When you’re under a lockdown such as what we’re all going through, you spend a lot of time thinking, obsessing and wallowing. It’s like the energy you’re not expending driving, working and engaging with others goes straight into your head and you just spend a lot of time inside your head. When you’re single, with a kid, and it’s just the two of you, the thinking is at an all-time high.
As a single person, who’s managed to seclude herself with a kid up on a hill with zero neighbors, I now feel like I am in a relationship with my brain and my heart, and it’s not a very healthy throuple. I’m thinking, wallowing and craving company all the time! The loneliness factor is off the charts. And when you’re this lonely, you don’t project into the future, you become focused on the past. Thinking about the future in the middle of this pandemic is hard because you can’t quite picture it, but the past is vivid, and it’s right there, nipping at your heels.
I am going to be 41 in a couple of weeks so I have a lot of junk in my heart, a truckload! That’s because I tend to accumulate feelings. I hoard stuff in my heart, yep, that’s the word, I’m a Hoarder of Emotions. Wow, I’m excited by own genius, that’s a pretty dope term. I need to trademark this ASAP! HOARDER OF EMOTIONS. DAMN. Now that’s deep, on some Kanye West level deepness 😊.
Okay, back to the point. I have hoarded emotions intensely over the past 41 years. Actually, I don’t remember much from my childhood years so let’s leave all that out. Let’s say I’ve hoarded emotions from ten years old till now. Ten years old, the year of my first crush. The fact that I remember the year of my first crush should tell you how deeply I hoard emotions. It’s pretty serious.
I was talking to someone last night who said to me that I have a big heart, just as I was telling her that I hold on to feelings for a pretty long time. Those two comments, me saying I hold onto feelings and she saying I have a big heart led to my epiphany. It just hit me like a ton of bricks. I need to declutter my heart!
Declutter my heart.
I like to declutter physical spaces. It’s my thing. I do it all the time. I’m always fighting with my mom because she’s a hoarder (but in denial), and I target her storage spaces, which is basically everywhere. We’ve had lots of fights about this. I invade her spaces and I declutter viciously, often without permission, with the intent of improving the space, to lighten her load. I’ve thrown away handbags that were apparently older than me. I almost got dis-owned for that handbag move, but she even had utensils older than me!
Another friend and I were talking about our mothers last night, about how they have boxes of conditioner and shampoo bottles from hotel rooms, and trinkets from every wedding and engagement. It just amazes me about how much older people just hold onto stuff. What they don’t do though, is to hoard onto emotions or past grievances, they are the ‘let it go’ generation.
I take a lot of pride in my physical spaces. I like large, open, clutter-free, spacious, clean physical spaces. I don’t store anything in my living spaces, it’s meant for living, so everything around me must be stuff I use regularly. I do not hoard physical items at all. I don’t even like the concept of cooking a lot of food and freezing the food for months. I hate seeing tons bowls and pans in the freezer. My fridge and freezer must only have stuff from the past few weeks, no more than a month. I give away clothes and accessories annually. I just do not hoard!
That was my thinking anyways. And maybe I’ve been obsessive about decluttering physical spaces because my heart is just bursting at the seams. Gosh my heart is so full! I exist in a pristine physical environment but my heart is messy!
My emotional hoarding typically has 3 phases and 3 categories of guys. Yup! Even when I’m hoarding emotions, there’s a bit of method to the madness. I’m Type A after all.
Emotional hoarding phases.
Phase 1 is when I’m with the person, in a relationship, situationship or friendship. During Phase 1, I am not actually super emotional, I am very aloof, sometimes to the point of never even declaring my feelings, at all. That’s the thing, I hoard the emotions, but I don’t declare them at the right time.
Phase 2 is when we break up, or the situationship runs its course and it’s all over, whatever it was. It is only then that my emotions kick into high gear. I don’t know why. I am more emotional when a relationship is over than when I am actually in the relationship or the situation. Phase 2 is seriously a crazy phase, for real, it’s the most obsessive phase when I feel like I can’t even live without this person. I struggle during this phase. It’s pure madness. Let me tell you about some of the crazy things I’ve done while in Phase 2. I’ve written letters and given them to the guy’s family members and friends to give to him. I even gave a letter to a guy’s sister while she was at primary school! I’ve recorded music on cassettes and CDs and delivered them in some elaborate fashion. If we had hot air balloons in Ghana, I would have used that to send a message too! I’ve made it a point to attend every single party or event I expect the guy to be at. I’ve sent long, weepy emails and dedicated poems to them, even posted a few of such poems on my blog (remember ‘I miss you’?). Phase 2 is completely embarrassing, no other word for it. I am generally super obsessive during Phase 2. There are people I can’t even look at right now because I know they remember my crazy days! Any ex of mine reading this is probably like, damn, so that’s what it was! She actually gave it a name – phase 2!
