Some things in my life have been, well, overstated. If you've known me for longer than five minutes you know I abused my brother when we were children--the now infamous story being that his first sentence was, Mommy, sissy hit--you know that when I was quite small I made my newlywed aunt and uncle read me a book while they took a bath. Together. Presumably with no clothing on. And you know that my family thinks I was born missing my off switch. My dad doesn't think there was a time, from the development of my language skills until I left for college, when I wasn't talking. These stories are becoming legendary. Or, at least, they should be with as often as they're told.
Speaking of legendary. I come from a long line of cleaners. My dad. His mom. I'm sure a great-grandparent or two. My clean gene has always manifested itself in the nice, neat little compartment of organization. I certainly don't keep the cleanest house I've ever seen. My shelves can rarely pass a white glove test and sometimes I'll go weeks without cleaning the least frequented bathroom. I probably didn't need to confess that. I'm sure you think less of me now. But when it comes to being organized well...I should have maybe majored in it. I'm way better at that than I am at acting.
When I was little (and by little I mean eight or nine) I used to clean my closet. For fun. I loved to get things in better order than they were before. As the story goes, I was playing with a friend when she and her sister had to clean their own closet. It was horrors worse than my own closet and I acted as the drill sergeant making her get rid of things she hadn't used in several months. I can remember helping other friends and neighbors organize their own rooms throughout high school and college.
Then I married a piler. Troy really enjoys piles. Loves them, even. He maybe would have married a pile if it was decidedly female. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks but, the truth is, you kind of can. I know this because, the longer Troy and I are married, the less clutter my house takes on. I even see myself wearing off on him in ways I could only have dreamed of five years ago. There's only one problem. The better he gets, the worse I get. Oh, I don't replace his piles with my own. No. I replace his piles with higher expectations heaped upon him. My brother, the psychologist, says that everyone has areas of their life that are obsessive/compulsive. The problem is that my area, which I've always known was a severe allergy to clutter, is getting worse. And I can see it.
In my mind, all things have a place and when other things are added to that place, I feel uneasy. I feel, truthfully, a compulsion to move it that either must be consciously suppressed or must be acted upon. For example, my end table currently has three Christmas decorations and several Christmas books on it. That's fine. They can live there. But if someone (read: Troy) puts a cell phone or a newspaper or a set of keys on it, I have to move them to their rightful home. The phone goes to the night stand or into a pocket, the keys onto the hook by the door and the newspaper into the recycler because, well, it's after 10:00 am so it should be read and ready for recycling by now.
I know what you're thinking. You're wondering how I have a toddler, aren't you? Honestly, I spend a lot of my day picking up after him but I also let him have his way with his playroom constantly. It's not that I can't let him play and destroy spaces, I just have to "fix" them when he's finished. The trouble is I can see it getting worse and what worries me is not the fact that I am ruining my son's life--really, truly, he destroys his spaces on a daily basis--but the fact that I am 27 years old. What, on earth, am I going to be like at 40 or 50? I don't have to wash my hands three thousand times before I flip the light switch 82 times and then turn around in three circles and spit twice into the toilet or anything like that but I do, often times, have crazy urges to declutter things.
So the bottom line is this...is there medication for this? Or do I have to chalk it up to my clean genes and go about my life either driving those around me crazy or feeling all twisty and psychotic inside as I stare at a television remote thrown haphazardly onto the couch instead of placed neatly inside the cabinet?