As I sit here eating raspberry frogs from a ‘bulk buy’ packet, I can’t help but think back to the time I spent studying nutrition at university.
One memory that has stuck with me from this experience (obviously it’s not the nutrition part…) is a picture from the back of one of my textbooks. The picture was of a family surrounded by all the food they would consume in a year. The image showed a smiling couple from the 80s, along with large hair, 2.3 kids, 50 dead chickens, 100 cans of peas, and enough sugar to keep me very, very happy.
Red frogs aside, I know that my own diet is reasonable. However if all the food I ate in a year was presented in front of me in a ‘Hoarders’ style TV show, I know I would probably do some self-reflecting. At least I might buy a smaller packet of raspberry frogs. (For those who don’t know what Hoarders is: Congratulations. You are intellectually superior.)
A scary thought, is that the show (the imaginary one from the last paragraph) wouldn’t even truly reflect all that I have consumed in the year. Just the FOOD that I’ve consumed. Just think of all of the other ‘stuff’ in my life that I don’t eat. Stuff that I accumulate just to put around me. Or on me. For example, it is a ridiculous, but very real fact, that I own more than 50 dresses. Yes I do, and I’m not proud of it. I’ve tried many tactics to make this not the case. I throw out bags of them each year… I lend them to people hoping they’ll forget and keep them. One cosolation is that many of them come from op-shops, which assists to diminish my Environmental Dress Guilt (EDG). But still… so many dresses.
Before you judge, let me just say that this accumulation of ‘stuff’ isn’t a reflection of my greed and need for more more MORE!! What I like to think, is that the ‘stuff’ is a result of the ever-present sentimentality that rules my life.
Sentimentality is a funny disease. To understand, you need to know that people severely affected by ‘sentimentality’, are able (and likely) to develop an emotional attachment to anything. I mean ANYTHING. I could collect a blue bucket from the side of the road today, and tomorrow it will have become “that special blue bucket I got it that time from the side of the road that time, remember?” I’ll associate some romantic story with the experience (such as stopping the car to get it), and next thing you know I have this blue bucket forever.
Christmas is an especially tricky time for those with sentimentality, because it’s a time when people give you even more ‘stuff’. An anonymous colleague once told me a story about a teapot that she’d received as a gift, which she decided to ‘re-gift’ to another friend. However when the second friend opened the gift, they found a Christmas card inside the teapot from the original gifter to my colleague.
What struck me about this story is how far removed this is from something I’d be capable of. Whether I liked the teapot or not, it would stay with me for the rest of my foreseeable life. Not because I like tea (though I do!). Not for any reason other than that I am affected of a disorder that touches many, but is largely a space-wasting mystery.