living with OCD, anxiety, and sensory overload
a short story written by me a few months ago
he crashed through vegetable selection and substitution, straight through the rough of his recipe. he googled dill weed and decided that the only way to continue changing his life was to have it in his spice rack. the old him would never have even looked at a recipe. he somehow didn’t feel convinced that his life was changing himself or if he was changing his life, and he dealt with this every time his eyes got hit with mist in the produce section because he stays there too long. grocery shopping, like life, makes him crave cigarettes and like life, the cigarette check out lane had already closed for the evening.
with the immediacy of experiencing automatic sliding doors, he pushed his cart filled with a bunch of choices towards his car. the sky opened up in front of him, and jet plane trails shredded it at every angle. “there’s a strip mall at the horizon”, he thought.
he piled his groceries haphazardly into his car and watched a team of short-haired women in boots smile at him as they returned carts just like his. people carried their choices in carts, and these women carried those carts. he returned his cart to the store, notably, because he didn’t use a cart return. “that’s a rather sterile way to treat that which was burdened by my choices”, he thought but only in more uncertain terms.
he returned to his car, and stared downwards, choosing accidentally to not participate in the rotting of his groceries in the 89 degree car tomb. things had frozen in him, to a degree, and he felt sadly happy. duke called that feeling “sentimental” but he thought it might have been a sick nostalgia. sick in the way you might feel after too much sugar or alcohol, where you feel the worst JUST after the most fun parts of your life. he saw the ladies moving more carts around and they didn’t notice him in his car. people kept passing him to get in their cars and return to wherever they came from. he wanted to cry and listen to sad songs, and to never fight the overwhelming beauty of being surrounded by living beings and never ever combat the dusk sky no matter how many times a jet plane cuts it’s skin — all of this because he’s at the grocery store.
he thought about going home, and how going home might require passing through lanes of seemingly automated traffic, operated by probable shells of organic matter. he thought about how hard it is to imagine every human being on the planet having just as much epistemological strife as he, so often times he operated as if the rest of the world were hardwired and mechanized to live their lives, and it wasn’t hard for them like it was for him… because he looked into eyes and saw depth and couldn’t stop seeing depth; the depth of their pains and the heights of their happinesses — wait that latter part reminded him of when he read kahlil gibran and gibran wrote
"Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
and how gibran planted in him the golden grain of self acceptance. he felt the winds pick up as he opened his windows to the setting sun and drove out of the black hot parking lot. he nodded at a pedestrian crossing the street in acknowledgment and felt relieved.
he held back tears for how long he waited to see beauty infinitely without being so, so frightened of his incredibly obtuse, widely cast net of empathy to the point of death;
and he finally did.