My love of artificially sprayed room and good lighting are, of course, apparent. I always have a list of things to do and plans for at least a week ahead. I have a workout plan, an eating plan, also daily professional, writer’s development, and personal things to do. I like to divide them up and then after that, I manage my focus on one thing at a time. There are five work sections for my TTD (Things to Do), seven categories for my TTB (Things to Buy), and of course there are ten divisions for my TTS (Things to Sort). Yes, all of them have sub-categories, and yes, I need to sort my things to do as well. It’s all very confusing. Sometimes I just lost count. Am I forgetting one? Of course, I am, but I’ve already written them down. And that’s exactly why I like to write things down, because I’m forgetful and my brain is always cluttered if I don’t write things down. Oh, but don’t you worry, my bed is always clean.
Perhaps it started when I was in college, but then I remembered when I was little, when I was angry and had one of those angry moments, I would purposely throw a tantrum, making a mess in my room. No one could touch anything in my room, otherwise, I would freak out even more. I would lock my room and then I would focus on them for two hours or more. First, I would clean the porcelains, the Polly Pockets, the books, the useless things on the table. I would then wipe the stuff before rearranging them and putting them in their “appropriate” places. Since then, I’ve moved around a lot and it’s always a pleasure to smell the chemicals and wipe the tables, and rearrange the furniture. I’ve lived in more than 12 places and I am proud to say that all of them are always pleasantly comfortable and neat.
Cleaning is a part of my get away from other people, and most importantly, my own mind. After doing this, I can focus and relax. I can do things to achieve the goals I’ve written down. However, it does backfire on me sometimes. After cleaning all of those shit, my day is done and I am too tired to do anything else. Also there are many occurrences when I was really stressed, I couldn’t help but clean. I only cleaned and cleaned. I cleaned things that are already been cleaned. I couldn’t remove the smell of bleach on my fingers for a week. I repeatedly lifted and fixed the alignment of my list of things-to-dos. Even after I put them in the right alignment over and over again, my brain was still a mess. I ended up crying while cleaning, and then I just fell asleep.
In a sense, there’s simply a certain order that I don’t understand just yet, all I know is that I have to follow that order, otherwise I can’t function and my brain is clouded. If I skip this step, my day would be a mess. It would not be a good day. But it’s also a good practice for focus. I have to constantly remind myself to take ONLY ONE THING–one focus, one thing, one goal, one task, one assignment, one writing exercise, one anything–at a time. What is extremely useful is to time yourself doing it: may it be 30 minutes or an hour, you have to do only that and nothing else.
Other things I really enjoy doing is washing dishes, dusting, color-coding my clothes. I like organising the fridge, book shelves, boxes, and closet. Not to brag, my closet is not only color coordinated, but also functionally divided. I don’t think it there’s a certain area or aspect of cleaning I enjoy doing more, because I like them equally. It also really depends what my mood is in. I got assurance from doing all that; everything is in order, the way it’s supposed to be. I was never really properly diagnosed as an OCD, but perhaps yes, or maybe I’m just a control freak, a self-controlling geek.
The downside of this, as mentioned, is the lack of being able to function because there’s a clutter in my mind if I don’t clean. It has become a part of my daily life. It matters the most to me. I know it’s eventually mind control, but it’s easier to give in to routines. I just need whatever system I’ve created to have a good, effective day.
However, there are many benefits of being a neat freak, including:
- Clean Space
Why do we need clean space? I think this one is obvious. To have a breather, don’t we all need to look into something that is pleasant? To avoid germs. To have a pleasant aesthetic. People will definitely want to hang out at your place. Note: this does not apply when the distance of your place is too far from your loved ones.
- Clutter Free
Because you’re organised, you have little clutter (hopefully, you don’t have a secret dirty closet like Monica from Friends). You probably know where all of your stuff are by heart, thus when a thief or a friend takes your stuff, you know immediately what is missing. Your office space is always clear of dust and people will rely on you for wet napkins, hand sanitisers, and medical supplies. It’s always good to have an immediate answer when your colleague asks advice on how to clean armpit stains on overused white T-shirt. You know the answer.
- Avoiding Awkward Situation
When I hang out with people at someone’s house, probably high as fuck, other people may be fine staring into space. I always feel that it’s very disturbing to not do anything. I get high to clean, and some people have a hard time understanding this. I can’t ever sit still, so I’d rather walk around and clean the space. This is also very beneficial when you’re in a family reunion, where people are fighting, talking, asking questions, disagreeing, or doing anything really. You can just grab some dirty plates and offer to do the dishes. Voila. You’re gone to the kitchen, away from people you must love but actually don’t. This also works after you have sex with a stranger and you really don’t want to look at him or her. You can tell them that you need to change your bed sheet immediately, before the sex juice stains the bed.
- Endless List of Things to Do
You’re so organized and goal oriented that you have endless list of things you must do. You will never run out of things to do. Whenever you’re bored, you can always look at the list and decide what to do. Of course, when you’re very stressed, all you do is just read the list repeatedly. I suggest burn it and then write a new list. And then breathe. Take some sleeping pills and drink it with Vodka. This will calm you down. You’re also always too ready to help your friends with Pros and Cons list after they just break up with that jerk you want to punch years ago.
Being OCD doesn’t need to paralyze you. Use it for your own benefit. Yes, you have to work around it, but you can function better with it. Make it your strength instead of your weakness. Bring it to the front. Wear it proud like you wear your perfect white shirt with no stains.
Note: This post was originally written and published on Friday, March 27, 2015.
Featured image above (the title) is from a song.