Not just relationships. Boy-girl relationships. Romance. How does it work?
I’m thinking about this because I just had coffee with my dear friend Caitlin and we were talking about when we were first discovering that we had hormones.
Two memories for me:
1) Reading YM Magazine beneath a desk with a girl named Lindsay in 4th grade. We paged through the magazine, and Lindsay would say of a celebrity, “Oh, look at him. He’s hot.” I had to think about it. Was this okay to say? It seemed kinda risque (ha!), but I figured it was all right. Page turn. My turn: “Oh wow. Hot. He’s totally hot, isn’t he?” Repeat.
2) Watching Little Giants with my friend Jacki in 6th grade. Devon Sawa made us giddy. Like, lie-on-our-backs-while-screaming-and-kicking-our-feet-in-the-air giddy. Hormones, I decided, were wonderful things.
As I got older and my struggle with OCD magnified, things got more muddied in this arena. (Relationships got trickier than a tween crush on Devon Sawa and JTT? SHOCKER!)
A couple thoughts on love/romance and OCD, the doubting disease.
In tenth grade, I liked Zac Hanson. Yes, of MMMBop fame.
It was 10th grade. It was a stupid celebrity crush. And it would drive me crazy– way too crazy for a 10th-grade celebrity crush. I would overthink my love for him– and sometimes I would think that maybe I liked Taylor instead, which felt absolutely TREACHEROUS to me. Then I would feel guilty. Then I would think in circles until I could boil whatever “issue” I had down into one statement, which I would write in a notebook with a Crayola bold marker.
I mention this because I would carry this action with me for quite some time– thinking in circles until I could come up with a “summary statement.” I can see now that this was my way of trying to get a handle on things that were too overwhelming for me.
I also mention this because, um, hello– this was too overwhelming for me. And that’s ridiculous. And that’s OCD.
(Is this post getting way too long? Just wait. I have several more stories.)
One day in 7th grade, I thought my friend Lisa looked pretty. Just a simple thought: “Lisa looks pretty today.” Then I tore myself to shreds wondering if I was gay. Years later I would discover that this is SO common of an obsession that there’s a name for it– HOCD, homosexual OCD. Wow. I was a textbook case. I didn’t even want to be gay– and I definitely liked men– and yet, somehow (cough, OCD) I still worked myself into a tizzy.
Along came college.
Freshman year I liked a boy who liked me back. We got along great, had awesome chemistry, enjoyed each other’s company, the whole shebang. My OCD chewed the relationship up like a junkyard dog eats garbage. I remember the night that he told me that he liked me. We sat in his car till late that night, holding hands, talking over everything. I was on Cloud Nine. This gorgeous boy somehow liked little old ME– actually thought I was incredible!– and I remember going back to the Northwestern dorms, waking up Tracy to tell her about the DTR. Then I went back to my bedroom and cried myself to sleep, completely sick over it.
Doubt creeps in that fast.
I spent the next day convinced that I had to end whatever had just begun. I can’t tell you how sick I felt over it. It’s that same feeling when you’ve betrayed your dear friend and she doesn’t know it yet.
He was crazy about me, but I couldn’t handle the sick feeling I had (OCD-induced, although I didn’t know it at the time), and soon after, I had to call it quits. I remember spending many days down by Lake Johanna, doing another of my little rituals– making list after list, still trying to do the old trick of finding a summary statement I could live with. I convinced myself that I liked his roommate (whom I did not like) even, which is another whole stupid story. I just felt like a murderess all the time– and so sinful! It was doomed.
(Don’t feel too sad– in the end, it wouldn’t have worked anyway! I don’t regret it.)
One last story. I hope you’re hanging in there with me on this post.
Post-college. I had a massive crush on the sweetest boy in the world. He was adorable, nerdy, wonderful, and we were good friends on our way to becoming even better friends. I convinced myself that I was not “allowed” to like him and that God would not approve of my crush on him. Let me be clear on something: this was OCD-induced, not Spirit-induced, which is clear to me now. It was agonizing.
I felt torn between this boy, whom I loved and who could have helped me to grow in my relationship with Christ, and Christ Himself, who I half-convinced myself was against the relationship. Notice: half-convinced. Some days I was certain that it was sinful for me to like this boy; some days I thought I’d be throwing away God’s gift to me if I were to let him go. OCD, the doubting disease. I shredded my heart.
It’s interesting to look back through the years now and see OCD’s clear but ugly hand pulling the strings in my life. What a thief. Thanks be to God who has rescued me from such an ugly enemy (who sometimes masquerades as a friend!! LIES!). When the time comes, and the right boy comes along, this time I’ll be ready for him. All glory to Jesus for that!!