Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Valentine

I'm bound to think there's a heavenly "skip the lines" pass for individuals like Mother Teresa, the Pope, and my husband.  Each and every moment that I see him endure my OCD right along with me, I can't help but think he should be eternally rewarded one day.  The man has seen me through it all, and nothing proves to be too shocking or exhausting for him.  He held my hand as I cried in fear my tight jeans would cause a miscarriage (turns out this fear was unfounded), he paid hundreds of dollars for an unnecessary skin cancer screening so I could get a few extra hours of sleep at night, and he allows me to buy only pre-cooked chicken because he knows the very thought of raw poultry is enough to make me bathe in hand sanitizer.

In all honesty, Valentine's Day usually makes me a little nauseated (I always figured it was the overdone romance, but perhaps it was the chocolate).  I've never been a fan of sentiment, but on days like today I can't help but find joy in all that has been given to me. I once again returned to my story vault and dug out this old piece I wrote after meeting Matt four years ago.  So much has changed since I typed out these words (one of them happens to be pooping in the corner as I blog this)but we still remain an unbeaten team.  To my champion of a husband: thank you for rescuing me from myself (and the psych ward) each and every day. 


A thrift store wedding dress gave me a gruesome rash in our third grade theatre production. Once, right before reading a poem at my good friend’s wedding, I face-planted on stage in front of a crowd of 300 guests. In college, I discovered that talking with one’s hands while considerably intoxicated is also an effortless way to add a touch of unwanted red wine to the bride’s Vera Wang dress. Not my fault the floozy wore white…

I’ve gone into anaphylactic shock at a wedding reception, dropped my bridesmaid's sash into an unflushed public toilet , and once, during one of my finest nuptial moments, I plowed down the flower girl while attempting to master the “percolator” during a dance-off. I’ve decided to take the initiative, fore go medical bills, and self-diagnosis: I am, without a doubt, allergic to marriage.

I think in the back of my mind I’ve known this all along. While my friends cry and convulse through the wedding vows and pathetically elbow their way into the bouquet-toss gaggle, I sit back in horror and watch as the nightmare unfolds. “The happiest day of her life,” they all cluck and coo. Mine was turning 21.

I don’t do romance. I hate flowers, I loathe candlelight (fire hazard), and I utterly despise the idea of whispering sweet nothings into a dirty, unkempt ear. Relationships are stuffy and airless---a suffocating, selfless existence where identities and social lives are de-prioritized and abandoned. They’ve always been a source of oppression in my life; a modern form of captivity and bondage.

I painted a picture in my mind of a girl in designer boots and a cashmere scarf promenading her way down the streets of Manhattan---no one on her arm but Marc Jacobs. She would press the elevator button with her gloved hand and stroll confidently into her corner office, pausing to take in the view. There was no “he” in this painting, no man to interfere with his endless demands and overbearing wants and needs. I tucked men away into an “Only Good for Buying Drinks” file and called it a day.

Then in he walked…or stumbled for that matter. With a sideways smirk and the worst of intentions, there he was---my male counterpart; my saving grace.

There is nothing glamorous about him. He isn’t flashy or romantic; his idea of a perfect date is a case of beer and a handful of cheap feels. He never holds open the door, and he thinks kissing is a lame 8th grade invention.

He doesn’t ask questions; he demands almost nothing and needs only what I can give. He forgets to call back, prefers limited touching, has absolutely no filter on the words exiting his mouth, and sometimes, when all the world is perfectly aligned, he just so happens to take the breath from me.

He doesn’t care that wedding dresses and save-the-date magnets and bouquets of coordinating flowers terrify me---we share a common allergy. He prefers wrestling to cuddling, television to listening, and the majority of the time, he wishes I came without sound.

He is messy. He seldom says the "right" thing, and he always leaves up the toilet seat despite my constant reminders. He lacks sensitivity and is absent of affection, yet he emblazons my life and makes beautiful the wreckage. He is disastrous and impeccably flawed; but somehow in his arms I am put back together. He is a certainty, a crooked kind of wonderful, and so very, very necessary.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It's Raining Sin

If OCD had a face, I would gladly punch it right about now.  Be it the lack of sunshine or perpetual rainfall, my disorder has succeeded once again in making me miserable, paranoid, and craving Big Macs.

Due to our weekly monsoons, I sometimes have to check the map to ensure I am actually in Switzerland and not in Seattle. Unfortunately for me and my serotonin imbalanced brain, this has led me to a catastrophic discovery: Google Earth. 

I suppose I was always semi-aware of this satellite technology, yet being geographically challenged and not the least bit interested in any location except the mall, I never took the time to actually sit and study it.  Turns out, Google Earth sees just about everything. 

A common thread between myself and many other OCD sufferers is a debilitating paranoia and fear of being caught doing something sinful or illegal. This anxiety goes way beyond the typical "I hope that cop didn't see me run that stop sign" to "I wonder if Google Earth has footage of me consuming an alcoholic beverage when I was underage." 

After sitting in front of this app on my iPad and retracing every illegal step I may have made on planet Earth, I decided to give my paranoid mind a break and take Amelia for a nice walk now that the rain had finally ceased.  About a third of the way home, I noticed two teenage girls walking behind us and snickering uncontrollably.  Since I've been too busy researching ailments on the Internet to learn any of the French language, I couldn't make out what these little trolls were saying about me.

For a good ten minutes I listened and walked as the girls continued to insult me.  First I assumed they were laughing at my American tennis shoes.  Then I wondered if they were taunting my child.  Before I had time to decide which one it was, I was approaching the road to our house so I began to cross the street.  Not even quite to our sidewalk, I gasped as I heard loud "moo-ing" behind me.  Those little witches were calling me fat! They were actually mooing at me! I spun around as fast as my American shoes would let me, ready to let them have it in my broken Frenglish, but to my surprise, the girls were no longer in sight.

I did a full visual of the area, and just as I was about to give up, I inadvertently made eye contact with an actual cow just grazing in his pasture. I quickly put moo and moo together, and realized he was the one bellowing at me.  Those girls didn't call me fat after all!

I sighed a deep sigh and reminded myself not to let paranoia control the rest of my day.  I wasn't fat, Google Earth didn't capture me jaywalking, and this weather would eventually bring sunshine back to Switzerland. In a moment of clarity and balance, I laughed at how ridiculous I had been for the past two days.

And then it started raining.