Monday, September 04, 2006

out of the closet

The OC

"OC ka, ano?"

my friend asked me that one time when she saw me adjusting our table, which had a slight gap against the wall, while we were having dinner in Pizza Hut.

"hindi, no!"

me, Obsessive Compulsive? of course not! i thought to myself as i checked the table for crumbs.

she then proceeded to give me a quick personality test that she learned that day. turned out i'm the analyzer/organizer. ah, big surprise there.

ever since As Good As It Gets came out, the term, OC, has been used so liberally. in fact, i hear it as often as nerd, weird, and jerk (well ok, it was probably because they were usually used in reference to me - except the last one). but really, just because a person is organized, doesn't automatically make him/her Obsessive Compulsive.

anyways, what exactly is OCD? to be diagnosed as OC, one must have obsessions and/or compulsions (as the term suggests).

Obsessions are defined by:
Recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress.
The thoughts, impulses, or images are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems.
The person attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, impulses, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action.
The person recognizes that the obsessional thoughts, impulses, or images are a product of his or her own mind.

Compulsions are defined by:
Repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.
The behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts either are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent or are clearly excessive.

as i was poring through the checklist, i realized how serious this disorder is. have you seen As Good As..? Jack Nicholson's character was a genuine OC. he brings his plastic utensils to restaurants (probably because he's afraid the in-house utensils are dirty). he likes his order served in a particular way and arranged on the table to his specific liking. when i saw the scene where he was avoiding cracks (or patterns) on the pavement, i got a little scared. i was reminded of my childhood self avoiding the dark spots on our wooden steps as i ran down the stairs. i'm not kidding. it was only in high school when i caught myself in mid-step. i didn't know why i avoided those spots. i just didn't like stepping on them. but i knew it wasn't a normal thing to do so after that, i consciously climbed up and down our stairs without avoiding those "problem areas". and my trip up and down our staircase has been OC-free since then. i'm weird, i know.

after that whole OCD term came out, it became a convenient label for us. well, it's definitely easier to say than organized. anal, or neat freak, right?

wanting to have things in order is just a part of a person's personality. it doesn't necessarily scream OC but when you actually obsess over those habits of yours and do them over and over and over, well, you need to see a shrink! seriously. it's the same case as alcoholics. just because you drink, doesn't mean you're an alcoholic. but when you drink excessively, then that's a different story.

being organized is not just something you acquire when you're old and mature. one of my students in my first toddler class is a perfect example. just 2 years old then, this boy always made sure our toys were arranged by a specific characteristic (color, size, etc.). he didn't like getting his hands and feet dirty. it took a while for him to take off his socks while we were playing in the Mat Area. he made sure to eat all of his snacks, even if his other friends were already doing something else.

my partner and i were joking that he's OC. until we met his parents. that's when i believed that this personality trait can really be genetic. his mom is the single most organized and meticulous woman i know in my entire life. making weekly journals of her son was pretty challenging because she keeps a daily log of his progress, complete with the actual quotation (what he said at that precise moment), the time, and date. it put our narratives to shame, i tell you. but it kept us on our toes. and as for his dad? one of their relatives (the boy's aunt) told me that his dad is just as particular. so combine two very orgnanized, anal people and what do you get? an extremely organized toddler. :)

last year, i had another student who wasn't as organized as my former student but she was still particular about certain things.

this is a shot of the toys she arranged. notice that the horses are lined up by color? nobody told her to do that. thankfully, i had my camera with me and i was able to capture her work (which we placed in her portfolio at the end of the schoolyear).

are they OC? nah. they're organized, that's for sure.

as for me? i admit i probably had OCD tendencies when i was younger. but i overcame it. well, some of my habits, that is. by the time i was in college, i didn't care if my things were all over the place, my closet wasn't arranged, and that it took me a while to look for something in my bag. of course, living with 11 other girls in one room for four years probably did the trick (diba, rica? :D).

lately, i find myself getting more organized. is it because i'm a teacher? probably. i think my change of careers catapulted me back to my OC-esque years. alas, my clothes are already arranged by color in my cabinet (haha!). before you say i'm hopeless, just realize how practical it is to have your shirts arranged this way. it's so much easier to look for something to wear when you're in a hurry.

so that's my excuse now. i'm just being practical. :)

Vanity, the name is...

admit it. when you look at a group photo, the first person you check out is yourself. and then you look at your friends.

huuu, don't deny it!

you know what? i believe that we all have a shred of vanity in us. some may have more shreds (mountains, to be exact) than others but there is always that narcissistic urge to be beautiful (i'm talking about men, too).

why do you think millions of women buy a lot of make-up, clothes, shoes, and accessories? and why do think men love to collect perfumes, shoes, caps, and shirts?

even if it takes me about three minutes to get ready (no joke) after taking a bath, i admit i still have a hint of vanity in my blood.

case in point.

yesterday was our annual family day. with the 80's theme in full swing, the event was an instant hit! we had the theme down pat, from the backdrop, to the decor, to the games, and our outfits. now, i didn't want to spend a single centavo on my attire so i ended up borrowing from my sisters (thanks, tonet and gelli!). i suddenly regretted giving away all my old clothes. who knew i'd need them after 20 years???

of course, i brought my camera with me. but...and i mean, BUT, we (the teachers) were so busy decorating, arranging, and organizing the whole event that i forgot to take photos. not that i had the time to. when i realized that my camera was still lying in the car, it was too late. the place was cleaned, the decor was packed away, and the people were gone! it was a sunday so nobody really wanted to hang around after the event.

i had a camera with nothing and no one to take pictures of. hmm, not quite, actually...

rica, alam kong lagi mong nirereklamo yung mga candid shots mo na kinuha ko so...this one's for you! hahaha! pero rica, kahit gusto kong ma-picturan, ikaw pa rin favorite model ko. :p

it was my unofficial coming-out party. and i had myself to celebrate it with. how very narcissistic indeed.

fine, make fun of me. i don't care.

admit it. you're vain, too! :D

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