Friday, February 27, 2015

The Flower Bomb

When my girlfriend and I were first dating, she wasn't quite aware of the depths of my OCD and neuroses. It's not something you really want to lay on someone right away or they'll just be overwhelmed by the depths of your cray and won't give you a chance to discover some of the beautiful things just behind the obsessions and compulsions.

One day I came home from work and found flowers on my door. Awww, sweet. Except I have OCD. So sweet was also mixed with terror. See, in my rational brain I knew they were probably from Andrea. But in my OCD depths of anxiety I thought...

There's no note on them. Maybe they aren't from her. Maybe they're from a murderer and they're going to kill me. 

OMFG. Why are they WRAPPED AROUND THE DOOR HANDLE?!?! Clearly, I will have to take them off the door handle to get inside. That's probably the aforementioned murderer's plan! There's probably a BOMB in them. OMG. I'm going to die from a flower bomb. This murderer is very tricky. Good thing I'm smart and saw quickly through their plan.

And then I had to get a grip.

Well, sort of.

I said to myself, "Self, these are probably not a flower bomb. They could be, and if you blow up when you open the door a) that will suck and b) at least your fears will have been right for once. So, let's do this. 1...2...3..."

Turns out, they weren't a flower bomb. Just regular flowers.

After I let out a huge sigh of relief and went inside I texted Andrea to ask if the flowers were from her (still not entirely sure since there was no note) and to thank her if they were.

After a short discussion about the flowers and how she didn't have paper or a pen in her car when she dropped them off, hence no note, but that she adored me and wanted me know...I said, "Wanna hear a funny story?"

She didn't think the story was so funny.

She was like "WHY IN THE HELL WOULD YOU THINK IT WAS A FLOWER BOMB?!?! WHY CAN'T I DO NORMAL ROMANTIC THINGS  FOR YOU WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT YOU TOTALLY SPAZZING OUT?!?!"

Ok, maybe it wasn't in all caps, but it felt like it. The old feelings of shame and embarrassment crept in and once again I was feeling crappy about being a wacko with an OCD brain.

So then I had to tell her about the little girl who got her hand blown off at Kmart by a pipe bomb that someone had planted as a "joke." This happened in Indianapolis the year after we moved there from Santa Cruz. The move from SC to Indiana was quite traumatic for me (which I didn't realize until recently after yearssss of therapy -- but more on that later in another post). For a kid with undiagnosed, untreated OCD, shit like this stays seared in our brains FOREVER. So 16 years later my brain instantly goes to "What if these flowers are a bomb that are going to blow me up?"

This was Andrea's first BIG introduction to coping with a partner who has OCD. She knew it affected me before this, but after years of living with OCD I had gotten pretty good at hiding or not sharing most of the ways in which it affected me. However, with this new relationship, unlike those in the past, I decided she needed to know the "real" me before we got too serious. Because shit was only gonna get weirder from here. When I am not in close proximity with people copious hours a day, my OCD can go mostly unnoticed. People think I'm quirky, but rarely do they guess at the storm brewing in my head. But once I spend hours and days with you, it becomes a lot harder to hide and the OCD comes seeping out the cracks in my facade.

The flower bomb incident was a good introduction to my OCD. We had a long talk about it. Andrea had time to reflect and process it and decided that although my OCD may sometimes tarnish "romantic moments," in the end, my quirkiness is something that adds MORE to me than it takes away. She has learned most of my triggers and avoids them when and if she can (not always possible), and is infinitely patient when new ones emerge from the depths. I wish I could list all the ways in which OCD affects my life so there would be no more surprises, but there is SO MUCH that I often forget small but important events until something happens to rush them to the forefront. Or sometimes something new crops up that uncovers some trauma I've forgotten. Life isn't always smooth and easy for me, and that means it's not always smooth and easy for my partner. But Andrea continues to tell me that I am worth it and that OCD makes our life exciting and that she's dedicated to sticking by me through it all. I can only hope that she always feels that way. But then again, that's mostly just my OCD brain that worries and doubts her. And she understands that and hopes that one day I won't have as many worries, but is prepared for a lifetime of worries that may or may not be rational. Thank god for her. At least one of us has our shit together.

And she now knows to put a note on any surprises she leaves me. And that she probably shouldn't attach anything that could be a bomb (which is pretty much anything) directly to a door handle.

