I have finally found a way to get over my incessant need to fix every single letter that I write on pieces of paper.
Since grade one, I have engaged in an obsessive compulsive behaviour that has brought my mother down to the school on more than one occasion for a meeting with my teacher(s).
This behaviour has followed me into adulthood. (Although I kind of have control of it myself now. There’s no one standing over me with a ruler, demanding that I not give into my natural instincts.)
What is this natural instinct that has caused a lifetime of annoyance to me and those trying to instruct me, you may ask?
Erasing everything I write and writing it again. And if it’s written in pen, touching up the pen marks made on the page until the letters blur together from too much ink in one fibrous spot on the paper.
I don’t just erase and touch up letters that are imperfect. If an ‘a’ or an ‘o’ forms a perfect circle, I will erase it to start over again so that its meer perfection cannot torture me.
For as long as I have been putting crayon, pencil or pen to paper, I have done this write, erase, re-write dance.
I am now officially in my late 30s, having lived through that fateful day in any woman’s life when I crested then went over the edge of my mid-thirties. Yes, I “celebrated” my 36th birthday recently. And on that day, I discovered a way to get over my incessant need to fix the cursive swirls my pen makes on paper.
I have kept you in suspense long enough. I will not keep this little trick a secret a moment longer. Are you ready? Here it is…
I blur my eyes while I’m writing.
That’s it. I focus on a point somewhere just beyond the line on which I am writing, and I keep my eyes focused on that spot until I have finished writing. By doing this, I do not see whether the letters are perfect or imperfect.
Yes, of course I will see my writing only moments later when I proofread what I have written. But for some reason, I am rarely concerned with the perfection or imperfection of the formation of the letters when I re-read something. And thus, it doesn’t bother me (as much).
So, now all I have to do is remember that simple trick when I’m writing by hand (which, let’s face it, doesn’t happen that much anymore anyway) and voilà! No more obsessive compulsive behaviour!
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OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) can be debilitating. In this post, it is not my intention to minimize the seriousness of the condition by saying that, with a “simple trick” I can get over my obsessive compulsive desire to “write, erase, re-write.” As a child (and even now, as an adult), I suffer from a mild form of OCD. I say “mild” only because I am in some sort of control over it. It is a very serious anxiety disorder, and should be treated as such.