Blank Slate

photo by Dave Goodwin of Green Doors Studio

Today I cleaned a bunch of my white boards from … I dunno … way back in 2011. They had projects on them like “Christmas photoshoot for CD” and “write Christmas piece for local wind ensemble: Due Sept 25th.” The first one I definitely completed as the CD was successfully released and the copies are collecting dust in my closet. It was a good shoot though. Dave is really talented. The second deadline I definitely missed.

So here I am, starting over again. New studio. New house. New support network. New opportunities. I’ve started over more times than I can count. I wish I had told myself that life was just like that back in high school. I feel like I might have been more open to trying new things. I feel like everyone should just … chase the experience. Nothing is permanent and the worst thing that could happen from chasing an intimidating gig or goal is you fail completely and learn something. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from starting over so many times, it’s this: learning things is worth it.

So if it’s worth it, why am I always so paralyzed whenever I even think about researching how to successfully start a Patreon or trying to record something new? Sure. I may need to sit down with the instruction manual to my fancy camera for an hour or so. I may need to (ugh) watch some YouTube tutorials on video editing. I may need to swallow the panic and actually sign up for a service that advertises my private teaching for me. But I can’t. I freeze.

If learning things is worth it there’s something else underneath. Several of the “build good habits and organize your life” self-help books and blogs discuss the matter of obstacles. Identify what’s in the way of your success and remove the obstacle. It’s not really a fear of failure as failure is merely an avenue to learning. Honestly, I think my big fear is that no one will care. There are 186 fans on my Facebook that show me that I’m not completely off the radar. And, hey, I can’t even argue that those followers are only my family since my family really isn’t all that big. But, on the emotional intensity level of a Gen Z with FOMO, the idea that I’ll throw something out into the world only to experience … silence …………………..

“The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.”

—Eli Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Human Rights Activist

I can’t stand the silence.

(Great. Now I have one line of a song stuck in my head on loop and I have no idea what the song title is or who sang it. Just a vague sense that it’s from the 90s or aughts and has a male lead singer. That’s going to keep me awake tonight.)

Speaking of songs, there’s that country song by…. Reba? No. Martina Mcbride.
You can pour your soul out singing
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway

Now I have that song stuck in my head.

Anywaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-ay! (haha, I’m funny) If you are looking for something that means a tonne but doesn’t take a huge amount of effort, drop a reminder in your phone to regularly interact with an artist or a musician or a craftsperson you admire. Trawl through their social media sprinkling likes. Share some of their posts on your own social medial. Send them a short message about how something they did was meaningful to you and thank them for sharing. Kids, we legit live off of those interactions. And, if you can afford it, buy from these people instead of a big chain store. The Waltons can live without you. The 20-something kid trying to sell paintings out of his bedroom cannot. The 30-something mother of 3 that’s homeschooling because of the pandemic and making jewelry in her closet cannot. The 40-something divorcee trying to start over that’s selling quilts and doll clothes cannot. You get the point. These people need you.

If it helps you to remember, put a little cape on your toothbrush, because you’re our hero. Your interaction gets us through the day.

New Normal

What even is normal anymore? I’ve seen so many posts discussing this in light of the current Presidency and staff or in light of living in a COVID-19 world. We discussed it in depth after 9/11 when I was in college. I have to admit, it’s wacky listening to those younger than myself criticize a pre-9/11 story revived from the depths of someone’s forwarded emails. They say “that’s not even possible because airports don’t work that way” and I see the second plane hit the tower in my head again. I just kind of… check out… right there.

