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Author Topic: My Particular Brand of Crazy  (Read 2749 times)
Craig Wilkey
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« on: February 21, 2014, 01:56:55 pm »

You know that feeling… You are sitting at a desk or work surface and put your pen or screwdriver down. A few, short minutes later, you can’t find it. You didn’t leave the room. You didn’t even leave your seat. “It must be in arm’s reach. Where the hell could it be? I was sitting RIGHT HERE!” You shuffle papers, and move things around. You eventually start being ridiculous and checking in the refrigerator, even though you KNOW you didn’t leave the room. “It was RIGHT HERE!”

I live in that place pretty much all the time.

One year in grammar school (that’s primary for you weirdos who still live under a monarchy) my lowest test score was 90% and my test average was about 96%. I just barely passed that year by the skin of my teeth. Why? I didn’t do my homework. Pretty much ever. Though everyone – the teacher, my parents, my brother and sister – thought I was just using the same lame excuses over and over, I genuinely did forget to do my homework or forget my books at school ALL THE TIME.

Nothing has really changed, except I have developed tools over the many years of living in my predicament.

“A place for everything and everything in its place” is so much more than a quaint, old adage – it’s a survival skill. I am not such a control freak that I can’t handle change. In fact, I quite like change for the most part. I DO, however, need to know about the change beforehand. If my watch, wallet, keys, etc are not where I left them and expect to find them, I will leave without them. Furthermore, I will have a hell of a time finding the now hopelessly lost item. It could just be on the counter to the left of the sink instead of the counter to the right of the sink, and it may take me hours to find it.

I have developed almost ritualistic behaviors. I locked myself out of my house far too many times as a kid. Now the motions are so ingrained in me, if I do not perform them in habitual OCD form, I feel as uneasy as someone walking out the door naked. Open the door. Reach into my right, front pants pocket, grasp my keys, lock the door, step outside, drop the keys back to the bottom of my pocket, close the door behind me, check the knob to make sure it is locked. When we moved to Putnam Valley, New York and the front door had to be locked with a key it fucked with my state of mind for months, until I finally settled into the new ritual – though I was appreciative of it being impossible to lock myself out.

If I want a bowl of cereal in the morning and the bowls are in a new place and I didn’t know they were moved to, my whole day could be ruined. It’s not just me being bitchy because it takes me longer to find what I am looking for in my tired, rushed state of mind; it turns my world upside-down – if even for a little while. Not only have I spent many years learning to live with this problem, but I spent many more years building my home environment into a sanctuary.

I know everyone says, “I’ll never be like my father”. I’m not so foolish and see many similarities between us already. Some of them have always been there, some have made me quite uncomfortable to acknowledge and some of them I have been able to change. There are some things, however, I can say with full confidence that I am at no risk of repeating. One of the most important things a parent can offer a child is a safe, comfortable place to come home to – a place to escape the world, when escape is needed. Not only did I not feel safe in my home, there was no place I felt less safe. I would rather find myself in any of the worst neighborhoods in Northern New Jersey than be home when my father was around – and I often did just that. Eventually, home was the only place in the world I did not feel safe. As an adult, there is little more important to me than my home feeling like a sanctuary. Imagine being in the place that is supposed to be your sanctuary and having that feeling of not being able to find that screwdriver you just put down ALL THE TIME. That’s not sanctuary – that’s Hell.

Luckily I have finally found a woman who understands and respects that, because as other women will tell you, I can be a real bear to live with. Granted, it was more my fault than theirs, because until writing this now, VERY few people have known this about me.

(Originally posted to Facebook on March 4th, 2009)
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