For the first 18 years of my life I grew up with a family secret that is now known as hoarding (en español acumulación compulsiva). I’ve written a memoir about those years in my life and also the impact they’ve had on me as an adult. I’m currently taking a break from editing it but intend to get back to it in a few years. A couple of years ago I was in more of a rush to publish the memoir and I started making Youtube videos on the subject. Some other children of hoarders have told me that they found these videos helpful, so I thought I’d make them all available in one place below.
In my first and still most popular video I talked about how I’ve struggled with life-long insecurities as a result of growing up with hoarding. In this video from January 2015 I relate problems that I had at the time with a cheating ex to the feelings I still carry inside about my body:
In this next video I talk about impulsivity and hoarding. In my hoarding family we’ve always equated our impulsivity with “fun”. Here I relate a story about my first period to contrast the impulsive quickness with which we always decided to do fun things vs. the long procrastination involved in dealing with the harsh realities of hoarding:
The psychological literature on hoarding informs us that hoarders typically display what is called “delayed decision-making” and have trouble making decisions in general. I’m also aware from watching TED talks and the like that members of modern, Western, capitalist societies also have trouble making decisions because we have more options available to us than ever before. In my hoarding family for at least three generations we have trouble setting boundaries as parents. I think this is probably the funniest story I’ve told on Youtube and it illustrates this lack of boundaries and difficulty making decisions:
As a linguist I consider myself a kind of anthropologist and I can’t help but make cultural observations, including when addressing psychological issues. Here are some observations I have about how hoarding behavior relates to Western capitalism vs. subsistence economies:
Here is a story about how I made a friend in middle school who, like me, was the daughter of a hoarder, which made it possible for me to have the one and only sleepover to ever happen at my house:
In this next video I recount a story of experiencing a trauma as an adolescent and then having to come home to an apartment that did not make me feel safe. The point is to illustrate that often times in life you have multiple problems, not just one, and ultimately you have to find your own way out of them because those you hope will help you may often fail you. I know, I’m a bundle of laughs…
In the following video I explain how a childhood full of secrets have led me to be secret-averse in adulthood. You guys don’t have to take it to the extremes that I do, but I’ve gotta be me. Some of my feelings have changed since I made this video, but what I still believe in, maybe even more strongly, is that secret-keeping is a kind of opression and I want to be free.