wings and things


on December 8, 2012

Tomorrow is the 9th of December and I have decided that, in order to combat the rut I am in, I will do everything in nines – 9 household jobs, 9 photos for Anthony, a 9×9 walk up and down our long driveway to begin getting fit again, 9 emails to those I’ve lost touch with, 9 blogposts (that’s a joke), 9 hugs for Ants when I see him in the morning, 9 hugs for Ming if he tolerates it, and 9 new thoughts/resolutions.

Lately I have been reading about autism and Asperger’s, not for any reason except that I happened to borrow three books about this syndrome and I became enthralled. No, I do not have autism, however I can definitely relate to the number obsession that some people suffer/embrace, and some of what I have read makes sense of what I was like as a child.

I always had to count my steps and couldn’t bear odd numbers, so walking to school I would always make sure that, between each bit of footpath, just before the crack, I would do either 2 or 4 steps, never 3 or 5. And, from my bedroom door to my bed, I always had to make sure that I took 6 or 8 steps, never 5 or 7.  If I made a mistake, I would get out of bed and retrace my steps to make it right.

This kind of thing (which I kept secret as a child) is a form of OCD – obsessive, compulsive disorder – and I happened upon an article recently that described my childhood behaviour in those terms. I found this extremely comforting and began to read more about OCD. It was a bit of a shock to find that some of my other weird childhood thoughts and habits were actually quite common and, in fact, quite normal in the OCD context.

Was this obsession with even numbers an attempt to make sense of a world that I found so uneven? I don’t know. I was adored by my parents and I adored them too, but I was plagued by uncertainty, anxiety and the very definite sensation that I was abnormal, which lasted well into my teenage years.

And now? The challenge of tomorrow’s 9 frightens me but compels me to get over this uneven number fear. I have to do it. I will do it, and my score will be 9/10. I’ll make sure of that!


46 responses to “Nine

  1. neve16 says:

    I like even numbers too;)

  2. annotating60 says:

    Look at it this way–after all the things you’ve had to do, this may be the easiest. At least it only involves you overcoming yourself.>KB

  3. Louise G. says:

    So… because I like to help my friends…. here’s a thought… you could wish me Happy birthday 9 times tomorrow…. just sayin’….. 🙂

    PS — I like Annotating60’s comment -about getting over ourselves — so true! 🙂

  4. susielindau says:

    Cool! Good luck to you Julie! It may feel weird and off balance, but I know you can do it!

  5. You always start my morning off with a thought, tear or a really great giggle. You make me want to get on my computer every morning just to see what you are up too. Morning Jules

  6. bulldogsturf says:

    Wow now you have me thinking back to see if I had any such thoughts… I know I never stood on a crack in the floor and often did a shuffle to get back in pace… but I don’t recall counting steps or worrying if they were odd or even… Julie … stop discovering these things, I’m finding out about myself and maybe I don’t want to… good luck with it… 9 hugs and ( kisses for Ant, now that I like…

  7. It must feel very strange to have found out there was a reason for your ‘quirks’ for not thinking of a better word …but after you were an adult. It likely would have caused you less anxiety knowing there was a reason for some of your feelings…Diane

  8. Odd is just another word for unique!

  9. Julie–do NOT forget to listen to The Beatles today….#9…..9 times 😉

  10. That should make for an interesting blog post. By the way, I saw Oliver Sacks in your tags. Have you read his new book? I haven’t – yet.

  11. cecilia says:

    A fun concept though!! Don’t you just love finding out crazy is actually quite common!!

  12. viveka says:

    Julie, nine seems to be a number for you … I like number 9. This with 9 thoughts … I think I will have problems with – they will all be used up before I stepped out bed. 999999999 is more like it.

