Hi. My name is Michelle and I have a problem. I am a paperholic. This is my first time at SSA (school supplies anonymous) and I want to share my story. It all started harmlessly when I was a young girl. My first time was simple note cards. Flowers decorated the front of each card and they were irresistible. I think it was the matching envelopes that got me. I rarely wrote notes, but just having them near me was enough to satisfy my craving. However, I soon progressed to stationary and beautifully designed papers. The smoothness of each sheet lured me to believe I could write a letter that would be as lovely as the images in the margins.
From there journals were next. I am ashamed to admit I have drawers full of journals. Many of which are empty, but they are waiting there for me should I ever need them… and I do need them. Along with journals came pens, and with pens came little book lights in case I needed to write in the dark. Soon I felt the need for color, so colored pencils and crayons appeared…then markers. Markers were so joyous as they danced on the pages, but blank pages soon tired me. I progressed to highlighters so I could mark in books…moving from the boring yellow to the oh-so-bold neon.
Speaking of books…I started out with an innocent desire to read and continued on and on until I could no longer pass a bookstore without purchasing a book. I have bookshelves in every room and they are all full and running over. As you can imagine this has not been good for my budget. My fellow SSA members, I have tried to curb this addiction, really I have. I bought a Kindle thinking that 3,000 digital books could save room, but I continue to purchase “real” books that I do not have time to read. It feels good to finally admit this to someone.
Frantic to hide my problem I found myself going into the Container Store, which led to containers and all kinds of organizational storage bins. Wicker baskets soon morphed into towers of Rubbermaid tubs. From small tuck-away boxes, to flat cram-it-under-the-bed hidden containers, I found myself spiraling out of control. What was inside? Books in some. Paper in others…journals, stationary, and notecards. Craft supplies. Scissors, Fiskars of course, but not only that but all kinds of fancy edged designer scissors. Stencils. Paints. And glue…fabulous glue…paste, glitter glue, glue sticks, and rubber cement. Each with its own purpose. My collection grew to include scrapbook paper, until I had to have selves built to contain all my containers. My walls became new places to organize. I started with Command strips and soon wished I owned stock in the Command Company since I bought their products by the bag full.
I will admit I should have seen that I had a problem, but I was in denial. It all seemed so harmless until I ran out of places to store my supplies. I had to think fast. Where could I put envelopes of every size? What about my hole punches and craft sticks? Then I found it…the perfect cover. No one would ever suspect I had an addiction issue. I became a teacher! I moved into bulletin board boarders, and teacher resource books. It was a whole new world! I eventually stooped to collecting supplies of retiring teachers that had been through generations of students. It got so bad, I could not pass by a ‘freebie’ pile without collecting some old file folder games that no longer even matched the standards. Rather than hide my problem, it only grew worse. It was a monster chasing me down. My husband was the first to confront me. I ignored him and surrounded myself with people who have the same issue. We would all go on the apple cart together each month to spend our paychecks before they even hit the bank. It got so bad that each teacher supply store knew us by name. We would sneak in “just looking” and come out with five bags of new items and giddy with excitement until other bills came due and there was nothing left to pay them with.
I have come to realize that I am powerless to stop myself. I need a higher power to intervene on my behalf. I need the support of this group and a safe place to voice my failures. I came to you today because tomorrow is the hardest day of the year. My heart beats faster just thinking of it. I can almost smell the fresh paper, and hear the turning of the pages. I do not know how to handle it other than to ask for your prayers that I can be strong. Everything in me wants to organize, write, cut, and paste. I feel this urge and I cannot control it. I covet your prayers and support. I must find a way to handle…The First Day of School!!