And now we can laugh about that one time she tried to kill me with a flower bomb.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Killer Sweater, yo

Back in the day when I was in high school, "grunge" was it. I'd call one of my friends that had a car, we'd throw on some Pearl Jam and cruise to the nearest thrift store to find the best hobo chic we could find. One day I found this amazing wool grandpa sweater that was really going to set my style apart. I chose to debut my sweater on a cool Wednesday in the fall ready to take on the mean streets of Ben Davis. It didn't occur to me that Wednesdays were plyometrics days in Advanced P.E. If you don't know what plyometrics are...well just imagine Jane Fonda doing CrossFit and you'll have a good idea. After sweating and dying for an hour I went back to change into my super amazing sweater. Well my young mind didn't realize wool is literally hotter than the blue blazes and by the time I'd walked to my next class I thought I might pass out from the heat stroke my wool sweater was inducing. Unfortunately I only had on a flimsy tank top under my sweater and we know teenage girls are clothes policed like crazy so there was no way to take off my sweater without being slut-shamed. There was also no way that I was going to put my disgusting sweaty gym shirt back on either. But staying in class was not an option. I was either leaving on a stretcher in an ambulance or I was gonna come up with a plan B. I decided that since I looked like I might pass out anyway I could probably get my teacher to believe I was coming down with the flu and she wrote me a note to the nurse's office. As soon as I got to the nurse's office I went into the female's cot room and stripped off my crazy hot sweater and fell into a long fitful, cool nap. By the time lunch rolled around I was cool enough that I could put my sweater back on without calling 911 and went on with my day. As luck would have it, I would be stupid twice that day because I threw the sweater in the washer that night not realizing that the sweater would shrink down to Barbie size after a nice hot tumble in the dryer. That damn sweater never hurt me again. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Skins!

I often get complimented on how soft my skin is and what my secret is to baby soft skin. Ha! Literally, it's baby lotion. Simple, cheap and a quick daily routine. I put Johnson & Johnson Baby Lotion on every morning and every night. It's the only moisturizer I use. Some people worry about "smelling like a baby" but I have found that after it dries it doesn't have that lingering "baby smell." Another pro-tip: use your sunscreen! The sun causes most skin damage and over time will dry out your skin causing it to lose elasticity and feel leathery. Simple, easy, cheap!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Coffee!

The first time I ever had coffee was at a Model UN Conference in Philadelphia. Yes, I was Captain Nerd Pants and was Secretary-General of our Model UN Club at Juniata. I was in a session in a ballroom at the hotel where the conference was being held and it was FREEZING. I felt like I was in Antarctica. I had my coat on and had borrowed someone else's coat to cover my lap. The lead moderator of the session must have noticed how freezing I was because he snuck out of the room and brought me a steaming hot cup of black coffee. It was such a kind gesture that I didn't want to turn it down even though the hot liquid was bitter and strange in my mouth. It helped warm me up so I sipped away bit by bit trying to conceal my initial reactions.

I didn't become a coffee drinker then. It was years before I drank coffee again. I can't actually remember when I became a regular coffee drinker. Maybe it started with a $4 fancy Frappuccino and moved on from there? At some point I bought a cheap coffee pot for my house and would occasionally think to drink coffee.

Over the years I've developed a much more refined palette and my love for coffee has grown. I drink a cup or two a day -- never more because it makes me feel icky if I drink too much! I prefer a dark, bold roast. The more like mud the better :) I can't stand restaurant coffee generally speaking because they usually use light roasts with very little coffee. Like dirty water pretty much.

Just bought this coffee this weekend. It is DELICIOUS. Like a party in my mouth. I don't usually buy pre-ground coffee -- I prefer to grind at home to have the most fresh and oily coffee possible. But this coffee is so delicious I might have to stock up on some of this limited edition coffee!



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Miss Rain

http://darkroom-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/2013/05/AFP_Getty-519905378.jpg

Never in the history of ever did I think I would ever say I miss rain. Don't get me wrong; I love sun. I love warmth. I love living in NorCal. But every once in a while, a nice thunderstorm or a heavy rain would be nice. The worst part of living in one of the sunniest places on earth (no, for real - Chico is halfway between Redding & Sacramento) is that without even looking at the weather forecast, I know that it isn't going to rain tomorrow. Or next week. Or even next month. In fact, it probably won't rain until December. Months to go. Sometimes when you're feeling like a day off from sun, or want to sit around listening to sad music, or just want to lounge and watch the rain...you know it won't be happening here. Terrible problem to have, right? Too much sun! Ha! Most days I'm totally fine with this...just every once in a while I would like a summer rainstorm.

