger King's Chicken Fries - Slightly spicy. They're okay, I haven't had them in a long time, but I remember they took them off the menu and brought them back in the past year or something.

4) McDonalds Chicken Nuggets - I can't stand eating them in the USA - they taste funky to me, and often have weird black/brown parts or specks on the inside. In Spain, however, they are fantastic for some reason (they just taste a lot more natural to me) and I could eat them every day.

5) Wendy's Chicken Nuggets - I can't eat them. I used to, but then they got oddly chewy to me, kind of liquid-y, and I'm very sensory sensitive so I couldn't handle the overly chewiness to them.

 Hope this helps you out when you next decide you feel like eating fast food chicken!

Monday, February 2, 2015


Saturday's song: Parachute by Ingrid Michaelson (2010). 

I don't tell anyone about the way you hold my hand
I don't tell anyone about the things that we have planned.
I won't tell anybody, won't tell anybody.
They wanna push me down,
They wanna see you fall down. 

I won't tell anybody that you turn the world around.
I won't tell anyone that your voice is my favorite sound.
I won't tell anybody, won't tell anybody.
They wanna see us fall,
They wanna see us fall down. 

I don't need a parachute, baby, if I got you.
Baby, if I got you, I don't need a parachute.
You're gonna catch me, 
You're gonna catch if I fall
Down, down, down. 

Don't believe the things you tell yourself
So late at night. 
And you are your own worst enemy,
You'll never win the fight. 
Just hold onto me, I'll hold onto you.
It's you and me up against the world, 
It's you and me. 

I don't believe anything,
Don't trust anyone but me. 
But I believe you when
You say you were never gonna fall.
Hand behind my neck,
Arm around my waist. 
Never let me hit the ground,
You'll never let me crash. 


I won't fall out of love, I won't fall out of
I won't fall out of love, I won't fall out of 
I won't fall out of love, I won't fall out of 
I won't fall out of love, I fall into you.


Friday, January 30, 2015


"Brave" by Sara Bareilles (2013). 

You can be amazing,
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug.
You can be the outcast,
Or be the backlash of somebody's lack of love
Or you can start speaking up. 

Nothing's gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle 'neath your skin.
Kept on the inside and no sunlight,
Sometimes a shadow wins. 
I wonder what would happen if you...

Say what you want to say
And let the words fall out.
Honestly, I want to see you be brave. 
Say what you want to say
And let the words fall out.
Honestly, I want to see you be brave. 

I just wanna see you,
I just wanna see you,
I just wanna see you,
I want to see you be brave.

Everybody's been there, 
Everybody's been stared down by the enemy.
Fallen for the fear,
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty. 
Don't run, just stop holding your tongue.

Maybe there's a way out of the cage where you live,
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in.
Show me how big your brave is...


And since your history of silence
Won't do you any good,
Did you think it would? 
Let your words be anything but empty,
Why don't you tell them the truth? 


I just wanna see you,
I just wanna see you,
I just wanna see you,
I want to see you be brave.

Rainbow Veins

Yesterday's song: "Rainbow Veins" by Owl City (2008). 

High rise, veins of the avenue,
Bright eyes, and subtle variations of blue,
Everywhere is balanced there like a rainbow above you. 
Street lights glisten on the boulevard
And cold nights make staying alert so hard. 
For heaven's sake, keep me awake so I won't be caught off-guard. 
Clearly I am a passerby but I'll find a place to stay.
Dear pacific day, won't you take me away? 

Small town hearts of the New Year
Brought down by gravity, crystal clear. 
City fog and and brave dialogue converge on the frontier
Make haste, I feel your heartbeat
With a new taste for speed, out on the street.
Find a road to a humble abode where both of our routes meet.
The silver sound is all around and the colors fall like snow. 
The feeling of letting go, I guess we'll never know. 

Cheer up and dry your damp eyes
And tell me when it rains
And I'll blend up that rainbow above you
And shoot it through your veins.
'Cause your heart has a lack of color. 
And we should've known that we'd grow up 
Sooner or later 'cause we wasted all our free time alone. 

Your nerves gather with the altitude
Exhale the stress so you don't come unglued. 
Somewhere there is a happy affair, 
A ghost of a good mood.
Wide-eyed, panic on the getaway
The high tide could take me so far away.
VCRs and motorcars unite on the Seventh Day.
A popular gauge will measure the rage 
Of the new Post-Modern age. 
'Cause somewhere along the line 
All the decades align.

We were the crashing whitecaps
On the ocean.
And what lovely seaside holiday, away
A palm tree in Christmas lights
My emotion.
Struck a sparkling tone like a xylophone
As we spent the day alone. 

Cheer up and dry your damp eyes
And tell me when it rains
And I'll blend up that rainbow above you
And shoot it through your veins.
'Cause your heart has a lack of color. 
And we should've known that we'd grow up 
Sooner or later 'cause we wasted all our free time alone. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

When She Loved Me

"When She Loved Me," from the Toy Story 2 soundtrack, sung by Sarah McLachlan. 

When somebody loved me
Everything was beautiful
Every hour spent together
Lives within my heart. 

And when she was sad, 
I was there to dry her tears.
And when she was happy,
So was I. 
When she loved me. 

Through the summer and the fall,
We had each other, that was all.
Just she and I together,
Like it was meant to be. 

And when she was lonely,
I was there to comfort her. 
And I knew that she loved me. 

So the years went by,
I stayed the same. 
But she began to drift away
I was left alone.
Still I waited for the day
When she'd say
"I will always love you."

Lonely and forgotten,
Never thought she'd look my way.
She smiled at me, and held me,
Just like she used to do.
Like she loved me,
When she loved me. 

When somebody loved me,
Everything was beautiful.
Every hour spent together
Lives within my heart.
When she loved me.