Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why I Share My Dirty Little Secrets.

Or rather, my very very overly clean ones.

I've been asked by a couple people, why am I doing this? Because sometimes it hurts. It hurts to share a lot of the Things I Do. It's embarrassing. It's really, really embarrassing. (And I haven't even gotten to The Big One yet.) So why do I bare my soul to all of you? Many, many of you are people I've known for years, and who I know in real life, and the most you knew was that maybe I had a few little tics. Maybe you knew that I'm a "bit" of a germaphobe. Maybe you knew I washed my apples with soap, or soaked my strawberries in salt water.*

*That's a post for next time!

But all of a sudden, I come out with this blog and I'm confessing that I go nuclear on the house with Lysol spray after a guest leaves, or I refuse to allow my child to play at mall play areas, or I hold my breath when I walk by people, or I check that the back door is locked 27 times a night, etc. Suddenly I'm confessing to you things that are difficult to confess to. Why? Why do I do this to myself?

I've come across a few quotes recently that pretty much sum it up. Here's an oldie but a goodie:

"If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it." -Erma Bombeck

Well, Lawd knows I'm trying to make it better, but I'm having little actual success so far, at least as far as brain circuitry and chemistry is concerned. So, yeah, what's left but to laugh? And to try to make you laugh? My heart swells with pride when I hear that I've made just one of you smile. I love to make you laugh. I want to make you laugh. If that's the only thing I have control over, if that's the one thing I have success at, it's what I'll aim to do.

Here's the second quote that resonated:

"This is pretty much all I've got...And I'm not saying [it's] fun. Every time we meet, I complain. I moan. I get mad and throw a hot potato fit. But here's the things: I like telling my stories. It feels like I'm doing something concrete about it. When I leave, the concrete in my chest has loosened, melted down so I can breathe for a few days."  
-From The Help

This is pretty much all I've got. I don't see a lot of friends in person very often, and in fact the couple of friends who I do hang out with, they don't know about this blog. (See, of course, the Acid Test friends!) So it is here at Poop on a Hot Tin Slide, and to my poor poor husband, that I rant about germs. And the "doing something concrete" about it part is that I feel like I'm sharing something important--something important to me. I'm "spreading the word." I'm sharing tips 'n trix on how to be a little safer, a little cleaner, in my OCD Land. And I'm sharing what it's like in my mind, what the world look like to me. How scary it can be, and how it can be made better and less scary. And healthier for all!

I'm also trying to show people that even though I have a "disorder" of types, I can think clearly. I can have valid opinions (for example, on the dreaded Hygiene Hypothesis). Some people think my mind is clouded by OCD, that I can't see clearly through it or form an educated opinion because of it, but just because I don't like to shake hands with people doesn't mean I can't read research or formulate a concrete position on a theory.

I also hope to show people that just because I fall outside the realm of "typical" does NOT MAKE ME WRONG. The fact that I'm in the minority when I come home and immediately wash my hands does not make me wrong--in fact, I think it's a very appropriate thing to do. It's not the most common practice, but neither is taking off your shoes here in the U.S--while in Asian countries, it is. So who's to judge what's unusual or atypical? And if it is indeed outside the realm of typical, who's to judge if it's wrong?

I also blog because I have found a few kindred spirits. People saying, "OMG ME TOO! I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE!" I love finding out that I am not the only one. Not that I should be the only one, people. Washing your hands and taking care not to spread Teh Sick is stuff we learned in kindergarten. I mean CUB OD. It's stuff we see on TV commercials. Stuff we see on signs all over doctors offices or workplaces. Messages in children's books. Entire shows devoted to the topic on Sid the Science Kid, for baby Jesus' sake.

. . .

Anyway. To sum up. I do this for me, to lighten the load. I do this for you, to make you laugh. And I do this for mankind, to save us all from bat flu.

Oh, plus, I'm dying for a little internet fame. Bygones.


  1. So in general, DO you feel better about things since two months ago when you started this blog? Is it making an overall difference, or is it just a day-to-day difference?

  2. Oh man girl you crack me the f*** up. Love it! Mine is the everything must line up and be clean type of OCD. I have gotten better with the germs because those little bastards will always win. I have dunked my child in Purell and she has come home with her 4th cold of the year.

  3. I too love to make people laugh. It is my secret test. If people don't laugh at my jokes, we are probably not going to be friends. Because they obviously don't know what funny is. And who wants to be firends with that?

    I am glad you blog because you do make me laugh. A lot. You also make me feel like the dirtiest person in the world, but I do think of you when I wash my hands sometimes :)

  4. Chelsea: Hmm. I don't think I feel better about th OCD aspect in general, but it's given me something to be passionate about. It's helped me in an unexpected way. I don't feel I'm just wandering the earth, purposeless anymore. :) I am excited about this project.

    Mama: I have the sinking suspicion that will be the case with us too. :/

    Thea: You'll learn, honey child. You'll learn. ;-) <3

  5. I see you blogging about OCD as a means of educating people who don't understand your daily struggle.
    I see it as a way for me to step back and look at things I never thought about when it comes to taking steps to be more aware of germs.
    I think humor is a wonderful tool to help our hurts and make others laugh. (on some level, I'm sure there's something or another we all relate to in your posts.)
    And I see this as being therapeutic for you on some level.
    However it all comes across, I'm glad you are sharing, teaching, and making us laugh.
    Most importantly, I hope it helps you in the ways you need it.

  6. Aww, Chelle, that's such a nice way of putting it. I really hope that's how it is. I hope to show people what life is like for me, and maybe share a few of my "OCD tips n' trix" (snort), but also make you laugh. I think humor is the only think I can turn to when things are this bad. And trust me, they're bad. Worse than I let on, I think. But I think the humor and companionship in itself is therapeutic.

    Thanks for a very insightful comment. <3

  7. Did you ever blog about your "Big secret" ?