What Do You Collect?

When I was a child my mother decided that I should collect stamps. She bought me an album for the stamps, gave me a whole bunch of pre-collected stamps, and told me to sort out my collection.

After that she kept giving me stamps she’d steamed off envelopes, and even pre-ordered special new stamps which were about to be released.

Every time I told her that I wasn’t interested in stamps and didn’t want to collect them, she’d tell me that I was being an ungrateful brat. She knew what was best for me, she wanted me to learn about the world through the stamps, and to teach me to be responsible, follow through on projects I’d started.

But… she had also told me that the reason she had a whole bunch of pre-collected stamps was because her father had made her collect stamps when she was a child. She hated her father. She hated being forced to collect stamps by him. She hated his disapproval of her inability to become a proper stamp collector.

My mother regularly told me stories about her childhood. They were usually ones about how she had suffered, how cruel everyone had been to her.

They were shared with me for several reasons.

One of which was to make me shut up if I ever complained about anything – she’d had it worse, she hadn’t been allowed to complain and she had been punished whenever she had complained.

When I injured myself – she’d done something far more dramatic and painful. When I was upset – none of my upsets were ever as big as hers, mine were irrelevant compared to hers. If I had a problem – her problems as a child and as an adult were a million times more serious, mine were silly.

Another of which was that she wanted to let me know how lucky I was to have a mother who didn’t do to me what had been done to her.

I was often confused as a child, trying to make sense of what I was being told versus what was actually happening.

If I pointed out to my mother that she was forcing me to collect stamps the way she’d been forced to collect stamps, I’d be forcefully told that it was not the same at all and completely different.

What she was doing to me was good because she was a good person, what her father had done to her was bad because he was a bad person.

After about the hundredth time my mother had to check up on the progress of my stamp collection because I couldn’t be trusted, had a tantrum about my not having done anything with it and lectured me on the awful truth about myself and emphasised the marvelous magnificence of herself, I dutifully put all the stamps into the album, organised them by country, and read the book on stamps which I’d been generously given since I loved stamps.

When she saw it, of course I’d done it all wrong, but she was pleased that the valuable lesson which she had been teaching me had finally gotten through my thick stupid stubborn skull.

I have a collection of other stories like that. Many other stories like that. I share some of my collection on my blog.

Those stories inspired me to collect something else…

Questions like these:

That’s it for now…

I’d like to thank:

Β Laura Venturini of Lauravent69 for her question – Do you collect anything? – in her Getting to Know You challenge

The Reverist of Riddles & Reveries for noticing that I answered that question with a simple – Yes – and for asking me for more information, I think I will always be surprised when people seem to show a genuine interest in me.

Over to you!


  1. Ah, some of this hit home, though not quite in the same way. If ever I did anything, Sis would always have done it better, bigger, or if it was a bad thing, like moving house, worse.
    It was like some invisible contest. The only thing I had that she couldn’t better, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone anyway, was breast cancer.
    As for collecting things, yes, well, mine was coloured toilet tissue. It was such a novelty as we only had white at home, but my friends had pretty colours.


    • Thank you, Pensitivity πŸ™‚

      There are certain people who feel the need to compete regardless of whether it makes sense or not to do it.

      I love the idea of why you collected coloured tissue ❀


  2. You have an interesting collection I must say now that I remember that image from another post.

    A leave, a jigsaw piece and something else…from an image in another post. That’s your collection I guess.. You wrote about the leave and jigsaw piece somewhere I can’t recall.

    My memory is good for unnecessary things especially if aid by visual image.

    Some months ago I was in class, a drawing left behind on the desk I sat on. The pencil sketch kinda spoke to me in a way. I looked at that sketch for a long time.

    It looked like the main entrance to a big mansion with a semi circle balcony on second level. After awhile, the picture seemed to look like an altar for worship of sort. In fact it look to me like it was a memorial altar of a deceased. It was a perplexing image….


    • Yes, I shared a pic of one of the shelves above my desk. Good memory. I’m also better at remembering when there’s a visual involved. When someone on social media changes their profile picture I have no idea who they are at first – the profile pic tends to stick in my mind more than the name unless the name conjures up a visual for me.

      I love the story of the drawing left behind. That is like a scene from a film. I want to know what happens next, will you try to find the place in the drawing, and while doing that discover a long lost love or answer to a secret which has been puzzling you for years, or will you try to find the person who drew it first but all you keep finding is more drawings like breadcrumbs πŸ˜‰


      • I will be interested to find out the story behind the picture as the story is unfolds the person will be reveal l guess… πŸ˜‰

        When I was young, I’m an inquisitive person. Especially curious about people and their stories…

        Twenty years down the road, life changed me quite a bit. I heard and seen too many stories maybe…

        And the stories are just similar but that’s life isn’t it? Well, stories I heard are similar could be due to the social circle that I’m in, just like your parents and their narcissistic friends., things just keep repeating and repeating. What’s new?!

        Oh I rambling now…lol πŸ˜‰


        • Me too, I’ve always found other people fascinating πŸ™‚ through being curious about and interested in others, through trying to understand them, we discover a lot about ourselves.

          When a person rambles, you get to see their more soulful self…


  3. Omg I swear I have this written somewhere, I just don’t remember where… I collect memories, I collect stories, I collect names and faces of other people… And forge new identities for them. I keep their secrets. And I get muddled up trying to remember whose was whose… And sometimes let something slip. But because they’re all jumbled up inside me, whatever comes out is never the whole thing. And when I try to reveal my own personal truth, I am branded a liar because “I’m hiding something”.
    I just don’t know what I’m hiding? Maybe that’s why I’m open about myself and my experiences… And no one believes that they’re really mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Collective unconscious ftw πŸ™‚

      The problem with being a confessional where others spill their secrets is that no one wants to socialise with the priest who has heard their confessions, they want to spill the beans and then leave those beans behind them, feeling better, lighter, freer, because someone else is burdened with those beans now and they can go out and party.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Basically! Noni Nofriends (bows) but I don’t have a borderline personality disorder. LOL I just personify. And beans. I am hungry right now so I could totally go for a can of baked beans right now. lol

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds familiar! In my case it was the piano and I was supposed to major in music in uni. That was what my mother wanted for herself of course. When I finally told her that I would never pursue music of any kind, it was like someone died. She kept saying that she “[couldn’t] understand it.” If she had been paying any attention at all, she would have known that I was as musically talented as a set of stamp albums. πŸ˜‰


    • Ha! I was also forced to learn how to play the piano. It was partly due to the fact that she had bought a piano, she always had to have a piano wherever she lived just in case. But since she never played it, and every time she saw it she felt the piano judging her, accusing her of being a failure, fraud, etc, she decided to show that piano just how wrong it was to mess with her. I was the weapon she used against her enemies.

      That whole mapping out your career path for you because of her own unlived dreams and ambitions is narc 101. You must do this because she didn’t. You could have been the Golden Child! Luckily you were a rebel πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting! My mother didn’t really play either – a little bit here and there, but there was no staying power or focus. I like how you have described this, that the piano was judging and accusing her. My mother doted on it and hated it too. Very oddly, I inherited it because I was the “musician” in the family! I’ve been trying to get rid of it for a while now.

        Liked by 1 person

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