Phase 3 is when I transition into some sort of calm. I can see the person, I can talk to him, I can be friends with him, and I don’t fall apart when I engage with them. Phase 3 may seem healthy, but not really, because I am still holding onto the emotions I had for them. I may seem outwardly calm and sane to them, but it’s all a ruse, to get them to sort of let me back in as a friend but mentally and emotionally, I am still fantasizing about romantic getaways and weddings. It’s like controlled chaos, but it’s the only way I can even be in their orbit, if I control my chaos.
So those are the three phases of my emotions.
Category of guys.
Now there are three categories of guys I hold onto. Like I said, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking under lock down! I’ve had time to organize everything regarding my emotional hoarding disease. Please understand, I’m the type of person who writes down a schedule for every minute of her day, including Saturdays and Sundays. So categorizing the phases of my emotional hoarding and the type of guys I do this with is very normal for me 😊. I’m nuts, but I think you all know that already.
1st category of guys are the ones I truly go mad for, the ones I struggle the most to let go of. Category 1 guys are worse than category 5 hurricanes, they have been devastating to my heart and my mind. I lose all control and esteem when dealing with guys in this category. There are three main guys or exes from my past in category 1 and these three guys have wreaked a lot of havoc in my life, and they definitely know it. It’s been unhealthy for all parties involved. These three guys in category 1 are the ones who have taken up so much space in my heart that I can’t see straight. They’ve blinded me and just embedded themselves in my heart and never left. To be fair to them, my wording is actually wrong. They haven’t embedded themselves in my heart, I’m the one who’s hoarding my memories and emotions of them in my heart. They are out there living their lives and I am holding onto remnants of my time with them for dear life.
I do have some good days when I truly feel like I am over every single one of the category 1 guys. I felt like I was in a pretty good place of recovery from them, until the lock down happened and then I texted each one of them, after years of radio silence. Such pathetic weakness on my part!
2nd category of guys are the good guys I’ve cared about in my life. I dated them or had an intimate friendship but not with crazy passion, more mature and sane than my typical situations. I carry the good guys in my heart as well. I tell myself that they’re in my heart out of care and concern for their wellbeing, so we’ll leave it at that. There’s one main guy in this category. I hardly check in on good guys though. Isn’t that always the case? The good guys can’t catch a break.
3rd category of guys is harder to describe because they are there in my heart for different reasons. We’ll call them the miscellaneous group. There’re two of them. First guy, I would chalk it up to bad timing. When I sensed that he liked me, I wasn’t ready (I was hung up on someone from category 1) and by the time I felt I was ready, I had been friend zoned, seriously friend zoned. I’ve been keeping him in my heart as some sort of hope but it’s not likely, I know that. Second guy, such a mystery, this one. We were close, very close for about 3 years but there was no intimacy. He was like my boyfriend but without the intimacy. We did everything couples do except that. We were two peas in a pod, we were inseparable, we were Bonnie and Clyde (without the crime). It was a real connection. I keep him in my heart for nostalgia reasons, not because of hope. I just like remembering him and our good times. I feel like it’s harmless enough to keep him in my heart. I recently checked in on both of these guys as well.
I’m carrying about 6 guys along in my heart, for various reasons, but each one comes with emotional baggage. It’s really just too much!
I’m not exactly sure how to declutter my heart. I probably need to stop thinking about them, stop reaching out to them randomly, stop fantasizing, stop hoping for something – basically stop everything. I need a heart detox. I’m going to do some research on this, but most of the articles I’ve come across online just give you tips on how to get over a recent heartbreak or difficult ex. I’m dealing with 6 ghosts! How do I wipe them all out at once? I can’t phase out this cleanse. It’s urgent, they’ve all got to go!
If you have tips, please share. Be my Marie Kondo please. Save me. Help me to declutter my heart!