Into the scary woods

I’ve spent an enormous amount of mental energy forging routes around fear; taking the long way to avoid those scary woods.  It’s an exhausting and isolated path, full of its own obstacles and lacking a GPS signal. My way was studded with compulsion and hidden distress, holding myself responsible for outcomes and creating imaginary control where I had none. I hid it well, which only served to make the road more desolate.

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It’s Not All Hand Washing and Light Switches

The line between quirky and weird seemed to be stuck between my fingers. That feeling when you eat a donut or an ice cream cone and the residue makes your fingers so sticky that you desperately want to find a sink? That’s how they felt. Licking them would help – for a few minutes. Little kids are sticky, and I spent a lot of time licking between my fingers for momentary relief. It drove my parents crazy – we’d be in a public place, and there I was licking my hands like a compulsive cat. And if that wasn’t enough to embarrass every adult responsible for me, sometimes I would get a similar feeling in the back of my throat – this annoying build up of faux pressure that had to be released, and the only way was to make squeaky sounds. Sometimes on inhale, sometimes on exhale, always until a magic point when everything felt better – until the next time. Seams of socks and waistbands constricted, so I turned my socks inside out, and wore my pants around my hips to free myself from their ever-present annoyance. Things just felt wrong and it was a puzzle to make them right again.

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