I can relate, little fox.
pic from Reddit

The thing is, we’ve been encountering “new normals” all our lives and I want to maybe take some of the scary out of it. When we went from staying in the same classroom all day to changing classes, that was a new normal. When we started dating we suddenly had to wonder if eating tuna for lunch would be too gross for kissing later. New normal. Some of us got braces and had to brush or mouthwash after eating. Temporary, but still new, new normal. After a diagnosis of a medical issue- new normal. Someone we love dies- new normal. Get married or move in with someone- new normal coupled with the discovery that they are not nearly as normal as you imagined… and maybe you aren’t either…

Humans are remarkably adaptable when you get right down to it. But there’s this weird thing where we don’t talk about it much. It’s like taxes. When you reach the time where you need to start doing them you’re expected to either just figure it out on your own or to pay someone else to do the hard parts for you. (Seriously, tho, capitalism has really schnookered us into this. Taxes do not have to be this hard. There’s an issue worth voting on.) So because we’re out here just slugging it out most of the time, thinking we really should have learned it along the way and wondering which day we slept through class that they taught this particular thing, I want you to take a well deserved moment to gain perspective.

Especially for those of us who are creatures of habit, adaptation is hard. All those earmarks of success that tell us we’re doing ok are suddenly missing. Maybe you can’t even handle what you used to consider the most basic human functions. Maybe, even though you could handle those functions, the loss of your routine is making it difficult for you to even remember what those were. (This was particularly true during the wild and wooly shutdown for COVID-19 earlier this year- an endless sea of Saturdays…) Whatever is standing between you and what you remember as normal…just set it down and remember the fox above.

What is he doing? Himbs best. What iz u doin? Ur best.

I want you to remember that when you’ve walked into the same room for the umpteenth time and realized that you’ve just walked a circuit between 3 rooms for the last 10m because you were trying to get something done and just ran into a series of obstacles. I want you to hear it in your head when you drop the toilet paper roll and it rolls across the room and out of reach of your crutches. I want you to think of it when you run your tongue across your teeth and feel the fuzz (you know what I’m talking about). I want you to replace your anxiety and despair in this moment with a fox meme. Because you are himbs and you are doing himbs best.

That’s enough. Your best is enough. It’s one of the things I really love about actual Japanese flavored anime: “I’ll do my best” is all over it. Even when someone fails, the important question is “did you do your best?” Hold onto that. Wallow in it. Marinade if you prefer. Because your best is enough. Even if today’s best generates less desirable results than yesterday’s.

And if you’ve got someone in your life that is a “fixer,” you feel free to tell them to put the Coldplay down and, if they just REALLY need to be that guy, this tree is the best audience to apply that song to. There is a short in his wiring somewhere and I need his lights to guide me home. If you can’t send them my way, send them to a local spay and neuter center. It’s not creepy at all to sing, “I will tryyyyyyyyyy to fix you” there. As for you, you don’t need someone hovering and overwhelming you with suggestions. It’s ok to set boundaries on how and when someone is allowed to help you, even if the how is “don’t” and the when is “never.” Your life. Your choice.

Time for me to close. I cannot tell y’all how incredibly peaceful it was to log in and not have a bazillion spambot comments on my Phys Rep Wings tutorial post. I had to turn off comments on that post entirely to shut the bot down. I hope someone spills Coke on its motherboard.

So if you’re trawling through my posts and have a question or comment on that particular post, feel free to comment elsewhere and I’ll get back to you. Sorry for the inconvenience. I didn’t need a medical dissertation posted one comment at a time and interspersed with ads for snake oil cremes and what is most likely sugar pills on my tutorial.

Sleep well, kids! Mama Goat is hopefully back more regularly for good.

