I am sitting at an airport, waiting for my OCD to strike my mind, or rather, to be conjured up by the malevolent part of it.
As time moves on, I become increasingly comfortable with my own ridiculousness. Maybe some people aren’t ridiculous, but I would be very surprised. If you don’t surprise yourself with your own preposterousness, then I don’t think you are using all your potential humanity. You’ve got a self-conscious brain, surprise yourself with it.
Not all ludicrousness is fun.
Of late, I have self diagnosed a little OCD. It is not an OCD that prevents me doing too much, it just increases the cold sweats and paranoia while the outer shell attempts a mask of sanity. It may just be a D without an OC. It is a nuisance and creator of stress rather than something that keeps me housebound. I am not attempting to make myself seem more devilishly interesting or tragically poetic by this admission, it is far too mundane for that. It is an annoying offshoot of my imagination, the sort of mental trait that fired up my insomnia, though teetotalism has helped quash the majority of that. This has been the first tour for sometime where the first month has not been spent drained and twitchy after ceiling staring nights. I am much better at arguing with myself when the voices in my head are sober.
Back in my 20s, my abysmal diet of booze and dough led to IBS, the bloated, cramped paranoia that your bowels were about to show you up in whatever bus, theatre or cemetery you were in. Not one to avoid obsessing, once struck by it, the sensation could be replicated in my mind in any situation where a public convenience was not at hand.
It was imagining the shame that kept this brain demon fired up.
Eulogy at a funeral? Of course you’ll get to the pulpit and then have a uncontrollably spasmodic bowel.
Sitting on a plane to Singapore? Of course, the moment the seatbelt sign illuminates you’ll realise you are full of waste.
Sitting in the front row of your son’s nativity? why wouldn’t your colon punch your stomach walls.
Sat in the middle of a row watching Enron next to Germaine Greer? Of course there is some extra wee inside you that must depart. Now to work out, what is less embarrassing getting half the row to stand up as they tut and scowl, or working out the absorption rate of your duffle coat?
Don’t think that hasn’t crossed my mind.
Now that I have realised that this is the self loathing, sabotaging part of my mind, I am finding it easier to feud with. When I sit on that plane to day, my rational self will be trying to explain to my uncontrolled halfwit of horror that, after an adult life of avoiding public spectacle of release, it should be by fine now. Then the paranoid, dramatic irony sub section of the mind creeps in, “it’s exactly that level of confidence in yourself that will lead to sudden outburst”, and the palms dampen again.
I once took a train from Aberdeen to Cardiff rather than a plane with the rest of the performers, apparently because I liked the idea of looking at Scotland and Wales out of a train window, but really because I didn’t trust my body on an early flight. Oh, the horror I imagined.
I started saying no to gigs that involved flights.
On each stroll, like some Robocop of public conveniences, I would laser sight where each WC was. (I still do)
One of the many intriguing facets of imagination is how it can fill your mind with worse case scenarios, then make your body feel as if that scenario if just around the corner. The rational mind declares it psychosomatic, the paranoid mind says it is just that kind of thinking that occurs on the cusp of disaster.
It’s just another imp of the perverse.
Know thyself is what he said, and it can be quite a surprise what you come up against after a little scrutiny. As I have started my new tour on the mind, I have been relieved and gladdened that after my cagey observational questions of “Do you do this…do you?”, like a some uncertain Mcintyre, a surprising number of people have admitted to inner thoughts that have hampered them. A few have worried that they had never realised that they were more normal than they had imagined. Inwardly, they had struggled with their freak status, now they found out that they were in a whole row of one off paranoids.
Now do I take this immodium before boarding flight BE411 to Birmingham, or do a stare my paranoia down?
FOOTNOTE – Now I have written this, dramatic irony me is whispering,”you do realise that now this will be the flight where your oft imagined public shame occurs?”
My new show in the brain and mind is off to London, Salford, Huddersfield, Bromsgrove, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, you get the general idea. All dates HERE