I joke at times about being a bit OCD, but the photo above is not far from my truth in the kitchen. I can obsess about keeping the counters clean, running my hand across the top, looking for crusty smudges I missed the last time I wiped them off. And I cannot wake up in the morning to a sink filled with dirty dishes. Natasha used to wonder about that – why I had to do dishes every time I ate something. Well, there’s something about not having a pile of them at the end of the day or the next morning. I can make a mess in the kitchen, but in the end, I want it cleaned up ASAP.
That being said, I am NOT a clean freak. If I get around to general house cleaning (vacuuming, dusting, washing floors) every two weeks, that’s a good thing. Not that I make big messes since it’s just me and a cat, but usually by the time the Swiffer hits the kitchen and bathroom floors and the vacuum canister fills up, I tend to realize that I may be a day or two or week late in household duties.
My compulsivity comes in bits and pieces, in choices, or perhaps in waves. When working, I remember a time when I would walk by the mail slots and stop to straighten the papers in them while my own desk looked like a tornado hit it with full intent. (It was organized intent, though.)
At home, my “office” area, sock drawer and closets are neat and tidy for a while, but then build in a crescendo of disorganization and messiness until the “I-can’t-stand-it-any-longer” bug hits me and they become neat and tidy again. If you walked into my apartment, you may not see it, but it’s there – compulsive neatness or messiness, in hiding or out in the open. It depends on the day.
Lately, food compulsion is part of the menu. I go to the grocery store with a list of six things and come home with almost two shopping bags full. Oh, that looks good…oh, I want to try that…oh, quick lunch for me…oh, I think I’m out of this (although I have two cans of it at home).
I’m a little bit OCD, a little bit perfectionist, but most of the time I try to ignore myself. There is so much more to do in life than clean and straighten and buy more coconut milk than one needs. Case in point: I haven’t done my filing since before Christmas. I had three months of winter in which to explore this, but would look at it, shrug my shoulders and whisper, “Maybe tomorrow.” This is one of those things that compulsion ignores. It probably harkens back to the 44 years of office work and filing and the many years of also keeping control of mom and dad’s paperwork. I’d really rather clean the toilets than do filing of any sort. Weird, huh?
Compulsion is a strange bedfellow. It can make people do things that they don’t really need to do. I remember years ago being at my ex-husband’s niece’s house for a party. She had serious OCD as she was cleaning out a kitchen drawer rather than being engaged with entertaining guests, as if it couldn’t wait. I used to feel that compulsion with straightening the mail slots until one day when it hit me that this was completely unnecessary. I asked myself, “What in the heck am I doing?,” and made a vow to start ignoring that disorganization. I was okay most days after that, but once in a blue moon…
Compulsion hasn’t taken over my life, but as I said before, it’s there in bits and pieces. I try to ignore what is not important or necessary, but I can’t go through life with the feeling of chaos either. Right now, my home office desk is not neat and the filing remains, but I have order in the kitchen and the vacuuming and dusting are complete. The wash is done. And soon, I will be eating the remaining remnants of my last compulsive shopping trip.
Balance is good.
Speaking of which, any compulsive cleaning or organizing may be taking a summer break when I start balancing on the bicycle. Personal priorities come before disorder. Always.
What is your compulsion, blogging peeps? Do you have a closet full of shoes? A shelf over-flowing with books? A clean kitchen counter top? We all have them, right? So feel free to join the club with your witty and compelling comments.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is the brainchild of author Linda G. Hill. Every Friday, Linda provides her followers with an inspiring blogger’s prompt. It can be a word or words and sometimes bonus points are involved (my favorite). Linda asks us to write without editing, other than correcting spelling errors.
Just go with the flow.
Like a babbling brook or rain drops. Click HERE if this type of writing floats your boat or helps with your decision-making. Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “comp.” Find a word that starts with or contains “comp” and use it in your post. Enjoy!