Confessions of a Germaphobe

 

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I slide in on the heels of a middle-aged woman, so the door swings open and I never touch it.

I reach for the automatic paper towel dispenser, pull off a piece and head to the bathroom stall.   Naturally, my hand does not want to touch any part of the handle of the stall while opening it or closing it.   So I use the paper towel as a barrier between the door and my hand as I open the bathroom stall handle.

Next I begin prepping for the “hover”.  Women develop great muscle tone in their legs by hovering over the toilet seat.   Because I have germaphobia, I can’t use the outer layer of toilet paper provided,  because God knows what might linger on that puppy.  Blowback, splatter, or spray.  Things that can’t be seen with the naked eye.   What if the person before me had explosive diarrhea?  dear God….microscopic fecal matter or worse blood borne pathogens lingering.  My thoughts race a thousand miles an hour and my heart beats a thousand beats per second.   I want OUT of this horrid public bathroom that smells like a raw sewage backup with febreeze misting in through the air.

I have to unravel several sheets of said toilet paper round and round many times and then discard that before I can even think of it, as “safe” to use.  Then I’m clear to for take off, ready to void.

Oh and that’s the other thing, pooping? Ummm no. I would rather prairie dog it til’ I get home before I’d use a public rest room.  That’s pretty much a cardinal rule of “no can do” with my OCD/ germaphobia variant.

Once I’m through, and am all buttoned up, I grab another piece of toilet paper to grab the door handle with and let myself out of the stall.  Before I exit , I throw that into the toilet and turn around quick-like and kick the flusher handle down with the bottom of my shoe.

I return back to the automatic paper towel dispenser to get a piece, with which to turn on the water faucet at the sink and also use it to pull down the soap dispenser.  I then wash my hands.   I return back to the paper towel dispenser to get more paper so I that I can dry my hands and grab one extra square to let myself out of the bathroom.

It is a well-choreographed dance like movement in an operating theatre.   A waltz I know well after being diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in my late teens.  I have it down to a science now and can do it so quickly I do not think about the routine.  I get in, and get out in nearly the same amount of time that the next person does.

Once back in college, I felt a sense of shame about having this lengthy public bathroom regimen, knowing (at least intellectually) it was irrationally based behavior.   Come on, if someone was watching, it looks bat-shit crazy.

Then one day I observed one of my professors who held a PhD, using the same bathroom, who had just had a bowel movement and left without washing her hands.

I no longer felt ashamed after she walked out.   I believe I may have washed my hands an extra time, just because.

Kool-Aid Jones: from Pulpit to Pinterest

You better believe that if renowned narcissist Jim Jones were alive and well today, he’d be reaching far more numbers of vulnerable and impressionable minds by writing a blog from an upscale flat in London than he ever did in the jungles of Guyana.  He’d still have his loyal following of devotee’s with their troubled pasts of trauma, broken childhoods, broken marriages, and broken dreams.  He would naturally espouse to have vast knowledge on how to remedy all that ails them.  He would peddle his special brand of elixir or “how-to” and offer to turn their lives from misery to sanctity and freedom.  All that he would ask is that they just put their faith and trust in him, their fearless and self-ascribed leader .

Like any good narcissist, he seeks unlimited success/power/love, admiration.  He has a grandiose self-worth and believes himself superior to others.  He has a lack of empathy well-hidden behind a seamless veneer of charm and charisma.  Has a sense of entitlement and possesses interpersonal exploitative behaviors.

