I had big plans for this week. After all, it is the first week of the New Year. Unfortunately, my body had other plans. Maybe because I was able to relax on vacation, or maybe being with my mom, and thinking about all the reasons I'm upset with her (maybe I'll write about that next week) brought on a stress reaction. It could be all the emotional work I've done. It's exhausting. Whatever it is, I am currently sick.
It started on Christmas Eve, while I was still in Mexico. I got a horrible stomach ache. I was a little worried because when we had gone to Chichen Itza (Mayan ruins) the day before, I had ran out of bottled water and brought tap water. I know, what was I thinking, but the hotel room said the water was purified, and the guidebook said it was a luxury hotel. How could a hotel be luxury if you can't drink the water? The water tasted like it came out of the toilet. Luxury or not, I was not filled with confidence.
So the stomach ache continued, although not as severe as before. By the time I dragged myself to the doctor last Thursday, I was also dehydrated, feverish, snotty, and had a sore throat. The doctor gave me Cipro, and put me on a Gatorade hydration diet. I figured I was good to go on my New Years Eve plans, so I headed down to Portland to see my friend. We planned to go to a Bollywood dance party, but it was sold out, so we ended up at a gay club instead. I've never been to a male strip club, but I imagine it would be sort of like this place on this particular night. We counted 23 shirtless guys, some of whom were also pantsless, and dancing on raised platforms in ways that straight guys would never dance. Most were also chiseled, and totally hot. Yes, they were gay, but there's no harm in looking. In fact, just looking was perfect.
You'd think that after that experience, the Cipro, and the vitamin and herbal tinctures my friend expertly treated me with all weekend, I would have come back strong and ready to kick ass. It's really a miracle that I came back at all, though, considering the number of times I had to pull over on the way back from Portland because I couldn't focus on the road. I am now full blown sick. Actually, yesterday I was so sick I couldn't write. Today I am better. Yesterday I went to the grocery store to get juice, and everything was going fine until I started coughing, and the whole store looked at me as if they thought I was going to cough up an elephant. I've produced enough phlegm to construct an elephant, that's for sure.
Being this sick and quarantined to my apartment is making me think about my hoarding problem. I am a ridiculous pack rat. I say ridiculous because it causes me problems. I can't find things, moving is a nightmare, it embarrasses me, and I actually keep things that upset me to look at, like things that ex-boyfriends gave me, e-mails they sent me, and a stupid amount of stuff that belonged to my brother. (When I look at my brother's stuff I want to wail with grief, yet I keep it around and feel guilty if I try to get rid of it. As if he cares. He is dead.)
I'm not sure why I have this problem, but there are a few Dr. Phil type possibilities such as, 1. my stuff is a physical representation of my psychological inability to let go, 2. it is an avoidance technique (concentrate on physical stuff rather than emotions), 3. my stuff is reliable and predictable, unlike the people in my life. I've had this problem since I was a kid, so it must be a coping mechanism for something that started back then. I suspect it's a combination of all three, although considering the way I feel now and the way I felt then, I think it has to do with feeling disappointed in my family and romantic relationships. I'm very clear about what my possessions do for me, but many of my relationships have seemed as substantial as smoke, especially after what I put into the relationship burned away.
I've made some progress since October of last year. I got rid of about half my clothes (part I brought to Goodwill, part I sold, the rest was stolen out of my car. That was weird.) I've been selling and giving away shoes, books, records, videotapes, and CD's. I really want to completely overcome this problem, and that will take focus. Today I deleted about 700 messages from my e-mail in-boxes. (The scary thing is that's only half.)
I feel significantly dragged down by the past. I know that the emotional work I'm doing will help, and I think getting rid of stuff that reminds me of the past will too. I feel a lot of anxiety when I am brought back to the past, which is often. A big issue for me in recent years has been ex-boyfriends refusing to leave me alone. That just happened last week when the last guy I dated, who was rude when we broke up and made a point of telling me not to ever contact him again, sent me an e-mail. I know it was just an e-mail, but after the experiences I've had with stalking and harassment, my heart stopped. I did not reply, and hope it does not happen again. My wish for the New Year is to be able to move on.