Hoarding and The Meaning of *My* Things

photo by jparadisi

You know how when you were in nursing school reading about pathology, and you thought you had symptoms of every disease you studied? You knew you weren’t really sick, but still…it gave you pause. This common phenomenon is called hypochondriasis of medical students, or nosophobia.

Well, I kinda had déjà vu of that last week.

It began with an innocent enough tweet from the American Journal of Nursing. The tweet read: AmJNurs AJN Got to get this book! RT @sciam: MIND Reviews: Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things http://bit.ly/h6zax9 (emphasis mine).

To the right of the desk where I am writing this post, sits a pile of stuff. The pile of stuff is made of washed, empty yogurt containers, flat, plastic lids, old bed sheets, pages torn from magazines, glass jars of varying sizes, and the disembodied heads, arms, and legs of dolls. And that’s just the stuff I can see sitting here at my desk, without actually going through the pile. I mention this to David, who says, “Yeah, everyday I want to throw this stuff out, but I remind myself it’s Julianna’s stuff, not mine.” I had no idea.  OH SNAP!  I am a compulsive hoarder!

Well, not really. I am an artist. This pile of stuff is awaiting transfer to my studio, where the real hoarding takes place. Unlike the homes of pathological hoarders, however, my studio lacks floor to ceiling piles of accumulated stuff and “goat paths.” The containers, lids, jars, sheets, and doll parts are stored in their respective places. They also have purpose. The containers and lids are recycled into paint holders and palettes. The sheets are torn into rags, a necessary artist’s tool. The jars hold dirty brushes and solvent. The magazine pages are pasted into scrapbooks of images. The doll heads and limbs…well, you’ll find out later.

Anyway, I read the article linked in the tweet above, and am relieved to know I am not a pathological hoarder. Still, I think I’ll clean out a cupboard or something after I post this piece.

1 Comment

  1. Post addendum for my Readers: From the file of Significant Coincidence.
    This is a segment of my horoscope for today,

    “So don’t be surprised if you find yourself tidying up your home today, throwing away useless things, clearing your desk of bills, or catching up on your mail. There are powerful forces at work, compelling you to prepare for someone, or something, altogether new and different…”

    I did clean out that cupboard yesterday after posting. Weird.


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