Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Know You Are, But What Am I?

Portrait of Dora Maar Seated
Pablo Picasso

Do you ever get the feeling that everyone around you, all your friends, family, associates, co-workers, are all completely together and normal and fully functioning, and you feel like you're ... well ... not? I sometimes feel like that. At times I feel like the woman in this painting, sort of disjointed. Over the years I have developed some very strange idiosyncracies and a couple of phobias that any normal person would think are ... strange. A few years ago an ex-friend of mine said, "Everything in your house is all neat and arranged, and even your handwriting is too tidy." He did not mean it as a compliment; he was trying to find things to say that would make me feel bad about myself. It worked. But it is true. I may have a touch (a touch?) of obsessive compulsive disorder. I am more comfortable when things are orderly. Even the labels on my soup cans all face the same direction. It's an instinct with me. A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Oh, I know, I know...

I have also developed a couple of full-blown phobias which can at times be quite debilitating. I hate flying and I am not crazy about going up very high in elevators. And when someone I love is not where they should be, when they should be there, I become convinced that something terrible has happened to them.

Anxiety is a physiological and psychological state characterized by cognitive, somatic, emotional, and behavioral components. These components combine to create an unpleasant feeling that is typically associated with uneasiness, apprehension, or worry. ... Wikipedia

It's also completely ridiculous, and yet completely real to the person experiencing it.

I often wonder, as I look at other people, if they have quirks and foibles and idiosyncracies that they deal with. I try to convince myself I'm not completely insane, I'm just human. Are you too? "I know you are, but what am I?"


susie said...

I used to be able to stand clutter, but I'm finding that the older I get, the less I can deal with it..I like to be able to find things, and since I'm getting "old person's" memory, everything has to be in it's place. So you're not the only one... said...

Everything in your house is all neat and arranged, and even your handwriting is too tidy.

You meet people who say things like that.
Peeing at your being a sensible and organized person.

Or, "You are flaunting your genetic inheritance" from someone with a long nose and acne at a party where you are held popular and attractive.

Make the other person feel guilty.
Give him or her no chance for a comeback.
Undermine the unsuspecting victim.
Make him or her feel vaguely guilty for being alive.
The worst example of this whining subterfuge is a writer I know saying to his wife,"You cannot vaccum while I'm writing. No, you cannot vacuum while I'm writing."

If she had been my wife, my wife would have said, "F-you, you precious little mothergrabber."--and she did.
Come to think of it, maybe the instictive response is best...Less time to figure out what the antagonist meant and what it means to you.
In a word, there are people who mistake sensitivity for weakness, and try to move right in.

...This and other thoughts on a full moon.

I am a little disjointed tonight as well....Howl!

Firefly said...

Yip Ms Blogger Monk, we all have our things.

I am also a bit of as perfectionist, but in our house I am being overwelmed by a wife and two kids that tend to leave things sommer (Afrikaans for just) anywhere. My kids have absolutely no idea what putting something away means and I am going to start putting their things lying around in black bags after they go to bed to teach them a lesson.
I get irritated very easily, specially if I want to do something and something or somebody else suddenly wants or needs my attention.
I like me time, I hate routine, don't tell me what to do cause I may then just not do it, I have a fear of heights, I am afraid of spiders and bugs unless I'm looking at them through my camera, ... Let me stop before the weird stuff comes out and people have me classified.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've got several idiosyncracies but I'm not quite ready to share them.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Okay, i don't eat anything feathered. It was a phobia that really gripped me for my first couple of decades of life. Now I will eat it but I still don't enjoy it. A chicken phobia! How chicken can you get!

the walking man said...

Pshaw...EVERYONE from the powerful to the weak has some "quirk". It's only them that are self aware that can define it, Ms. Aware.

RiverPoet said...

Oh sweetie, we're all a jumble of neuroses! I have so many as I get older that I'm beginning to understand the comments my mother made about old people getting set in their ways. I like everything just so.

Peace - D

ea monroe said...

Hey Josie, that's what makes us all "human beings." No one's perfect! ;-) And that's a nice thing to know! ~Liz

Leslie: said...

Aw heck Josie. Your cans and nail polish may be neat and tidy, but you KNOW you hate to dust! lol And my cans and nail polish are all higgledy piggledy. We all have our little neuroses, but who cares!

VioletSky said...

I'm feeling more disjointed as I get older. I have slowed down a lot. Too much, maybe. What used to drive me nuts can be more tolerated now and I am less obsessive about things (I also used to keep all my tins and boxes with the English side out) now I just shove stuff wherever it fits. Good thing I've slowed down, I need the time to search for things again.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why the pathologically messy always think there's something wrong with you if your place is tidy. Just because your feet don't stick to the floor and you actually hang up your clothes and eat off of dishes that have been washed, dried AND put away...doesn't make you crazy.

Dr.John said...

Your as sane as any of us. I'm worse off I can't stand clutter but I
'm not at all neat.

Country Girl said...

Everybody has idosyncracies. Some more so than others. I wish my cabinets were as neat as yours!

I worked with a woman years ago who had a feather phobia. She would nearly faint at the sight of one. We worked in an elementary school at the time and when Halloween came around, she was all in a dither. Unfortunately, she wasn't a pleasant person and no one liked her.

But I did. She had lost a child, and she was really quite lovely once you got to know her. And the more we talked, I found out the reason why she was so terrified of feathers.

When she was a small child, she was often punished by being shut and locked in the darkness of the chicken coop. She remembered screaming to be let out as the chickens pecked at her little legs. And she didn't even remember this until we began talking.

