Hoarders: Making Yourself Feel Better

I was reaching for something to write about tonight and randomly put on an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive. I’ve watched most of season 1 and 2; I even have a “favorite” episode — first season, takes place in Portland, OR titled “Filling the Void”. Dunno why. Just like it. The outside scenery is gorgeous, I like the older woman’s quirky personality, the family’s college-age gay son will probably be cute when he’s no longer a twink, etc. I think the thing here is that I can watch it without being horrified or grossed out.

I should just find a documentary about this place. Seriously.

I should just find a documentary about this place. Seriously.

Hoarders, as with any show, feels like it has to get more and more shocking as time goes on. The later seasons start involving bugs and animals, and just get worse and worse. I will tell you a secret to watching Hoarders and not being grossed out: look for the kitchen and the bathrooms. If there is no running water, turn the fucking program off. If the bathroom is unusable, just move on, watch some Power Rangers or something less offensive, and spare your psyche. I learned this rule the hard way.

I have a very strong stomach. It takes a lot to make me gag or gross out. A few of my friends and I were watching an episode together, and the kitchen was totally unusable. There was no running water. No running water means no working shower. Or toilet.¬† This hoarder’s solution?

Behold and tremble with queasiness!

Behold and tremble with queasiness!

**Warning! This next paragraph is freekin’ gross. Feel free to skip it entirely and I will have changed subjects and have moved on to something less offensive!** This was her toilet. A bucket. Being a hoarder, and not one into upkeep or cleanliness, she was a little neglectful about emptying this chamberpot. And so, it would fill up. To the fucking brim. And when it was FULL, she would carry it out, laboring, panting, and straining under the weight, allowing the contents to slop over the sides…and dump it in front of her house, not two yards from her front door. Friends, the producers at Hoarders showed the content of the bucket slopping over as this woman carried it out front. I gagged. Looked again, gagged again. I NEVER gag. My eyes watered just imagining the stench. My ex and I were about to leave, and this episode hastened that exodus. I couldn’t watch Hoarders for about a year (partially because I just have trouble keeping up with shows, honestly). **End foulness. You may read after this again, and do so without fear.**

Just something pretty to look at.

Just something pretty to look at.

Okay, still with me? I decided to watch some episode tonight from the fourth season, titled “Tiny Monsters.” I got 3 minutes and 17 seconds in before I turned it off. The oven didn’t work, there was one working burner, and as the poor daughter was cooking, the surrounding area was crawling with various bugs. They flashed to a big ass black widow spider cruising around the house. And the bathroom looked inoperative. There were rusted tin cans in the sink. They opened the fridge…and I turned off the episode.

My beloved grandmother, gone three years this summer, was like a mother to me. Better than a mother in some cases. She was also a mild hoarder. Reading more and watching this show, I realize that she was not that bad. Nor was she the kind I have described. It was bad, but not extreme. She was a reader, and so the house had a lot of papers, novels, mail, and magazines. My aunt — Ursula, the Half-Leech Half-Bison — decided to sell Avon and, since my grandmother’s house was untidy anyway, she would leave all her Avon merchandise at my grandmother’s house, thereby adding the element of cardboard to the ghastly mess.

Cardboard: the bane of hoarders and those who love them.

Cardboard: the bane of hoarders and those who love them.

I love my grandmother, hated the hoard, and resented my aunt for callously adding to it. Being around that has done strange things to me. I can tolerate some mess, but not filth (the aforementioned bucket would send me screaming away). Yet, mess in my room and surroundings can only get so bad before I freak and clean/throw away/Hulk out. Watching Hoarders makes me feel better about all that. It relaxes me and makes me feel better about my organizational skills, allowing me to approach organizing from a calm place of inner peace, mixed with determination.

I feel for the hoarders on the show. I see hints of someone I love very much in this show. I know it isn’t easy to live with or to experience. And it makes me feel better about myself.

And isn’t that what reality TV is all about?

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~ by Darren Endymion on June 16, 2014.

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