Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 12 - Obsessions

Day 12 - something you are OCD about

I'm kind of with Angie on this one. I don't like to drop terms like OCD around too lightly. But that's the title of today's topic, so let's talk about some habits, perhaps some repetitious habits that I may feel a little silly admitting.

Reading through the other ladies playing along, its pretty clear we're all a little hung up on lists of all shapes and sizes. I prefer mine with little empty boxes drawn next to my to dos that I can fill in when they're done. Silly, yes. Satisfying, yes. But I also seem to find a bizarre comfort/discomfort in stacks.

Like when my dear pal S. came into my dorm room in the midst of mid-terms freshman year to find me quietly crying and stacking my books and notes in piles around me.

“Dude, I think if you just opened one and started studying, you might feel a little less stressed.”

Well, yes. Probably. But I just have this desire to physically see a representation of the tasks ahead of me. That stack – manageable. That one – no way. That one over there – I’m going to pretend it’s not really there but I will keep it there so I don’t completely forget that there is something big that I am avoiding.

15+ years later (dammit!) I look around my desk and I see these same patterns. This stack – personal. That stack – work-related. That stack – stuff I should get to sooner than later. It’s all stacks and piles that would probably be thinner if I spent less time stacking and more time doing.

I can’t tell if this is how I get my head around things, or how I unnecessarily add to my anxieties. The stacking helps compartmentalize but it’s not like I create one and stop. Ok, here are tasks I can reasonably address today. One step at a time. No. That would be sensible. I need to know I am in the weeds. In over my head and I need the piles as evidence.

My penchant for stacking is not unnoticed. It is M’s scapegoat for all things missing (aka things he’s misplaced) in the apartment. Sometimes it is the culprit (have you seen the last New Yorker magazine? What about my library book?) Oftentimes not. (honey, where’s my toothbrush?) But anyone who has lived with me for a time can attest that when I talk about piling it on, it’s not even figurative.

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