  13. adinparadise says:

    Alexander Pope once said, “Order is Heaven’s first law.” I remember reading once that nine is a very powerful number, and represents attainment, satisfaction, accomplishment, and our success to achieve an influence over our circumstances. Ever since then, I always do my exercise repetitions in 9’s instead of 10’s. 😆

  14. tersiaburger says:

    Julie you may as well have fun with numbers….
    9 in numerology terms represents on the positive side: Giving, Humanitarian, Selfless, Sophisticated, Idealistic, Creative, Expressive and on the negative side: Drama Queen, Dissatisfied, Unrealistic, Impractical, Blaming, Egotistical, Ungrateful, Moody

  15. I think many of us have some form of OCD I know I do I like even numbers as well and like to have things in order from either smallest to largest or largest to smallest but if say the smalles item is in the middle it will bother me no end till I fix it. Took me years to get use to letting other people hang my washing on the line as they don’t do it the way I like it, hubby pegs clothes out like a man………………wonder why that is………….lol

  16. bluebee says:

    You are not alone, Julie. I think these sorts of behaviours are fairly common in anxious children – I did a lot of magical thinking as a child ( but grew out of it. To all those nines – just say nein! 🙂

  17. Your post has me thinking back to my childhood and counting, I don’t remember counting while walking but I distinctly remember always counting stairs. I think that even numbers seemed more trustworthy when I was little, that’s the impression that I get when I pierce the fog. I think that you will do fine with your challenge tomorrow, I have faith.

  18. victoriaaphotography says:

    I am really curious now – I wonder what made you think you were abnormal.

    I used to have the odd thought that way. We have Aspergers in our family and I certainly recognise some of those traits in myself.

    But I like to think you (and I) are unique (& special), not abnormal.

    • jmgoyder says:

      I think we are all a mixture of various traits – some genetic, some environmental. The normal/abnormal delineation doesn’t seem to be so rigid anymore which is a good thing.
      Yes, unique is a much better way of being!

  19. eof737 says:

    I like numbers so any would do… 😉

  20. It is kind of cool to look back and see the ways we found to cope with our personal society and realize now as adults that we did get getting through those years. Creative Coping Skills is how I saw my compulsive patterns.
    My step sons youngest child was dx with Autism & Aspergers at age 4, she is now 9 yrs old and one of the most remarkable children I know. She has the keen sense of those around her, often picking up things before even her parents do.
    She has her triggers,and ways to cope that let her feel like they work to bring her back into balance and become grounded again. She is in control of her environment.
    I am frankly so proud of her parents and who they allow her, to just be who she is. I have seen her v blossom with their unconditional; love and support. She is main streamed into public school doing fantastic.

    This was a great subject Jules, both in general terms and n in a personal sense~

  21. I think that’s a great idea! A mini-challenge. You should find 9 jokes and send them to me. 😀

    That’s optional, by the way.

  22. Ingrid says:

    I can relate to that … I always avoid walking on the cracks on the footpath (!) and always have to read number plates on vehicles and always have to count the ducks on the lake or pond. There are a few things like that … interesting isn’t it?

  23. FlaHam says:

    Julie, How are the 9’s working out for you, I’ve seen 9 comments, on this, but I haven’t seen 9 posts, I saw a chick, are the other 8 still hiding? All kidding aside, How did it go with the rest of your aforementioned 9’s. Your braver than me, I wouldn’t to do things in the 9’s, I can barely get past the 2’s. Take care and have a great 9 Consecutive minutes, hours, days, weeks, successful goals, and all the other things that give you pleasure. — Bill

  24. Judith Post says:

    This post is so cool! My sister has OCD–calls me to ask if she should wash her hands one more time, etc., but I never associated numbers with it. It’s so brave of you to embrace the number 9. I consider it my lucky number.

  25. mpejovic says:

    Very interesting challenge!
    I used to avoid walking on the cracks in the sidewalk, or tiles, anything with lines. I think it stopped when I got my first child and I was too busy mothering to pay attention to where I put my feet!

  26. pixilated2 says:

    I wondered why you named the pea chick Nine! How did you do with the rest of your list?

  27. I’ve found you via Tilly’s blog. I’ll continue to enjoy your posts.

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