No Reservation About Having an OCD Overreaction

OCD and a standard human reaction do not always show up in the same scenario – at least not in my house. While I maintain a fierce disdain for dishonesty, I often find that my tolerance for true honesty can be much much lower.

In all fairness to me, it’s not the candor that gets under my skin. Rather it’s the absolute blunt format of said perspective. This is doubly ironic (and some might add seriously hypocritical) given that I am nothing if not utterly and hopelessly unfiltered in 99.9999% of my own responses.

I don’t want to be angry with He Who Shall Not Be Named (a.k.a. He Who Will Be Sleeping On The Sofa If He Keeps Giving Unfiltered Opinions), but I’m fairly irritated at the moment. We just moved into this home a few weeks ago and have been up to our eyeballs with the glories of life a la moving boxes. OCD and decorating are great when you have endless time and money falling out of your a-haul. But if they aren’t, arranging and designing your home become more stressors on the OCD hyper-focus list.

So when I finally extricated all things Christmas from my shelves and living room this evening, I decided to take a first run at the fireplace mantle. This is a major focal point in my unschooled designer brain, and I always make several attempts at this before I get settled. It’s never perfect on round one nor is it there by round ten.

However that doesn’t mean that I’m ever going to respond lightly to a casual spousal comment that uses an excited tone combined with the words, “Wow! That really jumps out at you. Those sticks look like a big scary tree!”

Shut. Yo. Face.

Did he talk smack about my mama? No. Did he mention how nice it would be if I could still wear the same pants I wore when we first met (or even two years ago…)? The local news would be covering my reaction to that one if he had, but no. Never that. He just made a doofy comment about the stupid sticks on the mantle. And he wasn’t wrong.

But was this his first day with me? Nope. Hadn’t he learned from the other ten zillion overreactions that I had displayed in response to countless other uncensored observations that that kind of sh@! wouldn’t be missing any of the surrounding fans if he spoke the words aloud rather than retaining them in his noggin where they belonged? Apparently not.

Incredibly (to me) he was thoroughly annoyed that he couldn’t just “make a comment” without sending me into a redesign overhaul frenzy. I spent another hour + fixing sticks in a jar. Yes. Frickin sticks. And frankly I’m still completely dissatisfied with them. Forget the mismatched candles or the hearth accents that aren’t at all what I want. It’s the damn sticks. I need them for height. They keep a natural feel while providing a visual balance to the other accents on the shelves flanking the mantle. Except this one isn’t the right size and that one is too dark and this one is a smidge too tall and and and…

This kind of stuff – my frenzied reactions – irritate him, but his annoyance doesn’t compare to how truly maddening my responses are to me. And this is where I step back to observe the whole scenario via the “Rational Person Watching the OCD Behavior from the Outside” mirror.

It really is unnerving. Although his comment could have been delivered in a smoother way, he wasn’t speaking with unkindness. Bad judgement call on his part? Yes. Mean intentions? Not in the slightest. And there were too many sticks, and they were too tall. I could see that, too.

Why did his innocuous comment send me into redesign overdrive? Why does my mind have zero reservations about responding this way whenever my feelings get slightly ruffled? I’m not bothered that he made the comment. At that moment, he was wearing a white undershirt, ratty shorts, grandpa slippers, and tall dark socks – clearly this level of fashion underscores his unwavering commitment to design and style in his own life so his decor critique must be without question as well. I’m just frustrated that I internalized and, maybe more accurately, externalized it in such an irrational way.

I struggle deeply with futile attempts to rein in these responses. My grandiose and inexplicable attempts to dispel inordinate levels of frustration are by no means limited to reactions to my husband’s comments. He just happens to be the primary owner of the never ending season pass to the MoJo Show, and that buys him a front row seat to the madness. For the vast majority of the rest of the world, the bulk of my idiosyncratic backlash typically stays hidden behind the scenes.  But it’s still there regardless just waiting to flip into action.

Thankfully for me, my husband seems to have accepted it all with relative indifference coupled with a head shake and an eyeroll, and thankfully for him, he has stopped giving design feedback for the evening. The candles, hearth, and shelves still await further modifications, but I would wager that I will receive no further commentary based on the Great Stick Mania of 2018. I would feel sorry for him, but seriously man – choose your words and then speak them. After almost twenty years, you should know how this dance is going to go.

At the end of the day, we all have some fault in our character that we would love to wash away – an imperfection in our facade, a peccadillo in our personality – but the people who matter will recognize that the rough moments pale in comparison to the true beauty within you. Relationships aren’t meant to be perfect, and we have to accept that they will have their ups and downs. The same is true for our own mental and emotional states – no perfection or endless smooth sailing to be found there either.

But my sticks are perfect dammit. So at least we have that.

Happy new year to all of you! May your year be full of joy and blessings. May you always find the humor in yourself and in those around you. And above all, may you find the right sized sticks should you decide to attempt to arrange them on your mantle.

Much love to you. ❤️  Jo


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. foodzesty
    Jan 03, 2018 @ 02:58:48

    If the fireplace on this post is your Jo, I honestly do like it 🙂


    • MoJo
      Jan 03, 2018 @ 08:49:43

      Thank you lovely. It’s very much in progress and my camera stinks at capturing the warmth of a room or anything at the macro level. I actually wanted to ask you about that because your food pics turn out so nice. Do you use your phone or do you have a specific camera that you go to for your beautiful shots?


  2. Writer Lori
    Jan 03, 2018 @ 04:54:50

    FWIW, Jo, I kinda like the sticks. And if it makes you feel any better, my husband is subtly nuanced in his decorating observations. I recently put out a new bowl filled with potpourri and he proceeded to ask what the deal was with the stinky wood. I can’t even….. Happy New Year ‘Martha.’ 😜


    • MoJo
      Jan 03, 2018 @ 08:47:55

      I snorted when I read your man’s comment. I met a guy the other day who used the word “applique” in a sentence with total comfort. That guy can give us design feedback. Black socks with shorts and slippers men cannot.


  3. José María López
    Jan 03, 2018 @ 08:41:40

    Looking at the chimney picture I cannot help noticing that there is nothing from Star Wars. What is wrong with you? I would also add an Astros cap.


    • MoJo
      Jan 03, 2018 @ 08:46:23

      This is just a guess, but I have a strong feeling that you, too, are wearing a white undershirt, ratty shorts, grandpa slippers and tall dark socks at the moment. Don’t bother telling me I’m wrong. We both know that I’m right. 😝. Happy new year darling!


  4. bone&silver
    Jan 03, 2018 @ 09:20:12

    That looks so good, I love it, and am a bit envious : ) (my place too small for a mantle, plus I’d never use it, it’s too hot here in the tropics), G


    • MoJo
      Jan 03, 2018 @ 08:51:57

      What I wouldn’t give for some tropical heat right now! Normally it’s a steam bath here, but it’s in the 20s outside at the moment. That’s child’s play to many, but it’s pretty stinkin’ cold here! 🙂 With that said, I do like to have a fire going every now and then. Maybe it’s my inner cave woman, but there’s something very soothing about it (once you stop arguing with your spouse about stupid stuff like mantle sticks). 😉


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