This is the first of a mini-series (of two) of guest posts this week while I’m on holiday. I’m honored to be hosting Alexandra Franzen today — besides being a profound wordsmith and generous dinner guest, she also values thank-you notes. Thanks, Alex.


It was your classic girl-meets-doc, doc-prescribes-drugs love story.

The doc gives me a double-label: anorexic and obsessive compulsive.

The doc recommends twice-weekly therapy for the eating disorder, pills for the OCD.

Day one: I take the pills, have a heinous reaction, black out & tumble down the stairs.

I decide the pills aren’t for me. So I throw them away. Byeeee.

Oh, and — I was 15.

Flash-forward nearly 15 years.

Hi. Hello. My name is Alexandra and I’m proud to say:

I recovered from anorexia over a decade ago. I am healthy, happy & frankly, kinda foxy. As for my obsessive-compulsive tendencies?

Well — I never recovered. Didn’t need to. Instead: I did something kinda radical.

I decided that my ‘disorder’ was a superpower — an irreplaceable gift. So rather than try to ‘cure’ myself, I simply figured out how to use my powers for art, for clarity, for love… for good.

Here’s how my OCD makes the world a brighter + more beautiful place:

  • That sloppy stack of magazines sitting on your coffee table? If I’m invited over for tea, they’re going to be transformed into a symmetrical fan of glossy periodicals, within minutes. And no, you can’t stop me. And no, I’m not sorry.
  • That email you received from me? It’s been lovingly, yes, even ‘obsessively’ refined. No word out of place. No mumbling or bumbling around to the point. As lean as it can possibly be. Because brevity delights my brain. You are welcome.
  • That house you asked me to take care of, while you’re out of town? It will never, ever burn down. The doors will be latched & seventeen-tuple-checked. Your fridge will be disinfected — its contents, quite possibly color-coded. But I won’t re-fold your clothes. Unless you want me to. (Please say you do.)
  • That conversation we’re having? I’m soaking in every word you say, and ‘compulsively’ finding bright spots, subtleties, unspoken connections. When I echo back what you’ve just said — except simpler, tighter, cleaner, polished like a pearl — you will gasp. And maybe cry. (So will I.)
  • I really, really want to add a fifth bullet point to this list, because I can’t stand numbers that end in 4 — and 1s, 5s and 10s just feel correct — but sometimes I like to play little experiments with myself. Challenge my impulses, just to prove that ‘I’ am in charge, not my OCD. So no fifth point. Just four. God, it feels wrong. OK. Moving on.

Messes of the world — I am here to make you gleam.

Traumas & dramas — I am here to envelop you in ease.

Misunderstandings & muddled language — I am here to strip away the sludge, with one obsessive brain, ten compulsive fingers, and a not-so-disorderly devotion to simplicity.

Hi. Hello. My name is Alexandra.

I have OCD — and it’s one of my best things about me. It’s true.

Try not to be jealous.

You can be ‘crazy’, too.

ALEXANDRA FRANZEN writes about how to be a better writer. Which really means she writes about being understood. Which really means she writes about love.

Her tips on clear, persuasive, positivity-charged communication have been spotlighted on The Daily Love, The Daily Muse, MindBodyGreen, Fast Company, Forbes, The Huffington Post and in several books. (Including one of her own.)

Learn how to write with style, simplicity + astonishing ease at