Sacred rituals

16 Sep 2020

I hesitated with this blog. Should I expose my crazy, in all it’s embarrassing detail? Will I lose what little authority I have to speak on any subject ever again? Then I remind myself of others here who are also quite batty – you know who you are.

It started over a conversation with a friend who has bad OCD. Her main problems involve imagined illnesses, so Covid fear has it her badly. She also has a lot of important rituals, and I wondered if she recalled the first triggers.

One involves checking her tedding is sitting upright on a cabinet, and saying “Be a good boy” to him whenever she leaves the house. This started years ago. She bathed teddy, all fluffy and nice. She sat him to try on the cabinet, said “Be a good boy” and went out. Next day, the urge came to repeat this, and it continued.

Another ritual (she strongly denies it is a kinky fetish) is that her knickers must match the colour of her lower clothing. On a hike years ago, she ripped the back seam of her trousers, and spent the rest of the day with her contrasting coloured bum exposed baboon-like to ridicule. She has a huge collection of pants. Even wearing something loose, the underneath must match.

Tonight is Friday, I will prepare a light supper, with a large mug of Assam. I never have a hot drink with my evening meal other nights. Getting into pyjamas, we watch the box, with a big dish of ice cream. This began years ago as ‘the weekend starts here’ release from a healthy diet on weekdays. Back in the mists of time it was cream cakes, then a box of chocolates for a few years, until we settled on this.

Tomorrow morning Spock will call out “Morning” passing my room, he only does this on Saturdays, family weigh-in day. I visit the bathroom, then put on a tattered old nightshirt, worn for weigh-in for 25 years. It is never washed, that could change the weight of the fabric. Then I fetch Tiny who lives in m jewellery box. He is a little Pokemon who says “I wuv you” when you press his tummy. He is the reason my weight has stayed stable for many years. I arrange the sales on the exact spot each week. Tiny also joins me when eating out. His presence changes the laws of physics, calories disappear.

We keep spare batteries for the scales. One Saturday they ran out, I refused to wait until later, obviously I would be several kilos fatter by then, so Spock dragged to the shops before breakfast, cursing.

Clutching Tiny, I hop on the scales, don’t look at the dial. Spock silently writes the figure in a book, which is kept hidden. I keep my nightie on, he has not seen me unclothed for years. He removes his bath robe, I discreetly avert my gaze. Knowing his weight does not frighten him (seriously strange bloke) so I announce it.

The dogs have their Saturday weigh-in routine as well. The blind girl runs to hide, wagging her tail furiously as we pretend we can’t find her. She is first on the scales, the biggest. After being weighed, they all sniff and lick each other’s faces, relieved to have it over with, as indeed am I.

Driving to the shops, we have boiled sweets from a round tin. This happens on specific journeys, varying the flavours. We have 15 tins in the cupboard.

There is clearly a food and weight theme behind some of my magical thinking, but others are hard to analyse. I buy the Daily Mail Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Guardian on Fridays, and the Times on Saturday. We used to buy the heavy Sundays, but felt guilty at how much went unread.

It is said these habits are a way of placating the gods, stopping them from smiting us, so the link with anxiety fits me. However, my partner has many rituals, and his is not cursed with anxiety. Unless they severely slight our lives, do they matter?

Are rituals part of your life too?


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