Me: “Sometimes when my horoscope is really good I don’t allow myself to believe it.”
My 20-year-old daughter: “Mom, you are the most neurotic person I know.”
That’s an actual conversation that took place in my kitchen this morning.
And it wasn’t an unusual one.
I am indeed quite neurotic, especially when it comes to fears and superstitions. I know, for instance, that the likelihood of my being struck by lightning is very small, yet if I’m outside during a thunderstorm I can barely control my panic till I make it safely indoors. This, despite the fact that my best friend Jorie often reminds me, “Jennifer, you’re not special enough to get hit by lightning.” Same goes for being bit by a rabid bat. Or getting crushed by a falling tree limb. You get the picture.
But perhaps my biggest neurotic bugaboo is the phenomenon known as “jinxing.” I firmly believe that you can destroy the prospect of a good thing’s happening or ruin a string of good luck simply by acknowledging that good thing or good luck out loud, or even just in your mind. Allowing myself to believe that the wonderful experiences promised in this morning’s horoscope might actually transpire would be a surefire way to prevent them from doing so. Or at least that’s the way my mind works.
Of course I apply this philosophy, such as it is, to my life with multiple sclerosis. I can’t let myself fully enjoy my symptom-free stretches, because somewhere deep inside I think that acknowledging my symptom-free-ness will automatically bring symptoms on. And I never allow myself to contemplate life too far into the future, because, well, that just seems like asking for trouble.
I’m always warning myself and others not to “jinx it.” Or, after the fact, saying, “Well, now you’ve gone and jinxed it.” It’s not a rational way to go through life, for sure, but it’s served me well so far….
Darnit! I hope I haven’t just jinxed it!