OCD and Wreck this Journal

OCD and Wreck this Journal

“Things happen for a reason…”

“Fate is a fickle friend…”

“Turn, turn, turn…”

“Accept it…”

“Move on…”

Wise or unwise, phrases like these have been spoken as long as I can remember — and long before– I am certain, but do we believe these words? Maybe, maybe not. Fate? No. Accept it and move on? Yes. Words often easily uttered to each of us during our most difficult times — death, loss of love, etc — are ironically among the most difficult to believe and follow.

When I lost my job three days before my birthday this year, I was devastated. I loved my new job, and I thought my 2 co-workers liked me. It turns out, my boss did not. My OCD (which only briefly surfaced when I made the rare mistake and briefly lost my confidence) was something she could not allow in her workplace. With no write-ups, no discipline, no indication that my job was ever on the line, excuses were made about personality differences and my “lack of confidence,” and I lost my beloved new job a few days later, and the company violated the ADA. I have not pushed the ADA issue yet with the Department of Labor, and I am still sad about the loss.

Sadness aside, my birthday still loomed ahead, and we had a houseful of birthday guests arriving the next evening, so I dove into party plans. While the party was great, I was still having trouble moving forward after the loss.

The next day, I picked out — and Anthony bought — the perfect birthday present: Wreck this Journal. For those unfamiliar with Keri Smith‘s Wreck this Journal series, the books encourage readers to destroy the books while completing creative tasks such as:

  • Find a way to freeze this page
  • Color this page red on purpose
  • Pour, spill, drip, spit, fling, different colored driks HERE
  • Place sticky things here
  • Let the colors run
  • Cut strips, do a weaving
  • Crack the spine

Nervous at first to destroy a book, I started with “Crack the spine” and it was smooth-sailing from then on, and I soon found these books were also excellent therapy (links to purchase on Amazon are ahead). My Mess and the Wreck this Journal have helped me start to overcome some of my issues with OCD as I drew, wrote, tore, crumpled, spilled, painted, and threw without fear of repercussions.  I simply let things be. Obviously, my OCD is not cured. It never will be, but, at least I can find fun and creative ways to fight it.

As you can see from examples above, my once neat and tidy copies of Mess and Wreck this Journal have been battered, yet well-loved, and while there is still much left to do in each, I still need another outlet to play with alongside.

Today, I discovered on Keri Smith’s website, 100 Ideas and decided to give them a whirl in an adorable animal-adorned blank journal I’ve had lying around. I printed the ideas out in grid form, spilled them into a mesh bag, and drew my first task: Write a list of all the things you do to escape.  I thought about my OCD and my fears, and I listed 22 ways I escape. Check ’em out:

While I do not believe in fate or that all things mystically/magically/divinely happen for a reason, I do believe that sometimes something happens at the right time and for the right reason, yet I maintain there is nothing mystical about it. I saw Wreck this Journal at the bookstore. I picked it up. I carried it around the store. I meant to buy it. Anthony ended up buying it for me. A week later, I bought Mess. I/he/we made this happen because we took that steps to make it happen, so in that way, yes, things did happen for a reason. Here is an apropos snippet from the introduction to Wreck this Journal.

I was not fated to find this book, but it was there when I needed it the most and least expected to find it. It was, as Keri Smith says, literary happenstance, and I am so grateful that Anthony understood how much I needed this book. He encourages me every day to move forward without fear of failure. It’s taking time, but I’m getting there day by day and page by page.