Why I Believe OCD is an OC-Do

OCD- the word (name? description? behavior?) (way of life?)  brings to mind vacuuming your rugs three times a day or turning off and on the light switch exactly seven times before you can leave a room (remember that True Life: I have OCD?!! MTV did have some fine quality programming to redeem itself from some of the current excuses that pass for shows. Or is that me being old again?).  I take the position that a little OCD isn’t necessarily a bad thing. How many OCD people have messy houses? Or pass germs around? That’s right, NONE.
I am a tidy person.  Granted, I was more tidy prior to the arrival of my bundle of joy, but I am still tidy, none the less. I don’t think it’s abnormal to lint roll my lampshades and curtains.  I love sorting and organizing and purging things, like sock drawers.  Refolding all my shirts? Love it! Matching all of my socks? Yes, please! Cleaning out the medicine cabinet? My pleasure! As a child, it was not punishment to send me to my room to clean it (now, as a teenager, maybe… I remember packing my room when we moved my freshman year of high school. My preferred method was to scoop piles up off the floor and dump them into boxes… which made unpacking sort of like a mini Christmas- I had no idea what was in each box.) My favorite store is The Container Store- ooh the possibilities! That store makes me want to start hobbies just so that I can organize them.
Even at my untidiest, I have been a purger.  I get it from my father.  He used to throw away anything and everything that wasn’t nailed down. Oddly enough though, this doesn’t extend to food.  My father is Captain Just-Cut-The-Mold-Off-The-Rest-Of-It-Is-Fine.  (To be fair, he possibly got it from his parents who remembered the Great Depression. When we cleaned out their house after their deaths, the stash was impressive.  The freezer was an advanced work of the art of packing. We could have eaten for a month, all three of us, on the reserves from that small freezer. Also, they had a habit of stashing packs of peanut butter crackers around the house. They were both diabetic so the crackers were an answer to the threat of hypoglycemia.  We found 64½ packs of crackers…in a house that was 1000 sq feet! ) It doesn’t matter to my Dad what food it is, either…cheese, bread, hummus, salsa… It has gotten so bad that my mother will wait until he is out of the house on trash day to throw things away (Sorry for outing you, Mom!)   I can remember many a night, armed with a flashlight, going through trash bags to rescue math homework. It had been thrown away because I had neglected to put it where it belonged, or, more importantly, out of the way of the garage express. (My father, after I told him about this post, informed me that the trash is where he puts all important documents that he wants to make sure my mother sees. So, I guess I didn’t have a chance either way- thanks Mom and Daddy!) I belong to the party of Throw It Away.  If you don’t use something within two weeks, it’s gone.  Extra buttons on shirts? Gone. Instruction manuals (once item is fully functional) Buh-bye!  (I do understand that some of my items-to-be-tossed are a bit excessive; however, my husband has a penchant to hang on to an item’s packaging. Yes, the empty card board boxes (and the packing materials) would be piled up in our attic, and closets, and spare room, and office, and work room if he had his way. I have seen him do it! When we first lived together, I would wait until he left for a trip and I would purge the boxes o’ crap with militaristic efficiency. When he got home, I would tell him that I was able to combine the boxes. I would leave out the part that I junked almost everything. Before you get all shouty at me, I ask you—does one really need: a broken alarm clock (no radio), a broken blue desk lamp, dried up highlighters, unsticky post-its, and carbon checks from a checking account that has been closed for more than five years? No, one does not.)
To my husband’s credit, he has seen the light and is now a very tidy person.  On a few occasions, he has returned from his parents’ house armed with old crap that his mother dug out of the basement… and he puts it directly into the trash can outside of the house! It never even enters our home! That, my friends, is progress! I am not sure if he is really a tidy man at heart, or if it is just easier to do it my way. Either way, I am happy. Also to my husband’s great credit, he is usually willing to do things the right way (the
Julia Way

).  However, the few times he has stuck to his guns, he is usually right.  You think I would remember this, and yet, I have found myself donning a hazmat suit to recover items from the trash that I thought he was finished with (i.e., that I was sick of looking at).  I don’t know if I should be very proud, or very ashamed, but my daughter is a card carrying member of the OCD Clean and Organize Club.  She is two and a half… At daycare, she routinely helps (yells) at other children who throw things on the floor, suggesting (chastising) that they throw whatever it is away. She thinks the bottles of 409 and Windex mean game time. I have found her emptying her drawers, only to be able to put everything back, neat and tidy.  The only behavior that I find a little troubling is the constant hand washing (I do attribute this to the newly found skill of using the potty and washing hands afterwards. Also, she got to pick out her own pink Cherry Blossom soap. Who wouldn’t want to use it all day?!)

In the future, I will continue to embrace my OCD, as I do believe it makes my world a better, cleaner, less cluttered place.  Although it might not be that socially acceptable, you do it, too. And you know it. (Whether you disinfect every square inch around yourself and your children in public, or you re-sort all food items into matching Tupperware before you put them away in your cabinets, or you have a special good luck routine prior to flying on a airplane that may have up to 18 steps and include multiple family members, or wearing the same underpants and socks for game day to ensure your team’s victory even though you don’t play on the team, your life (and everyone else around you) is better.) Carry on friend, carry on.  And know that the world would be a better, safer, cleaner place if there were more like you.
 
Please note that my blog is intended for entertainment purposes only. Those suffering from OCD should seek medical council from a professional.

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