In today’s day and age vampires have adapted.  They have no need to fear the daylight, for there are dark sunglasses and sunscreen.   So too, the modern-day Jones would dispense his Kool-Aid differently than his predecessor.   The pen has always been mightier than the sword, or in this case, the cyanide.   Our modern-day Jones would trade preaching for blogging.  He would use volumes of facts about narcissism offering to help others’ gain understanding.    Jones may perhaps don the Scarlet Letter and admit publicly to being a narcissist.  This would do two things:  through his blog he would both normalize and desensitize the topic of malignant narcissism as well as foster a cheerleading team for himself.  He could ensnare victims by creating an online support group via the comment section of his blog and most of them would naïvely walk into it and never seeing it for its dark potential.   His harem, a coterie of would be stand-ins vying for place as his next primary source should that crack at bat ever happen.   The real coterie’s purpose to him? anything he wants.  Since many subscribers have their profile linked to their social media, at his disposal are their emails, photos, and sometimes phone numbers.   He would most likely spend hours writing, cultivating, and pruning his blog as it would be no doubt a great source of ready-to-eat supply.     Simply put, narc heaven.

By the time our Kool-Aid Jones blog gets into the minds of subscribers, his words have already become like a slow-acting poison.  Eating away at them long-after he is gone.

Wait, he seems so benign our Kool-Aid Jones, is there really a need to run?

 

 

 

 

 

Of Mice and Monsters II

It smelled of mold and mildew down there.  The air always had a cold damp quality to it.  Because of my asthma, I had never liked going there.  All the walls were entirely lined with neat rows of shelf-stable food.  Enough for a small family to survive an Armageddon.  I always thought it strange.  Then there was the safe.   The massive safe hidden behind the stairs.  Standing at well over 6 feet high, it was large enough with which to store a body.

All throughout our relationship, I was never permitted there while he opened the safe.  It was always one of those unspoken rules.   The mystery that shrouded the safe added to my wonderment of its contents.  The only light was from the lone 60-watt bulb dangling from the ceiling.  There were two dirty tiny windows meant only to allow light and ventilation.  They were both sealed tightly shut.

He was cooking spaghetti and meatballs that night and asked me to run down to grab a can of diced tomatoes.  I headed downstairs and began searching the shelves for the requested item.

Suddenly I heard him shut the basement door and then slide the metal chain latch  over.  Then I heard his footsteps on the floorboards above me trail away.

I bolted up the stairs heart racing and called out his name all the while feverishly trying the door handle in hopes it would open.  It did not.

He did not answer.

It hit me then.  The sheer and absolute terror.  The blood in my veins ran cold as I realized I have become entombed in this cellar.

I yelled at the top of my lungs and began pounding my fists on the door, “PLEASE!!! PLEASE!!! I’m begging you!!Let me out!!!

Still no answer.

More screaming, more begging, more pounding on the door,” I’m BEGGING you to please come back, I don’t have my inhaler, please let me out!!”

Silence.

My tears turned to full on sobs realizing I would might never get out of this basement.  My mind began to race:   Would I die from an asthma attack and suffocate or would I die from thirst/dehydration since there was only food down here but no water.    That I would never get to say goodbye to my family….

Seemed like seconds turned to minutes and each minute felt like an eternity.

When suddenly I heard his footsteps again and then the metal chain sliding to unlock the door.

“Why are you crying?” he laughed, “You didn’t think I was going to leave you down there forever did you?” He chuckled,” I was just fooling around with you.”  He pulled me in close and hugged me.   I felt relief, repulsion, anger….   The Stockholm Syndrome with which I was quite familiar, was unfolding right in front of me.  I simply couldn’t see it.

I don’t know how long I was actually locked down there.    It was long enough to know that I was not dealing with a garden variety “Daddy-Dom” into some weekend kink.

In retrospect, I think that’s why I stayed.  He intrigued me.  I thought with all my psychological acumen, I’d find out what made him tick.  But by then it was nearly too late for that.  For what I’ve failed to mention….was that by then I was in love with the monster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compass Rose

It’s still the same I suppose. Every spring as Easter approaches. I drive past the various Churches, with their steeples acting like beacons, sending their Celestial signal up towards the heavens. I pass there aching to go inside.

The ache rises in my chest as I pass, and then my heart sinks as I sit glued in my seat. My blood runs cold as I nervously think that ‘maybe I am unforgivable’.  How dirty I feel. Less than. Not quite good enough to stand next to any of the people donning their Sunday best.

