Instead of writing further this evening, I have been wanting to share a couple things I discovered when I went to my parents' house over the holidays. By "things" I mean high school writing assignments. These particular assignments caught my attention because they struck me as my attempt to try to capture, in words, this invisible and intangible thing forever keeping me bound and restrained - OCD that is.
Back then, I didn't have a name for it. I thought it was my nature. I thought it was simply who I was and the way I wanted to do things. I am only beginning to see (and to allow myself to believe) how much OCD may have played into my daily life even when I was doing "fine." I want so badly to believe that those times, too, were heavily governed by OCD, that my way of life back then is not how things "have to be." I think I know that, OCD or not, there is no one way "things have to be." Nevertheless, being able to excuse myself from some of the pressure to strive and perfect that I used to place upon myself is, well, so much easier to do when I can call it OCD. Ultimately though, overcoming the OCD will probably require acknowledging that, OCD or not, my decision to actively pursue being "less than perfect" is just that - a decision. I am deciding to be imperfect. I am deciding to stop when I could do more. I will have accept that, in letting myself relax a bit, there is the risk that I will see someone who has done more, tried harder, etc., and I will have to accept that, whether or not I can justify it as fighting my OCD, I made that decision to do less.
That said I was struck by these two poems that I wrote as high school writing assignments because they seem to describe so well that invisible compelling force of OCD before I even knew what OCD was or had a name for that insatiable force. The first is just a poem, a poem that I probably had to write in that particular form or style. The content though, within that framework seems to sum up my exhaustion and frustration within the confines of OCD, even back then.
The next one, I'm pretty sure, was the product of an assignment in which we had to write a poem constructed entirely of headlines cut from magazines and newspapers. Aside from a connecting word here or there and a few carefully placed punctuation marks, the rest was cut, clipped, and pieced together bit by bit from various print sources. I believe each line of the poem came from a separate headline, but when put back together the collective result seems to capture the feeling of my OCD all too well.
It's strange to go back and read them, now that I have the missing puzzle piece that allows the picture to be completed: I have OCD. Everything seems to fall into place. That invisible, intangible force pushing me to continue onward, no matter what the cost, finally has a name.
Search not now for relaxation,
that fruitless form of paralyzation.
How else will you obtain occupation,
and sustain yourself for life's duration?
Toil onward for the future.
And do beware of human fault,
Each night contriving its assault,
Ghastly indulgence will always halt
All productivity within sleep's vault
Do not slumber through your future.
Distribute your time among many a hobby,
So for college you may lobby.
Accomplish much and do be snobby,
You did far less in more clubs than Robbie,
Who devotes himself to one interest for the future.
Collect daily the service hour,
Frame it in your shrine of power;
A trophy case of deeds does tower
For cursory compassion, no need to scour
Motive belongs to the future.
Immediate pleasure elicits sorrow,
If not today, then some tomorrow;
From pursuit, no time to borrow
Bliss, superfluous, jeopardizes the morrow
Until there is no longer a future.
Always remain occupied,
to avoid the conviction that you have not tried.
No opportunities were you denied,
And they will admit by your moribund side,
Passed by you did your future.
An Ode to Infinite Improvement
In a social world that prizes mastery and control,
Every nanosecond counts.
Strive to be your best
In a race against time
So you can be a star.
Your deadline says you have to work through lunch.
15 minutes could save you fifteen percent.
Off to the races,
Make the years to come the best yet.
You're not just a team. Now you're a finely tuned machine.
Uncle Sam needs you. Again.
He's a bit of a control freak.
What's wrong with designer children, bionic athletes, and genetic engineering?
There are a lot of pressures on parents today, which are adding to the competitive feelings of toilet training.
Overly ambitious parents are prone to get carried away with
The mandate to mold our children, to cultivate and improve them.
Brittany's young, but she's a smart girl. I'm sure she did the right thing by getting it annulled.
With get-thin-quick schemes.
You don't need a resolution,
Just a spoon,
When you join the low-carb revolution.
Been there? Done that?
Just exercise exactly four minutes per day.
Or lose weight with the revolutionary Lap-Band.
No pain, some gain,
Home delivery is just a click away.
Winnsboro woman loses 70 lbs. in 3 months through hypnosis...
The intensity of our concentration cannot be overstated:
There is very, very little margin for error.
As the pressure for performance increases, so does the need to help distractible children concentrate on the task at hand.
Give a child a second chance at life.
Even Martha "devoted most of her life to improving the quality of life for others,"
But at Harvard, skeptics rule.
All it takes is one false move.
The American people are a very generous people and will forgive almost any weakness, with the possible exception of studpidity.
The State of the (Civil) Union