A have a little thing I like to call the Cubby Hole Theory of Obsession. Mostly, I’m not overly obsessive. (Please note that I did not say I wasn't obsessive. Just not overly obsessive.) Well, about things, anyway. Things, while nice to have, are just things. Instead, I obsess about all the things that aren’t things. While I can’t say I enjoy obsessing, there must be some kind of payoff, because slowing the Ye Olde Obsession Factory down to a nice, steady pace of production is nigh unto impossible. It seems to run best in Extremely High Output mode. And the therapist says I’m “extremely well adjusted.” Two words: SUCKER!
S'anyway, my theory: Remember when you were a kid and you had a cubby at school? In my case it was a Rubbermaid dishpan that fit into a little slot like a drawer, and we kept all of our books and things in there. Mr. Patterson and Mrs. Piedra’s fourth grade classes at Mt. View Elementary (Annex School.) Anyway, even though that was the sort of cubby I had, I envision my Obsession Cubbies as something a little different. My brain has a huge wall of doors covering 16” x 16” cubes. The little doors aren’t remarkably sturdy, and they’re opaque. They’re thin plyboard in my mind’s eye, and they have a hole where you can stick your index finger in and pull the door open, instead of having a knob or something. (I’m not sure why they’re so plain, they should really be made of something pretty, possibly painted and glazed a lovely shade of pink, and have crown-shaped, sparkly pulls. But, whatever.)
In my huge wall of cubbies, there are many, many open doors. To be entirely honest, I've never been much of a compartmentalizer. In fact, if I weren’t able to read for long periods of time without breaks, I’d be absolutely convinced that I had ADHD. Nothing else requiring sentient thought can keep my attention for more than about four consecutive minutes. Overall, I think this is a positive trait, as it allows me to see more easily how one thing will affect the next, and allows me to put concepts together from different arenas of information to make a new idea, or to solve a problem.
So, there are a lot of things I’m thinking about at any one time. The cubby hole doors seem to fly open at will and random stuff starts falling out of the cubbies. Examples of the contents include (but are not limited to) camping with my family as a kid, my Campus House church at Purdue, a schload of music, dreams and plans for spending a year in Spain, Italy, or Portugal, my experiences in Venezuela, books I've read, books I'm writing, my next roadtrip, my next essay, and a variety of other good things. Thankfully, on the whole, I’ve had a pretty safe and joyful life and there’s really nothing insurmountable flying out of the doors. I've never had to endure physical abuse from a spouse, no combat time, no homelessness, no loss that was so huge it was something from which I couldn’t recover.
There are some things that have their own cubbies which are not as pleasant; things that fall out at the most inopportune moments. For example, in the last month, the following random items have fallen out of their respective cubbies. All at once. (Some of these happened in the last month, and some of them I just got really pissed off about within the last month; they may have happened longer ago.)
--I turned 36.
--I have no children.
--I attended a baby shower
--a bridal shower,
--and a wedding.
--The former spouse has MY dogs.
--Flowers from MY dad's garden are growing on the former spouse's patio. (I couldn't move daylillies into an apartment.)
--I took too much debt away from my marriage, limiting my current income (for which I'm grateful. Uh, the income, not the debt.)
--Found out both of the ex-husbands are getting married.
--I have depressive symptoms, and that just sucks ass.
--My tan is fading.
Okay, that last one wasn't serious. But, the other things, when emerging from their respective cubbies at one time, sent me just a teensy bit over the edge. I'll be the first to admit I'm a cry-er. I'm so good at it that it's actually a hobby. (Ask me about my revolutionary, patented tear-dabbing technique.) But daily crying and the nearly uncontrollably strong urge to hide underneath my bed are really not fun. Like, at all.
So, I'm changing the cubby holes. From now on, some of them will be fortified with stronger doors. Doors with locks. I will control where the key for the locks resides. And I will leave the doors closed. Or, at the very least, I'll make an effort to only open one of the doors marked "NOTHING GOOD IN HERE" at a time. Maybe I'll use some duct tape.
As embarassing as it is to feel juuuuust shy of totally out of control, it actually feels better to write it down. And tell your boss. And your friends. Just telling it makes me able to shut the doors on the stuff that I don't need to think about every day. Or, in some cases, ever again. The rest of the cubbies will be redecorated. Maybe with coordinating fabrics and trims. And sequins.