I am a recovering addict. I wasn’t addicted to alcohol. I wasn’t addicted to drugs. I wasn’t addicted to porn.
I was addicted to stuff.
I spent most of my childhood in foster homes, group homes, and other facilities. I found myself being moved regularly and without much notice if any at all. When I would be moved, I rarely got to take more than a bag. Most of my stuff was left behind. There was always the promise that my stuff would be brought to me later, but I never received more than half of my possessions. This left me emotionally scarred.
I was traumatized by years of mental, physical, and sexual abuse, and I couldn’t be secure in even my property.
I began to amass as much as I could as quickly as I could. If I could get enough stuff, then I might not miss what didn’t find its way back to me.
Eventually, I became an adult and left the system behind me. What I didn’t leave behind was the emotional trauma—part of that emotional trauma manifested as the need to own more stuff. I became a blind consumer, always hungry for more. I bought things for “just in case.” I bought things for “someday.” I bought things that interested me and things that might interest me one day. I bought clothes, I bought books, I bought décor, I bought tools… I bought STUFF.
Americans love stuff. George Carlin even had a bit about stuff.
“A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. You can see that when you’re taking off in an airplane. You look down, you see everybody’s got a little pile of stuff. All the little piles of stuff. And when you leave your house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They never bother with that crap you’re saving. All they want is the shiny stuff. That’s what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get…more stuff!”
The average American home contains 300,000 items.
1 in 10 Americans rents a storage unit.
There are more than 50,000 storage facilities in the United States.
Americans are being suffocated by the belongings that they cling to. Suffocated by stuff.
Look at your own life. How many clothes do you own that you haven’t worn in the last year? How many items do you own just in case you might need them? How much stuff do you have stashed away in junk drawers and storage rooms?
Does all of that stuff overwhelm you?
I finally realized that all that stuff wasn’t just stuff. That stuff was trauma and pain. I had surrounded myself with the physical manifestation of not having a home and being deprived of a childhood.
Are you suffocating in your stuff to overcome a trauma or just to fill the void of the life that the modern world tells you is worth living?
The modern world tells you that to be fulfilled, you must own the latest and greatest. Each day we witness an avalanche of ads attempting to convince you to purchase more stuff. Your life serves one purpose in the modern world… consumption.
Materialism is the new religion. Stores are the new houses of worship. Malls are the new cathedrals.
We are told that you can only be fulfilled by buying and owning more… stuff.
The truth is dark. Your possessions are possessing you.
I’m sure you laughed at that last line. It does sound melodramatic. After all, it’s just stuff. Stuff that you paid for. Stuff that you spent years accumulating. Perhaps you even decided you needed a bigger house or a storage unit to keep all that wonderful stuff in. Stuff that you pay to maintain, pay to store, pay to keep safe, pay to dispose of when you get new and better stuff.
I can’t look into your life and tell you that you have too much stuff, but you can decide that for yourself. Are the things you own serving you? Or, as is the case of so many Americans, are you serving them?
Socrates, a great philosopher, and soldier, stated: “The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
This article isn’t about stuff. This article isn’t about consumerism. This article isn’t about the state of our society.
I am not foolish enough to think that an article will change any of that.
This article is about you.
This article is about asking you questions. More importantly, this article is about getting you to ask yourself questions.
Are you living intentionally and with purpose?
Are you focused on the essentials?
If you are like I was then, I hope this article will help you to wake up.
Written By Ethan – @Manhood_Reborn
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