It all started when I was 2. My mother gave me a package of Crayolas (tm) and some blank white paper. Beautiful, beautiful, white paper, just dying for the softest mark. I was amazed at how the colored wax merged with the sleek virgin sheets. Or.. at least... I probably was. I don't really remember, but hey, it's my memory.
Anyway, so there I was when it occurred to me. The walls. The biggest, blankest, whitest canvas I would ever find to hold the glory of my 16 differently-colored friends. It goes without saying that my mother was not very pleased. She took my beloveds away from me; little did she know she was setting off a chain of events that would change mankind forever!
Like some sort of Freudian nightmare, I became fixated on that which my mother had tried to deny me. Fast forward to high school. I'm the girl with the bookbag full of supplies. Pens, pencils, lightweight three-hole-punch, white out, book covers in various designs; you name it, I had it. I looked forward to the start of every project, every term, for that meant fresh, new supplies. I would lose myself in the home office section of the store for what seemed like days. My love, my life, my school supplies.
I spent a long time considering a career in education. Mostly because it would mean that I can hide my dirty little secret. No one questions a teacher who's got a room full of school supplies. I mean, if not her.. than who? I began disguising my addiction with rationalizations like, "Oh I'm just stocking up on this glue for my someday-classroom while it's cheap" or "Well in case one of the kids needs 112 different colors for a project, I should get this set..." It wasn't pretty. I was headed in a downward spiral. I was falling out of control. I became...
a cashier at OfficeMax (tm). Suddenly, I was making $6/hour to participate in what was essentially a personal orgy for me. Me and 15 of my peers in a warehouse of school supplies. I bagged them, stocked them, ordered them from catalogs, loved them, memorized their positions, and at the end of every 2 weeks, I took the best ones home with me. It was my nirvana. It was also my hell. My addiction had overtaken my life.
When my friends and family began to notice the problem, that's when I knew I had to do something. We'd go to Wal*Mart and my best friends would push me past the school supply aisle, insisting I not look. When semesters started no one wanted to go with me to the book store or the office supply store. I had to get help.
I quit my job at OfficeMax, but that wasn't enough. I'd soon started up as a lab monitor. It dawned on me that virtually every job I'd ever had was closely involved with office supplies. It was a sick and heartbreaking discovery.
I am still searching for the pencils that I was so fond of in my childhood: the #2 Empire pastel pencils with matching erasers (in shades of pink, blue, green and yellow). And I still have more loose leaf paper than I know what to do with; people come to me first when they need a pair of scissors. But I'm learning to budget myself. Either that, or I've got so many school supplies I've saturated my craving for a few years. Whatever the case, I'm learning to live with myself--even if I am a school supply junkie.