I ache for closeness with Him like I once had. The only One who ever deserved my whole heart, who ever deserved my obedience and love.   He was the only One who would never betray me.

I can’t remember when I had stopped talking to Him.   Some call it praying.  But it was more than that to me.  It wasn’t rattling off a bunch of rote prayers, though that was how I had begun.  We were close back then.  It was like a friend that was sitting at the foot of my bed, just as real as you are reading this now.  I’d talk about everything.  Then listen.   Oh yes, He would answer.   He spoke through my intuition, I believe.  Sometimes I would ask for a sign.  Sometimes He would give me one:  a gentle cool breeze on a hot night or a small butterfly dancing at my window just as I would ask.

I had stopped going to church.  No one particular reason really and not in anger either.  Then a few years later I had stopped praying.   Other things had seemed to take precedence.  It was like one day He was just gone.  You see, it wasn’t an event, rather it was more of a process. Like most good things in life that slip away.

When I tried praying again?  it felt empty and perfunctory like I was running through mathematical computations.  Something was severed.   And I knew it hadn’t been severed by Him.   That pain of knowing what I lost has been unbearable.  The emptiness, nothing thus far can fill.

A thousand miles I have strayed off that chosen path on which I should have tread, maybe more.  It is easy to get lost out there in the darkness. Still easier to stay lost.

I don’t know how I will get back to Him.   I’m so far off course and a compass rose made only of hope in my grip.   I hope that He finds it in His heart, to forgive me.   Hope that this prodigal daughter can come home.   Hope that lost Faith will be found.

 

 

Of Mice and Monsters

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When I was a child and had a nightmare, right at the point where I knew the monster would “get”me, I thought it better to try to befriend the creäture.

I believed in doing so, this may spare me from being devoured.  I kept the authentic me, hidden from the monster.  The façade of being its friend, enabled me to survive those long wretched nights.

My childhood was riddled with nightmares.  Sadly during my days, I was hunted by the profane personified.

My nocturnal brain wiring to cope with the unacceptable.

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The first indication I had that he may have been a monster, was the night he asked me to kneel naked in the porcelain tub.   He told me this would be fun.

I complied.

He stood naked next to me.   I waited for what seemed a long time.    I looked up at him.   Still waiting.   Wondering.    Then…..

Right as I asked,” what are we doing?”  He urinated in my face; right at my mouth.

He erupted into peels of laughter, over and over again watching me as I spit and grimaced.

I don’t think I have ever tasted anything so acrid in all my life.  I hope I never will.

When he could see that I was angry for what he had done, he apologized.  I knew it was fake but accepted it anyway.

My acceptance of his fake apology was perhaps the beginning of my courtship,  with a real-life monster.  One so dark and empty, I could have never imagined.

 

 

Pressed Flower

imageI was cleaning out my closet today and found several greeting cards that my ex gave me over the years.

One card in particular stood out, he had sent me from when he was in one of the 8 detoxes that spanned our four year relationship. This one was at the halfway mark.  Inside the card he had picked a wildflower from the grounds where he was staying.  Over time it has yellowed with age and become perfectly flat.  He had inscribed on the card, “I love you and miss you so much!! I’m just not the same without my love next to me.  I love you!  Love, C.  He drew a giant smiley face on the blank side of the card.

My heart warmed instantly when I read it.  My mind goes back to that time-space, remembering him, remembering us.  How much I enjoyed him.  The nice him, before….     His words in this card seem so genuine and caring….and for a moment or so I bask in that warmth.  A tiny piece of what I used to have.

Then, it slips away and is shattered as the icy reality floods my veins. As I have to remind myself that he was but an actor, who only pretended to love me.  All a part of an illusion.  To con me.  Use me.   Then discard me.   Cognitive Dissonance….Then the familiar sick-ish  feeling comes  over me again.

I wonder if I should bury the cards in a mock funeral to remember the memories of the man that I thought that I had ?

How do you grieve someone who is still alive?