Ew, The Filth, My God (And Some Sandburg)

I have become very neurotic over the last month. This isn't unusual for me at this time of year, but what is unusual is that it is not accompanied with a lethargic depression. I'm still filled with self-loathing and an inability to foresee a possibly positive future for myself or the planet, but I've got energy to burn. I'm negative and fidgety. It's totally annoying.

It's completely amazing that I even went to the book club meeting I mentioned I was invited to on Wednesday evening. It has become difficult for me to be around other human beings at times, and as Wednesday wore on toward evening, my dread about the situation grew.

Obviously, my dislike of people factored into this dread but not too greatly, because I am quite used to my dislike and make efforts to ignore it. My hate-on for people doesn't usually help or hinder me much, except for those moments when I allow it to keep me cooped up in my apartment, so getting out there and mixing with the undesirables is usually the better option. I sound like I might be an awful person, but I'm not, really. I was even super nice to that girl who had a journal covered in butterflies and showed me a copy of the invitation that she and her husband gave out when they married their cats. (They married the cats to each other, silly. There was no man/beast love action going on). I want to like people, and sometimes find ones that aren't so bad, so, see, you wouldn't mind meeting me. Really.

No, what really has been upping my dread factor as far as people are concerned is the basic fact of our animal bodiness. You are going to seriously think I've turned into some freak when I get into this, but I'm not. I go through these phases of obsessiveness every winter. Usually my issue is electrical appliances, which can be disruptive if I want toast or to brush my teeth or to plug in a lamp, so I'm glad that is not the one that has popped up this time. No, this time it's dirty bodies.

Before I go any further, I want to preface it with the fact that this is the first time that I have been so afflicted with this particular kind of obsession. It's terribly uncomfortable to have to live with, and if you are someone who has to deal with this anxiety every day all year, I truly feel for you. The world, which is already an intimidating place, can become overwhelming when you are constantly worrying about how repulsive it is to share your space with most of what's in it.

I know better than to show my revulsion externally, but internally I recoil whenever someone touches me (other than the Fiery One, of course). It's not them so much as me. I am constantly aware of how unclean I am. I naturally have a greasy complexion, and within a couple of hours of showering in the morning, I'm slick. I'm sure that I can feel the dirt and hair and whatnot sticking to this all over me (the neurotic half of me thinks that I'm certain of this, and the reasonable half of me knows that I should perhaps focus on things of some consequence). Someone else touching me is like doubling or tripling or quadrupling this effect, depending on how naturally dirty they are and who they have come into contact with since they last showered. It's almost mathematical how I calculate who's "safer" than another to touch, which means who's less disgusting to come into contact with.

Aside from the touching thing, there's breathing. Sitting through meetings has become quite an exercise of my self-control at times, because it is very hard to continue sitting in a room full of people all exhaling. If you can smell it, particles of whatever you are smelling are in the air, and it can really start getting to me. I can't stop thinking about how I am actually ingesting whatever these people are expelling, and it doesn't take long for me to feel as though I've been french-kissing all of my co-workers. Ew. Who wants to think of that? I, for one, certainly don't, but this is where my brain takes me during work meetings. I would much prefer to be fantasizing about seducing Natalie Portman or what I would do with the 12.5 million in lottery winnings up for grabs, but those would be nice things to think, and it's January now, so Schmutzie's brain doesn't allow anything to interrupt the really good flow of negativity it's got going on.

Since this affliction has only been haunting me for about three weeks, I'm still regularly surprised by what will bother me. I could hardly watch the scene in "The Aviator" in which they show Howard Hughes' naked foot, because it actually made me taste bile in my mouth. I haven't been able to soak in a tub of hot water, which is one of my favourite things to do, because my own dead skin floating around me is too repulsive. I'm hoping that with the lengthening of the days, I will slowly turn back into my slightly less neurotic self, because this ew-gross feeling is getting so old.

At any rate, I did go to the book club meeting, and as much as I expected it to suck because it was a book club meeting, it didn't. The people who were there were of varied ages and backgrounds, no one dominated conversation and no one shied away, and there were cookies. Despite the fact that my skin was itching in a bug-crawly way and the couches seemed infested to me and I had to shake hands with a really chapped looking woman, I managed to get into the conversation. I might even go back for a second round in two months' time.

When I started writing this entry, the only thing I was going to write about was my book club experience, and then the whole thing ended up being about how crazy I can be in January. I think that's because I had to file today at work, which made me worry about all the "stuff" that might be in the files, which in turn made me imagine that my skin was all itchy and crawly for the rest of the afternoon. Don't worry, though. I know that there is nothing actually crawling all over my body at the moment. It just feels like there is.

Just tell me one thing: if I don't actually believe in all of the filth that my brain obsesses about, how come I still feel all crawly?


Update: Screw the human filth issues. I'm going to have a bath. How's that for spitting in the face of adversity!


"Clean Hands" by Carl Sandburg


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