This is so stupid and embarrassing. I apologize to everyone in advance.
Every four years I go a little bit crazier than usual. WORLD CUP, YEAH! I always root for Germany (jersey, small flag, drunken singing, etc) and while it's lovely it exaggerates my ethnic anxieties. I'm not German nationally, I'm just German-American and German-speaking, but it's pretty important to me. Important enough that my OCD attaches to it pretty badly and screws with my head.
In high school there were a few neo-Nazis scattered around and they all but drove me insane with worry that I would be associated with them. I was obnoxiously good at German in school, it was easily my best and favorite subject, I was in German Club and spent my free time reading Goethe and Schiller. And I probably spent two to three hours a day, every day, for all of junior and senior year, obsessing about Nazism and neo-Nazis and whether or not I was morally sound. It was scrupulosity for an atheist time in my life. It didn't help that I actually did get hurtful, rude comments on several occasions, always from other white folk. Every time I would get all excited about the German team in 2006 I would always freak out afterwards, becoming completely ashamed and terribly anxious. It doesn't help that I have yet to meet another (American, at least) person with this specific kind of anxiety. I hate feeling like "the only one".
During the Women's World Cup in 2008 I had a smaller, similar freakout, when I would get up at 2AM PST and don my Germany jersey and sneak up to the TV room with a few other international students. Our RA was Israeli and I was so paranoid she was going to "catch" me and flip out. It was ridiculous. Again, the only person who gave me shit was a WASP England fan and that was mostly because the German team trounced England and they were bitter. Again I would celebrate and then feel like shit and spend the next day obsessing about the you-know-whos and whether or not I was somehow secretly an evil, fucked-up person for being proud… ABOUT FOOTBALL.
So now it's World Cup time again and I'll be breaking my jerseys back out for Sunday's match against Australia (and hopefully four more weeks of matches after that). I'm just bracing for the obsessions to start again. There's like a Pavalovian association in my brain now; football = ethnic guilt. Already I'm having intrusive thoughts and worrying about my gut dislike of the Vuvuzela (stupid crap like, Do I hate it because it's goddamn annoying? Or do I hate it because I secretly hate African people?!). Why can't I just calm down and enjoy the games like everyone else? It's gotten to the point where I am so worried about these offensive thoughts that I'm actually worried that I might be offending people with my offense at the offensiveness… if that makes any sense at all. I just want to root for my grandmother's country. I'm not a neo-Nazi, and I find it absolutely horrible when people assume that German = Nazi, so why does my own brain always leap to that conclusion?
UGH. OCD is so awful. It can ruin anything. Whatever your passion is, it gets under your skin and inhabits it. I really hope that CBT/ERP works for me in this because I really don't want to do this same exact dance for the rest of my life. Of course racism is an absolutely important issue in this world, and everyone should think about it and analyze themselves and their possible biases… but feeling like the scum of the earth for NO REASON just over football and one's favorite language? I don't think that's healthy… 🙁