When I was almost 6 years old, my father died in a car crash. It was the early 60’s, so back then people didn’t really worry about the effects of trauma on children. “Children are resilient” and “They’ll bounce back” were the accepted sagacity of the day; so children, like me, were left to their own devices to try and make sense of things like life and death and loss of control.
Soon after my father's death, strange little obsessions started coming out of me. The first was what I called “circle drawing” in which I would draw thousands of tiny circles on notebook paper—perfect little rows of ‘o’s’, front and back. I would then number each page and put them neatly away in a binder. I never knew how many of those circles I “needed” to draw each day; I just kept going until my brain said, “Okay, you’re finished with your work” and then I could go outside and play like all the normal kids.
Along with the circle drawing, other habits started to emerge. If I sneezed, I had to say, “bless me” over and over—sometimes dozens of times--until my brain told me I was blessed. If I coughed, I had to say, “Excuse me” in the same manner. Repetition was extremely important to me, as was organizing. All my stuffed animals had a specific place in my room and had to be lined up perfectly at all times. And I was the bossiest child you can imagine on the playground—that annoying kid who organized all the games, and made sure everyone’s Monopoly money was neatly stacked.
I drove my poor little sister insane…
When I shared these oddities with my family at the dinner table one night, everyone laughed. No one back then knew anything about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.). Instead, all of us—myself included--simply thought I was just a very, very strange little girl.
The reason I’m baring my soul like this is because lately I’ve been asked about my past affiliation with the Democrat Party. Everything about liberalism goes against almost all of my core values and principles—so what was it that originally drew me over to the left?