2020 Just…Why?

This is a pretty accurate depiction of my status this year…

I cannot even begin to properly express how I feel about this year. My SO and I went through the heartbreaking and incredibly intense emotional experience that is house hunting. A tornado passed through right behind where I worked and near the location of a home we had under contract. COVID-19, enuf said there. Navigating unemployment. Coming back from unemployment to a retail world changed completely by COVID-19. Having just cleaned up that mess to be sent home from work and be out of work for approximately 2 months culminating in surgery. Coming back to work under post surgery restrictions. Trying to clean up that mess while finalizing our house shopping because we actually lost the one near the tornado path due to my SO’s house not selling in a timely fashion (terrible realtor). Finding out my place of employment was being sold to a multi-location and profit-minded company that had no idea what I did in my job position and refused any and all offers to provide them with a job description, statistics on volume and profitability or even to walk someone through it on the phone. Realizing that I’ve now had 4 medical professionals tell me to quit this job for health reasons in the last year. Quitting (I HATE quitting jobs and have rarely done it.) The closing day for our house moving back one day at a time for an entire week. The housewarming for our house being moved as a result. Having to return the U-haul truck as a result. Having to reschedule the professionals that were moving my piano as a result. Finally having our housewarming party and being surprised with a proposal from my SO (I said yes ­čśë ). Rescheduling EVERYTHING to get the house set up. Spending the main focus of my life for the next 3 weeks moving…and I’m still not done yet.

Y’all… I am TIRED…

Meanwhile,

  • I’ve discovered Last Week Tonight.
  • I’ve been able to play my custom piano for the first time since 2014. (It sounds terrible because it doesn’t get tuned until next week, but I can play it.)
  • I’ve finally begun teaching private music lessons again (virtually)
  • I’ve had the chance to just sit and watch the pets enjoy the screened in back porch we worked so hard to acquire for them.
  • I’ve very nearly gotten my gut to recover from pre-surgery testing.
  • I’ve been able to look at so many things from my previous way of life and just…let them go… because I don’t need them anymore.
  • We have a jetted tub, y’all, and it’s been so helpful for this healing process.
  • I have a partner that is actively encouraging me to rebuild my business, create an online store and set up a Patreon.
  • I finally feel like I have the time to be a person, not just a productivity machine.

So 2020 has definitely been terrifying with the virus and the protesting and the Us vs Themism that’s rampant right now, but it hasn’t been the worst year of my life. And I’m really grateful for that.

I miss expressing myself. I really don’t know that anyone is even reading this stuff, but I miss just being able to gather my thoughts on a subject and leave them here in this virtual box.

So here’s to getting back into costuming, quilting, cross-stitching and music. Basically, here’s to being a person again.

Temperature Quilt 2019 thru July

Arrive Alive

The touch, the feel of COVID
The terror of our lives….

I don’t think this is what Cotton had in mind

Furlough has got to be the strangest experience I’ve ever had. And I assure you that as an empath and a larper, I have had some strange experiences. It’s days full of “what should I do next” followed by either a thousand ideas and no energy, a clear thought pattern and no idea where to start, or the inability to think at all and the mind just goes blank. I am very confused by these weird posts where people are “gotcha” blasting anyone that isn’t being hugely productive and living their furlough to the minute with hobbies, clearing task lists and accomplishments. They’re indicating that anyone who isn’t high level achieving is lazy and undisciplined because now we literally have all the time in the world. But I think they’re forgetting something really important: furlough is not a vacation.

I’m not ok. No one I know is ok, and, honestly, the longer the shutdowns for the novel coronavirus continue, the more personal it becomes that, for some of us, merely surviving the experience is an accomplishment. And I don’t mean that in the “hur dur, I’m so inept” self depreciation for humor’s sake kind of way. I am realizing more and more that lofty goals in a time of uncertainty are just not a thing that will happen for me. My mental health can’t do it. I’m having to come to a place of acceptance at the end of isolation week 5 that being fully functional for 3 days a week is my normal. And I’m pretty far leaning into the introvert side of the spectrum.

The last time I felt like this I was unemployed and the ennui was absolutely making me feel brainless, helpless and hopeless (albeit neither friendless nor living in Greenland).

There’s no set schedule. You go to bed on time and stare at the ceiling for hours. You accidentally sleep through your morning alarm the next morning as a result. You make coffee and forget to eat breakfast. You know you should be doing something but can’t remember what. You miss a dose of your medication. You clean the rabbit litter but not the cat’s. You start feeling like Robin Williams in that Jumanji meme.

