You’re stuck indefinitely in a bubble of soap and antiseptic liquid, the overpowering scent of alcohol compounds that promise to exfoliate you of the insurmountable…dirt. What an inadequate word to describe an object of a lifetime of inexplicable and inconvenient fear.
But it's not just that. There are the ticks. Nobody wants to know what lurks behind that slightly fidgety, but still apparently normal exterior; fearful they’d see that borderline crazed part of themselves they try to bury every morning before they walk out into the world. They graciously ignore, and discount your ‘quirks’. Because that nervous tick in the forehead is actually familiar to some; as is that compulsive adjusting and readjusting of the left shoulder. They’ve been through that multiple hand washing phase, at one point or the other. It happens, and they indulge you.
Yet what they do not know is that for you, it’s not just a cute phase. It is as permanent as the DNA running in your veins. It is not just a small, borderline crazed part of yourself that you shed when walking into public, and resume in privacy. It’s running through your body, every second of every conversation, and it is exhausting. Well-intentioned but clueless words of advice follow you--self control, self discipline, self control. You can do it, you're told, like empty good luck wishes before a competition you know you're going to lose.
Self control. If only.