I Need That

I have a problem. I’m addicted to stuff.

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I’m not a hoarder and I don’t collect junk (of course, truth be told I can’t say that’s always been the case), but I have stuff…a lot of it…everywhere. Why?

I’ve asked myself why on numerous occasions and my inner princess has always obliged with a reason (usually akin to an excuse). I need those shoes for that dress. I need that dress for the interviews I’ll have in 5 years. I need that belt to match those shoes in case I want to wear them with something besides that dress. You can see how this line of thinking has gotten me in trouble; it has endless possibilities for the stuff I can collect.

Once, in my early college years (I was the poster-child for a long-term college plan), I was helping my best friend get ready to move. She had just graduated, was moving from Tennessee back to California, had no vehicle, and had decided to throw or give away everything she didn’t take with her as luggage, or what was too expensive or cumbersome to ship. I’m sure there were a few moments my eyes bugged out of my head when she handed me something and asked, “do you want this or am I going to toss it?” I went home rather happy that day, pleased with the pile of stuff I had accumulated without having to buy it.

Every day advertisements and messages bombard us telling us we need stuff. They tell us we need the newest medicine to make us healthy, we need the latest piece of technology to make us successful, we need another outfit to make us look better, etc. Sadly, it’s a lie. The majority of messages and advertisements that society throws at us every waking moment is a lie. Happiness and success do not come from stuff, they come from people and relationships.

I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with just my dog and it was filled with stuff. I wasn’t happy. In fact, I experienced some of the worst depression and suicidal thoughts of my life in that apartment. When I hurt or got depressed I’d go shopping. I’d bring home the newest $200 dress The Limited offered that I might wear once that year. Did it help? For a day, a week if I was really lucky. My life became a series of highs and lows that hinged on whether or not I got something new. I lived like that for the better part of two years, and I’ve never been so miserable. Several years later I was diagnosed with depression and possible bi-polar II. I got the help I needed and things started to level out, but by then I was obsessed with getting stuff. I was obsessed with shopping to make myself feel better about anything and everything, no matter how small the problem.

After living in a small two-bedroom apartment with two cats, two dogs, and two men (soon it will be three) I have come to realize how pointless it is to have so much stuff. Things I used to take great pleasure in owning, such as candles and various glass candle holders, have become obsolete in such a tiny place. There is no room to store anything, much less have decorations. I don’t need to shop for anything else. I don’t need half of what I own now!

So my newest goal is to let go of the useless, pointless, taking-up-room stuff in my life (like that cool $3 Native-American-looking pot sitting on the end table in the living room). I have friends and family and pets who need and want my time and attention. They are what is important in my life and its about time I showed them.

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