And that’s the introverts, who were basically born for this sort of society. How are the extroverts doing? Forgeddaboudit. They’re DYING to have in person human interaction. The Pokemon GO nerds (who are the largest group of extroverts I’m actually keeping tabs on during SIP) are completely unsettled by how distinctly … quiet … it is when they go hunting. They’re trying to figure out how to raid with proper social distancing. Can you in person battle a trainer that’s standing 6ft away? You sure can’t understand what anyone’s saying through their appropriately nerdy themed homemade mask. My party friends are twitchy to go get a beer, have a birthday, go bowling, go out to eat, take a pottery class…. just about ANYTHING that will get them in the presence of a group of people. Even if they’re essential workers and still seeing a wider variety of humans every day than those of us Sheltering In Place, somehow it’s still not enough. There aren’t enough cars on the roads. The bars are all closed. The parades were all cancelled and, in our area, even the public parks are closed. Don’t even get me started on the people that needs their sportsball to survive. It’s like making Nana miss her stories. And don’t you DARE make Nana miss her stories. It’s a serious world ender.

Back to vacation. Vacations are a finite period of time wherein you and your place of employment have agreed that you will not come in to work and you can do basically whatever you like instead. If you want to watch Netflix in your boxers while eating cereal at 3pm and scrolling through Hulu on your phone, they tell me that’s what vacation is for. If you want to build a deck, have at it. If you want to write a novel, good luck. Because it’s a finite period of time we find it more acceptable to accomplish or to not accomplish as you will. People tend to not be very judgey about whether you had a productive vacation or not.

Furlough, on the other hand, is vague. It’s nebulous. It’s got a lot of financial worries and regularly changing rules that are sapping some of our time and energy. No one planned to get furloughed. No one planned to be suddenly unemployed. Furlough is defined by uncertainty. Vacation happens on purpose.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? An itty bitty tiny change in the perspective of things. But, like the difference between a butt dial and a booty call, perspective changes EVERYTHING.

So I want you to know something:

If all you manage to do this furlough is come through it alive and relatively healthy, you’ve accomplished enough.

Stressing about why you can’t seem to motivate yourself into anything “productive” is going to tax your immune system and rob you of the chance to find what baseline living looks like for you. Everyone should know their bare minimum. Finding out during furlough is enough. Have a bit of extra energy one day? Cool. Do something extra. But don’t beat yourself up if you wake up the next morning with all the ambition of a salted slug. Let’s take one from the incredibly corny highway campaigns:

Since I’ve Been Gone

I knew I’d been gone for quite some time, but I had completely forgotten about how much volume a set of spambots can put out in a short period of time. 13,000+ comments deleted later, boy howdy. Just…boy howdy.

Gizmo felt sorry for me

I think the first misunderstanding was an algorithm whoops. Russian spambots obviously do NOT speak nerd. I have an article where I discussed my use of a tutorial to make wings for my LARP harpist, Winter. So the Russians thought that Phys Rep had something to do with being a physician and I came back to a series of comments that were akin to the medical declarations of a doctoral thesis. And they were written in Botlish. My people, it was very, very bad.

So I started playing a game. I searched every comment with the word “physician” and marked all those comments as spam. Then I started pulling other specific words. It passed the time. After it got below 3,000 comments words like “doctor” and “pulmonary” weren’t going to work anymore… because so many of the comments WERE IN RUSSIAN.

  • A few more reflections on spambot comments:
    • No, I will not write your paper for you
    • Did you really think that insulting my writing style was a good way to get me to hire you to edit my content? Also, there’s several grammatical errors in your copy/paste critique. Just in case you care.
    • No, Kristina, I am not the man you are looking to date/smash/boink/hook-up/skype-sex/whatever.
    • No, I do not need viagra, cibalis, or any of the other weird namebrand drugs you want to link here
    • Why are you critiquing the YouTube video in an article with no YouTube video
    • “I really liked the content of this article. It was well argued and had a good opening statement and summary at the end.” Wut. Even.
    • “I have been following you for a while now and I read you to my son over my morning coffee every morning. I guess I will finally have to subscribe because I love your content so much.” Let’s be real here: I don’t post that much content.
    • “Click this link.” No. Just… No.
    • And what’s with the weirdly specific porn flavors?
    • And can we take a second to reflect on the fact that the bot OBVIOUSLY thinks I’m male. Because the abbreviation “Phys” is in the title of the article. And, obviously, all Physicians are male…
    • To the bot that described itself as “a beautiful 21 year old girl with long black hair”: Call me. … Just kidding.

So if you’re entertaining the idea of starting a blog, just keep in mind that you’re going to have to check into it regularly to keep the spambots cleared out. Also, it’s a good idea to have your comments set up to “Approval Only.” Better yet, get someone else to moderate your comment section entirely. Because we all know the cardinal rule of the internet: NEVER READ THE COMMENTS.

It’s 10m to dinner.

The cat is calling and I must go…

Reboot

See no evil…

I didn’t die…and I missed you

I know it’s been a very long time since you saw me here. There’s so much I was unable to share with you. I moved. I’m about to move again. I fought depression, anxiety, allergies, physical injuries that chained into one another and lasted for a year and a half with some still-lingering symptoms. I fought writer’s block. I wrote. I hated it and never posted. I fought impostor syndrome. I discussed the pros and cons of writing a blog with my mother, who is both keen on and terrified of starting her own. I entered a relationship. I watched a friend of mine begin a Patreon and slowly grow his following (so proud of him). I lost what I thought was a solid relationship with a convention I’ve been heavily involved in and dearly loved. I pulled side gigs. I started a year long quilting project for 2019 that is (not surprisingly) not finished yet, but taught me so much about small daily progress.

I’ve been medically prevented from playing the harp since October of 2018. It was like I died. And then I died again. And then I died some more. No one wants to say the injury is permanent. The word is carefully and daintily avoided. Every milestone: you should try again and see how your body reacts to the harp. Nearly every time the result was the same: I paid for 5, 10, 15 minutes with 1 or 2 weeks of constant pain. After developing a second sympathetic injury in January 2020, a doctor finally stopped pussyfooting around. If you want the pain to go away, you have to quit your job.

Was I relieved that I finally had a medical reason to leave and pursue something else? Was I terrified of job hunting again? Was I afraid I’d make everything monumentally worse if I went ahead and continued to work at my job while I searched for another? Did I even qualify for short term disability while I searched for something else? Was I worried about my clientele and the current disputes I was working on their behalf? The hands on repairs sitting in my queue that no one in the house but me was qualified to handle? Was I brave enough to imagine a world where I controlled my day and rose or fell on my own ingenuity, skill and determination?

It was a very confusing time for me. I hauled ass through St Valentine’s. It’d be too much of a lurch to leave before then. In March, the Coronaclosures began. I was furloughed during the first wave, having already been away from work for several days as I had become symptomatic for influenza the previous Saturday.

I have been in social isolation for 5.5 weeks. I can finally play the harp for about 45m with only minor issues the following 2 days. I’m finally able to build up my strength again. However, if I do anything akin to the benchwork I perform at my job, I go right back to nearly a week of recovery. My former occupational therapist said she thought the bar minimum time off bench that would be necessary for me was 6 weeks. She’d prefer 8. How unexpected to have a global pandemic provide me with just that reprieve.

So here I am, getting back my typing strength, considering subjects for future posts, and packing my house for the next move. I’ve missed you all terribly and am hoping that if I take anything away from this experience it will be:
1. Stretch your hands and arms every day. Especially if you work with them. Even when it’s something you consider simple like typing. You’ve only got one set and it ruins so many aspects of your life when they’re not properly respected.
2. No matter how hard I close my eyes, the reality isn’t going to go away. Not my pain. Not the injury causing it. Not the virus. Not the depression. Not the fears. It’s time to go back to taking life by the goat horns.

