Thursday, March 3, 2011


sometimes I'm the proverbial lonely writer, staring at a blank piece of paper, pen in hand, not a single thought of anything worth writing about floating anywhere in my head.

like this morning.

it's raining, it's gray, my legs are tired from this morning's class, I'm lethargic, my house needs a good cleaning, I have work (and laundry, grocery shopping, networking, bill-paying) to do, and nothing---not one darn thing---seems like fertile subject matter.
but I have to write something because I have a blog to keep up with.

now I know, as well as and quite possibly even better than you, that I don't have to post anything here.
ever, actually.
the world would go on, you would survive, I would continue to breathe in and out.
but I post here just as I go to work out during the winter, just as I hop on my bike in good weather. it's part of what I do, it's a commitment, it is a task I've assigned myself.

the other day I took my son to an appointment with a physician. in the waiting room, my son pointed out the picture hanging on the wall across from us, and how the right corner needed to be lifted just a quarter of an inch or so to allow the picture to hang correctly, parallel to the floor and in alignment with the walls.

"I think I have a little CDO," he tells me.
"excuse me?" I look at him, my frowny-lines scrunched.
"you know, OCD but in alphabetical order, the way it should be."
he grins.
"and what about the fact that your floor in your room is covered with books, papers, clothes . . . ?"
"well, the things on my walls have to be straight; I'm always straightening them. the floor, well, not so much."
"hmm," I say.

sharing this with someone revived a discussion I'd been having with this friend of mine who keeps gently suggesting that I might possibly have some bit of the "C" part, the compulsion part.

I disagree, of course.

I feel no compulsion to write and post here; I feel this great big "should" because I said I would, and know it's part of my exercise plan for mind and fingers.

I feel no compulsion to go to spin class, or hop on my bike, or go snowshoeing, or run; I feel this great big "should" because it's good for me, it's part of my exercise plan for longevity, and I will feel better for having done it. as well, I'm likely to enjoy (in some small or great way) at least part of it.

webster's defines compulsion in this way: an irresistible, persistent impulse to perform an act; a force that compels.

in my dictionary, an impulse, especially one that is irresistible and persistent, feels nothing like what I experience when it's time to write here, to go to class, to go run, or to hop on my bike.

irresistible, persistent impulses don't come with sighs, moans, procrastination, lots of positive self-talk, and some pretty heavy bargaining (please, could I just this once skip it? if I go now, I get a cinnamon roll when I get back. I can just do a short one today. oh, do I have to? if I go now, I will let myself out of dusting. well if I do this now, I can have a nap later . . . )

then there's the O component . . .
more than one "friend" has linked that word to my behavior, but I've already discussed it here and here and here, so I won't repeat myself here now.

I'm pretty sure I won't meet the criteria for OCD, and I'm fairly confident that my son won't, either. we'll laugh about our little CDO tendencies, and internally I'll just shrug my little shoulders and think we're not such bad people, and hey, what's wrong with wanting your pictures to hang straight, level, aligning perfectly with walls and floors, just the way they should be?

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