It's funny but after that people began to like and enjoy her. She never did get over the feather thing, but she started to understand it.

So everyone has something going on, don't they? said...

Down and dirty suburban blues:

Woke up this mornin'
Both cars were gone.

Ever get that feeling on the tail end of a full moon?


Not only are both cars gone, but I've lost my bank card
and I'm maxed out on both credit cards.
And the fridge is empty and I can't control the trembling of my hands, because I'm lush.
Governments are alway banning things.
Ban the full moon, I say.
It is my firm contention that all the earth's troubles started when it got its moon.
Ever read old Charles Fort?
With its moon, the earth is a spooky place. Frogs and periwinkles fall from the sky.
....Now on a moonless earth....
No frogs will fall from the sky.

Not even separatists.
Joke, joke.

In my menopause, I'm getting funny messages from the TV. Have a happy period.
How would I know? Those things look like firecrackers to me.

Full moon fever.

Maybe I should put a cannon cracker up there and end it all.

Goodbye cruel world!

Ban the full moon!

Russell said...

Johanna, you are the most normal, logical and all-together person I have ever met! Goodness!

I had to laugh (with respect) at your ex-friend's comment that you are too neat and that even your handwriting is, as he said, "... too tidy." Thank God that he is an ex-friend!!

I agree with the others who say they have various strange habits, phobias or idiosyncracies. I certainly have more than my share, I can guarantee you that!

If I were to make a guess, I would say your former friend was just jealous of you. If being tidy, neat and organized is, in someone's mind strange or odd, then I am at a loss.

Would this person have thought more of you if you had been sloppy and unorganized would that person have thought you were a better person? I doubt it.

Just always be yourself, hold your head up high and be proud to be the person you are - because you are a fantastic person.

You are like Mary Poppins: Perfect in every way!

Take care.

Anonymous said...

I used to be untidy, and it stressed me out. Now I'm a piler. I pile things. So long as it's in a pile, it doesn't count as mess. Each pile must take up no more square footage of my bedroom floor than an A4 file, but it can be as high as you like, so long as it doesn't fall over every time I walk past it. There's nothing I like more (I say nothing, but there probably is something that I do like more. Like chocolate. or Johnny Depp. Or Johnny Depp in Chocolat. Or Johnny Depp in chocolate. mmm. I digress!), nothing at all, than to look around my room and see that everything is tucked away neatly where it is meant to be and my floor is clear of all clutter save for those two or three strategic, A4-sized piles.

I also am mildly obsessed with my own handwriting. No one's, with the possible exception of my mum's, is quite as mesmerising. I don't know why.

Also, flying was invented by the devil, did you know that? If we were all afraid of flying the ice-caps would be much safer. *nods*

KathyB. said...

What interesting comments you get Jo. There is a lot I would say on the tip of my tongue , but on viewing your interesting readers' words I think I will just bite the tip off! No, that might hurt....

I have had snide remarks made about my tidy-ness,apparently these people have not seen the closet I hide the clutter in. But anyway, I wonder why people who so loudly proclaim their disdain for keeping a home clean and clutter free get so hissy about people who do. Just wondering!

I like the Pee Wee clip! He is funny isn't he?

Jo said...

● Susie, "old person's memory" LOL. Now... where did I put my glasses?

● Ivan, "Make him or her feel vaguely guilty for being alive." Oh, yes, my ex-friend certainly did that!

● Firefly, *chuckle* weird stuff? *heh* Oh, yes, I hate clutter too. Just throw all their stuff in their room and close the door. That's what I used to do.

● Charles, well, I would never share my really stranges ones. :-)

● LGS, that is very interesting! I have actually heard other folks with that too!

● Mark, yes, I think if we take things out and look at them, they don't seem as scary.

● RiverPoet, oh, yes - me too! I cam such a creature of habit.

● Liz, yes, we are all human, aren't we? And no one more than I am! *heh*

● Leslie, ah, yes. Perhaps I have a phobia about dusting? LOL

● VioletSky, my brother keeps all his tins and things with the English side out as well. Only in Canada. *heh*

● XUP, thank you! I am going to memorize those words, and the next time someone tells me I am too tidy, I will say just that! :-)

● Dr. John, you know, sometimes I will take my paint supplies out and leave them right in the middle of the floor, and walk around them. Isn't that strange?

● CountryGirl, you know, I actually knew someone else with a phobia of birds. She was so terrified of them, she could barely go outside. And she had had a similar experience. People are all human, aren't they?

● Ivan, are you okay? Goodness, gracious!

● Russell, my gosh! Perfect in every way? Well, you just made my day! And I will remember that any time someone tries to "put me down". My mother always used to say, "No one is perfect except thee and me, and I'm not so sure about thee..." *heh*

● Fathorse, oh, yes, chocolate and Johnny Depp. Did you ever see the movie "Chocolat"? And yes, flying was indeed invented by the devil. :-)

● Kathy, I have ofen wondered that myself. I love having a tidy, clutter-free house, and I feel very uncomfortable in clutter. That doesn't make me a bad person. Why would anyone use that as an "insult"? Oh, well... *heh*

Solard said...

Wow. I found your blog via blogs of note, and as I sampled it, this post just jumped out to me. You, could be me...or my Vancouver counter-part, anyway. Just right down the line: the touch of OCD? check, the fear of flying? check, the discomfort with the higher floors in elevators? check,...the irrational fear over loved ones whom I cannot immediately locate? check, the soup cans all facing the same way? check, mate and game over. I could go on, but this is long enough ;-)

You aren't alone, just thought I'd let you know. I can be found here: