When things tend to go well for me, I have a tendency to not trust it. I feel like if I give into this good, then the bad is just around the corner, waiting to take it from me. My life, this confusing and wonderful life, has taught me to never be too comfortable when things are quiet. Over the last couple of years, I just feel like it has been a struggle bus. No matter where I was or what I was doing or how hard I worked, there was always something mocking me from the corner, my own personal demon. Call it whatever you want but feeling like I have my shit together? It is a frightening thought. The moment I do, it all crumbles any way. I get it. That's a real Debbie Downer way to look at the world. I'm not a brooding teenager anymore. Those feelings have over excited dread should have left me years ago but still they stick. Here's the thing. I know exactly how to handle disappointment, failure. I am comfortable in that skin. It's like slipping on a robe at the end of the day and settling in on the couch to a nice movie. I know the waves of anxiety that will happen, the way they roll in quietly like thunder, knowing that once they start to roar, I can do nothing but ride it out. I snap my hair band at my wrist, close my eyes, and hang on. It's why I don't like roller coasters because that's what my anxiety feels like if that makes any sense... but I understand that chaos. I know exactly how it will go. I will panic. I will breathe. I will get up.
When things go right? What is that? I drove my car for the last few months with a muffler that I thought might fall off at any moment. I envisioned it. I figured out all the scenarios if it broke down on the highway or in town. I told myself how much panic I would allow and then how I would do what I had to do to fix it. I imagined the worst case scenario every time I got in the car to drive to work, to the store, to my coffee shop, fully expecting to not make it my destination. I told myself that it would take millions of dollars to have her fixed because I prepare myself for the worst at all times. But you know what? I always got to where I was going. The explosions that my runaway imagination created never happened. And to get her fixed was far less then a million dollars. This behavior isn't a new thing for me. I think even when I was a kid I always thought the worst. I understand in my adult hood where this mentality came from but I have never understood why I was always such a nervous kid. As an adult, that's all my life has been, one struggle after another, one anxiety inspired panic attack after another, because the demon in the corner mocking me has always been there. So many things in my life have been taken away from me, I guess I just got used to things not staying. I started to assume that everything was a passing thought and those thoughts became comfortable. Don't become too attached. They may feel good right now but it all turns sour eventually.
If you knew me, I don't know if you would necessarily see any of that. I try not to put that out there in the world but the older I become, the more honest I want to be. I believe in love, in goodness, in kindness but I have a very clear view of all those things as well. Human nature inspires all sorts of behaviors, not all good even if intentions are in the right place. We could be best friends today but I know eventually life will present different paths. And I feel like it took me a long time to get that, to forgive that. Here we give our hearts to each other, bare our secrets but when life presents itself we are going to follow our own stars. I took so personally at times, thinking that it was me they just didn't like any more. Why bother getting attached to people who will never return it to you? For a long time, I didn't. I kept myself at a distance, safe from the abandonment that I knew was inevitably coming. The people around me would at some point become those car explosions my head created. I look back at all the people that I once knew, the good and the bad, the ones that hurt and the ones that lifted me up. I think about my father and how he's been gone for so long, how my mother is getting older. I smile at my husband, so thankful that this man taught me that this anxiety won't kill me unless I let it. And then my kid, this beautiful little teenage monster that I created. I look at her and worry and see the worst case scenarios all around her. I look at her and snap my hair band around my wrist and let myself worry but I know that once the thunder goes by, that kid is going to be just fine. She will leave me but it's not because I have done something wrong. She will leave me because she's got stars to chase and I want her to catch all of them.
Someone asked me the other day how were my things? I laughed. If I'm being honest, right now they are fine. My car is fixed. My kid is finding her footing. I've found a new focus in my art and writing. We're finally making some headway out of this financial hole we fell in. As I write these words, my head is already bracing for it all to fall apart. How dark, right? Why can't I just take a moment and enjoy this? Because the reality of me is this. The demon that hangs out in my corner, mocking me, will always mock me but I don't know if it is really a bad thing. For every great thing in my life, I feel so incredibly grateful. For every kind word that someone gives, I cherish completely. I love these moments when it feels calm, sitting on a porch on a breezy summer afternoon. You close your eyes and just feel that breeze brush against your cheek. I hold onto these moments so tightly because the reality of this life? Well, the reality is that soft wind can turn at any moment. Life is fleeting and cruel and incredibly unpredictable but in that chaos there is beauty. I know that this way of thinking, about sitting in the dark and feeling comfortable in the doom sounds like a horrible way to live but there is a balance. I can take the struggles that I internally face and string together words. I can take that pain, that loneliness that sometimes paralyzes me and create an emotionally charged drawing. Life will not go the way we expect it, good or bad. There will be explosions and rainbows and showers in the middle of a sunny day. I am not ashamed of my anxiety, of worst case scenario thoughts any more in this life. In a way, it has been the best way to keep my anxiety under control. Think it, feel it, and let it go. The demon in my head he's not as scary as he used to be.