The other evening, I was at my local grocery store. Zipping in and out of isles, grabbing a couple of groceries that I needed for the next day. Once I had everything, I headed to the check-out line.

I chose a line with one man in front of me. He already had all his items neatly placed on the conveyor belt. There were twelve loaves of white bread, two across and six rows down. Each loaf was tucked securely into its plastic sleeve and placed so concisely. So perfect in fact that it looked as though he placed each with a ruler. The space in between the loaves were all the same as well. Perfection.

I felt as though I was looking at a piece of fine art, painted by Andy Warhol, about nutrient weak bread and commercialism.

Looking through my eyes, with OCD as my filter, I began to think. Did this man have something inside of him that made him purchase exactly 12 loaves? Did he place them on the conveyor belt in this rigid way for any reason? Maybe to stop the chaos in his head, if only for a moment of peace. Maybe these loaves were magical, and this stranger was preventing a tragedy from happening in a futuristic world. Did he have something nagging at him, a voice of a monster, telling him that the only way to make his world temporarily right was to do this? Was he stopping a future catastrophe? Maybe eliciting this much rigidity will make him feel temporarily forgiven for his numerous human flaws.

Was he quite possibly a well-adjusted, normal kind of guy? Or was he intentionally and methodically trying to get himself out of pain by controlling this squishy, nutrient-lacking white loaf army below? Maybe it was nothing. Maybe I was projecting my own OCD monster onto him and his actions. My gut said otherwise.

I wanted to look this man in the eyes and say that I was sorry, sorry if something was controlling him. If I could swish the pain out and away from him I would. I would tell him that he is living in a false reality, one built by a malicious trickster. I would set him free if I could.

Wishing you progress and peace of mind.

If you wish to communicate with me further my email is

Thanks for being on this journey with me.
Kirsten Pagacz
“Leaving the OCD Circus”
Available for OCD wellness coaching, speaking engagements and book signing events.  Buy my book here.