Don't even think I'll say I miss snow, because that will NEVER happen. I'll take 365 days of sun over snow. Brrr.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Today's Reason to Be In Love With Her...

Me: I have icky cramps and feel like crap. Wish you were cuddling me.
Her: Me too! I would love to be taking care of you right now...hugs and dry kisses ;)
Me: Dry kisses?!?! God you're the best.
Her: Just in case you are feeling extra germy too ;)

She so gets me. And never makes me feel like a weirdo :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fun Fact Friday: ...but Fat is SCARY!

Here's some stats for you to chew on from the hosts of Fat Talk Free Week:
  • 54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat
  • More than 90% of girls ages 15 to 17, want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest
  • 81% of ten year olds are afraid of being fat
  • 1 out of 8 adolescent girls reported starving themselves to lose weight
  • 67% of women 15-64 withdraw from life-engaging activities like giving an opinion, going to school and going to the doctor because they feel badly about their looks
  • 40% of moms tell their adolescent daughters to diet; 45% of these are of average weight
  • 70 million people worldwide struggle with eating disorders
  • In the US, as many as 10 million are suffering from anorexia or bulimia; that's more than are suffering from breast cancer
Why are we SO afraid of fat? So afraid that we would rather be hit by a truck rather than be fat?? Or engage in life-threatening disordered eating patterns to avoid being fat???

This is a harder question to answer. I can tell you where all the messages of body and fat hate are coming from, what incorrect facts they state, the ways in which fat bodies are punished for being fat, and how hard it is to keep a brave face in the midst of it all...but WHY everyone is so scared of fat is much harder to grasp.

Some people will point to the erroneous belief that fat means unhealthy means chronic disease and death, but even that is an incomplete picture. When people are degrading fat people in social situations it's rarely about their health. It's often about the prejudices, stereotypes and bigotry people hold towards fat bodies.


There are commonly held ideas that fat people are lazy, gross, lacking in willpower, dumb, ugly, awkward, survivors of trauma, and the list goes on and on. Social norms have led us to cement these stereotypes with fat bodies to the point that many of us forget that these are TOTALLY MADE UP and that we as a society created these labels and they do not actually reflect reality. There is no evidence that being fat means you're lazy. Or ugly. Or gross. However, this perception of this made up reality is important. Because once we start to believe this reality our brains will do anything it can to avoid being associated with these negative characteristics. Who want's to be called lazy, gross, dumb, etc.? No one! So step one to avoiding being called those names would be to get rid of the first "easy" association people have, e.g. a fat body. Now you might still be all of those things, but people won't be able to necessarily tell if you at least have a thin body!

People think (theoretically) that they can change their bodies, even if they can't change many other things about themselves. Anyone who has been discriminated against based on visual cues and information probably have wished at times they could change those visuals. I've heard countless friends of color express times in their lives where they wished they could wake up with white skin, even if just to experience blending in and not having to experience discrimination for one single day. Luckily, I have rad friends and they move past that or it's only a temporary thought, because they have been surrounded by communities of people that tell them it's ok to be black, Asian, Mexican, etc. Unfortunately we don't have that overwhelming source of body loving pride...YET. But that's why the fat acceptance and radical body loving communities that are emerging are so important. There will always be hate directed at people for their differences, but if we can continue to build communities that love and support ALL sizes and really embrace the belief that bodies not only come in different colors and abilities but also in a diverse representation of sizes we might start to win this war against bodies. The first step is disentangling these negative stereotypes about fat bodies that we hold. Fat people are no more likely to be lazy, stupid, gross or any other negative characteristic than a thin person. The only thing a fat person is more likely to be is fat. That's all. And there is NOTHING wrong with fat. It isn't poisonous. It doesn't make you dumb. It doesn't make you sick. We have to shift the focus away from bodies and how they look and start dealing with reality!

Next week I'll tell you why you're losing the battle against your body and plant the seed on why you should work on loving and accepting it instead!