OCD. Also known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Clinically, I’m sure it has a long definition of what exactly it is. For me, it is the “need” to have things be a certain way and to really not feel okay if it isn’t that way.
I remember when I was a kid, all of the things in my room had their certain place. I placed things in a certain order and at certain angles and then I felt okay. Sometimes, when my dad would tuck me in, he would say Good night, and then reach over and move a few things that I had on my shelf or desk. And close the door.
As soon as the door closed, I’d jump out of bed and move the things back. I knew where everything was and how it would go. If I didn’t put it back, then I felt so anxious.
I also use to do a thing where I’d rub my face on each side of my nose and on my forehead and it would be both sides at the same time. It’s weird to think back to those things because I don’t do them so overtly. But, every now and then, things pop up.
Now, as an adult, I can see that I had those tendencies and that I still have them in much more subtle ways. It’s not so much about the placement of things anymore, but more about a general sense of having things be as I think they should be.
For example, when I’m at my grandma’s, because she likes it that way, I want my bed to be made. Or when I’m riding in a car in the back seat, I generally prefer to be on the right hand side.
What spurred this post was the fact that I was thinking about how I feel satisfied when I’ve organized things. When I was at my grandparents’ house, I organized their closet which had wrapping paper, bags, bows etc. I organized it all so that it is all separated into the respective parts and easy to find things. I felt so good after I did that. Or now, I have organized clothing that I’m wearing for the next few days in a basket, so it’s all set out. When I am done wearing them, I either pack them in the Rubbermaid style box or in the suitcase to go. Once everything is neatly wrapped up and packed up, it feels good.
I imagine that there is an aspect of control involved…that I like that things aren’t all over the place. In fact, when I think about the times that my things have been messy and all over the place, it is usually a reflection of me and how I’m feeling at the moment.
A friend once said to me that in order for a flower to grow, there has to be shit (literally shit) for it to grow out of. And so every thing has it’s shit and it’s beautiful flower that grows out of that shit (aka there’s usually something good on the shit side of every situation!)
In this case, my OCD tendencies can help me to stay quite organized and on top of things. I know where everything is. I’m good at organizing and planning trips. Researching things online and figuring out how to do things.
I think it’s such a wonderful way to look at things: of every part of us that we think is crappy or that we don’t like, what is the flower side of it? What do we gain from being that way? If we really look and are honest and compassionate with ourselves, we’ll find it! xo