Category: The Red Dress Club
|11 October, 2011||Posted by BobbiJaye under Non-Fiction, The Red Dress Club, Writing|
We stared each other down, that little bottle and I, waging war. I was the one who wavered; the bottle stood resolutely on the counter, silently returning my gaze with hard, orange plastic.
It was the color of a prison jumpsuit, and it, too, carried a sentence.
I wound my fingers into white-knuckled knots, kneading my hands together. Scrubbing without water, counting the strokes. Four on one side, four on the other.
It had to be even.
I don’t want you, I thought. I glared at the bottle. I don’t need you. I am stronger than that.
I can do it without you.
As I dry washed my hands, they shook, fueled by fury and terrifying thoughts stuck on an endless loop.
People would find out.
They would know I was crazy.
I’d carry the label for the rest of my life. I’d never be employed. I’d end up a forty-year-old obsessive-compulsive woman living with her parents, muttering to herself as she swept the floor for hours straight. A slave to the order that kept the world safe.
Hidden deep in the thicket of irrationality, one question gnawed its way out.
What if I get better?
Before I could change my mind, I grabbed the bottle and shook two little, white pills into my palm. My hand closed around them.
What if they don’t work?
What if they do?
Who would I be, if my whole life wasn’t OCD? Did I even exist, outside of the disorder that ruled me?
I didn’t know.
But I was willing to find out.
I choked them down. Waited. And for the first time, breathed.
One way or another, things were going to change.
This week is OCD Awareness Week. Today, I write for that.
I’ve lived with obsessive-compulsive disorder for my whole life. Surprisingly enough, the little white pills didn’t rob me of my personality. Nor were they the be-all, end-all to treatment. That required therapy, years of work, setbacks, and countless exposures. (My best friend writes this week about the first exposure she talked me through.)
But I wanted to write about this. About the pills. About the fear of losing myself if I got better. Because no one wants to admit that they’re afraid to get well, and knowing that others had the same fears can help.
Please take time out of your week to visit this post from Kelly at Dances With Chaos, where she discusses the 10 Phrases Most Likely to Hit an OCD Hot Button (Because People Don’t Understand).
Write a memoir post – first-person and true – inspired by that statement.
Word limit is 300.
Concrit IS welcome and appreciated. Thank you for reading!
|1 July, 2011||Posted by BobbiJaye under Fiction, The Red Dress Club, Writing|
I sat on the living room floor, surrounded by empty boxes and bubble wrap. In the seven hours since Ryan left for work, I had nearly finished the unpacking. Forks, spoons, and knives in the kitchen drawers. Neatly folded towels in the linen closet. The gravy boat I didn’t remember registering for in the back of a cabinet, where I was sure it would remain untouched, for the next twenty years or so. A place for everything.
Now I eyed the box in front of me. I’d moved it around all day, tucking it into corners and under tables, hoping it would just disappear. I knew what was in it. Just last week, I’d packed the things away and scrawled “Jenna’s Stuff” across the side in black Sharpie. Sighing, I pulled it forward and slit the tape with my box cutter.
These were my things, and maybe that was the problem. Artifacts from a different era — B.R. Before Ryan. I pulled the objects and took inventory.
Photo album, 4 B.R. Freshman year at NYU. Containing at least three embarrassing pictures of me wearing a toga.
Red Hot Chili Peppers poster, 6 B.R. From the concert that got me grounded for a month after I snuck out to see it.
Four track medals, 7 B.R. Second place at nationals in the 400 meter relay.
I looked around the living room. I didn’t know what to do with this stuff. There was no room here for the remnants of a life that didn’t exist anymore. Before Ryan there was me. In After Ryan, there was only we and us.
I reached into the box again, not bothering to look. My hand found the smooth, hard surface of a book. I pulled it out and laughed when I saw what it was.
One pink Hello Kitty Diary circa second grade.
I settled back against the couch, prepared to read. The diary opened to a spot in the middle, but there was nothing written there— just a dogeared piece of torn notebook paper, folded twice in half and tucked between the lined pages. My chunky second-grade handwriting stared up at me. Four sloppy letters spelled out “Sara.”
Embarrassment flooded my cheeks. I knew what this was. I remembered writing it, sitting in the back of Mrs. Wexler’s room. It smelled like crayons and the potting soil. I wrote the note during math, when I should have been doing multiplication, and passed it to the girl sitting next to me.
Now, I gently unfolded the paper and read what I’d written to Sara.
I like your blue dress. I will push you on the swing at recess if you want. Your hair is really pretty too.
Do you like me? Check yes or no.
Then I’d drawn two boxes. There was an x marking the box under yes.
That day, I pushed her on the swings and she gave me one of the cookies at lunch. Then she told me that she thought Jason Farmer was cute and I knew she hadn’t understood my note.
I hated Jason Farmer until he transferred schools in sixth grade.
Just as much as I thought I loved Sara.
I folded the note back into the diary and tossed it in the box again, along with the photo album and the poster and the track medals.
Things I outgrew.
Thoughts I wasn’t allowed to have anymore.
I picked the box up and carried it to the bedroom, where I shoved it in the back of the closet.
Ryan would be home soon.
I wanted to write an entirely different story with a different character, but Jenna demanded that I pay her some more attention. This is a much earlier part of her story, well before the happy ending I gave her a few weeks ago. Sneaky, sneaky character… I had no idea she’d been married.
Thanks for reading! Concrit WELCOME and Appreciated