Today I was told I just need to chill. It wasn't the first time, it won't be the last.
I am a particular person, I have been for a very long time. I like my mess organized, things should line up with each other. There are baskets in my fridge for different food groups, the weights at the gym have a spot by design, and I hate buying a book brand new that has a bent corner.
I always match. Like everything.
It is really difficult for me to buy new things, I almost always shop online because it is the least amount of time and people. I can read every review and be sure that I am buying exactly what I want. I also return a lot of things.
Have you ever been uncomfortable in a situation? Like you can feel it in your chest and it is this thing you have to resolve or get the hell out. This is how I feel when someone puts something back in the wrong spot or a logo is not centered.
One time in college I had a Cheetos smudge on a note-card and when it came time for that slide on the test I couldn't remember anything but the cheese fingerprint, now I rewrite everything until their is no distraction.
I had a visit with a life coach once, she was crucial to me at that point in my life. I told her about my anxiety, I started with the smallest things first, like my spice rack. I like things a certain way, I like the labels facing forward. I told her I didn't understand how I could be a messy and creative mind and have this unexplained need for things to also be so straight and aligned. She told me it was art, that the painting was not finished until the bottles were evenly spaced and the labels faced forward.
It was art and this made so much sense to me. It didn't change my behavior, but it did allow me to accept it.
I dated a guy once who asked if I could "just stop doing that" after I pointed out a sign that was off center. I answered honestly, no.
I wear black a lot, almost always. It matches my car, my purse, my camera, my watch, and my underwear. It's easier that way. I add in patterns and every once in a while I wear colors to keep things interesting. I love when my friends notice. I love when things match. I feel good when things match.
When I get a coffee at my favorite local coffee shop the seam on the cup faces towards the back so that the opening on the lid isn't uneven with it, the sleeves seams are on the right and left of the cup so that the logos are always shown while drinking. It is the perfect cup of coffee.
I've done a ton of research on obsessive compulsive disorder, I don't have it and I don't think it's funny to joke that I do. Considering the amount of tension in my own life, I can't even begin to imagine the struggles of someone who absolutely must do things a certain way for survival. While OCD may be the easiest way for others to describe me it is not accurate, I can function when things are not the way I want them, I just choose not to.
I now see it as a skill. It makes me very good at my job, it makes me a better photographer and designer. My friends use me as a resource and companies have started calling me for consultation on projects because they noticed my attention to detail in our last interaction. Everyday is not easy, some days are uncontrolled and anxiety filled. Some days I need a little more yoga others I need to lift very heavy things. I am working on it, your comments are not helping.
So, no I will not chill.
I will however continue to sharpen this skill of mine. I will continue to straighten things that are crooked. I will continue to notice when your sign is not centered, and I will continue to call you out with kindness when you try to make me feel small because this skill of mine makes you uncomfortable.
I will work hard not to let this negatively effect other people, I will take deep breaths when this gets the best of me and I will learn to not let it swallow me whole. I will stay away from people who make me feel like I am difficult to love and I will surround myself with people who don't care if something needs to be straight while I talk to them, they just want to talk to me, the person straightening it.
I will extend compassion to others in their most difficult moments, because I know what it feels like to be treated like you should just change who you are.
I will choose kindness, I will straighten things, and I will finish the painting.