To Arrive

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I have arrived. It is an odd feeling, honestly, to have reached such an achievement at such a late point in my life, but I blame my somewhat nomadic lifestyle up to this point.

Today I successfully and completely confused someone with the word “pen”. I think he even unwittingly recited his actual pin number to me in response. I have lived in the south for almost ten years and it finally happened, people. Who knows what I might accomplish in another ten!?

I have also managed to acquire my first personally┬áprocured permanent residence. I have a cat. The dog is still alive and well, still helplessly adorable and still jealous as … a ridiculously jealous little dog can be. I am about halfway to two thirds of the way finished unpacking and am also about to pick up the venerable harp, hopefully to never set it down again. Please, dear Universe, don’t make me out to be a lyre.

I’m funny. Admit it.

I have obviously managed to set up my computer again as well. So while I’m swinging into the holiday season like George of the Jungle I’m also sitting at home practically giggling to myself because I’ve finally managed to achieve so much that was incredibly important to me. And because of those achievements I’m able to begin pursuing other achievements that were put on hold for so long, like pursuing music again, composing songs and writing this blog and getting back to my novel and making quilts and …

It’s a very exciting time, everyone. I’m so glad we’re all still around to see it.

When You Can’t Can’t Anymore

I fell off the face of the earth again. I’m sorry. My excuse this time? The same that it is every. single. time.

I was afraid.

IMG_20140628_171807

Anxiety has this horrible ability to get in the way of any and every daily function. It overtakes our priorities. It convinces us that we’re not up to the challenge.

Add depression and you might as well just crawl under the covers and never leave. That’s what your brain tells you. Not only is it all too big and overwhelming, but no one is ever going to appreciate your work. No one is ever going to like your results. No one is going to want your art or your music. Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah. It drones on in your head until, suddenly, you’re drowning. There’s a rational side of your brain back there tsking at you because it’s ridiculous. You have plenty of air. The dog and the cat are both cuddled up next to you as you make your way through an entire tray of Double Stuffed Oreos. You have a roof over your head you have managed to convince yourself to go to work every work day to pay for. There’s food in the cabinets.

But you’re still terrified.

Add social situations and then you pretty much wish you could just give up and die. People are hard. You keep hearing that you’ve offended someone or that they’re annoyed that you called out again this week because of a panic attack. You want to have people over because you’re much more comfortable in your space than you are in theirs, but the place is a wreck and, instead of cleaning, you’re glued to the bed or the couch, still eating those Oreos.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had weeks…months even, where I felt like if I moved I might fall off the earth. Everything was stressful. I was exhausted. Truly couldn’t keep my eyes open. Food was complicated. I ate like a 6 year old at a birthday party just so that I could say I had eaten something. Showers were stressful- am I going to accidentally cut myself with a razor again? Am I going to have a major allergy attack again? Should I plan to have an allergy attack? Should I get up earlier so I have time to have the allergy attack before I drive to work or should I take all my showers at night so that the physical weariness that follows an allergy attack will help me sleep through the night? Let’s not even get started on grocery shopping.

I used to be an honorary “member” of a local AA chapter. I drove a true member there 2-3xs a week because they’d lost their license for a term. They let me sit in and I’m going to tell you right now that some of the most valuable things I’ve ever learned in my life I learned from recovering alcoholics. Odd, since I’ve never been truly drunk. Tonight I’m sitting here, looking at the baby steps I made over the past year that have accumulated into such a huge difference in my life and it’s like I’m hearing them encourage one another around that table all over again. If you don’t think you can make it through the week, make it through today. If you don’t think you can make it through today, make it through the morning/afternoon/evening/night. If you don’t think you can make it through that. Make it through the next hour. Make it through the next 30 min. Make it through the next 10 min. Make it through the next 5.

I am still alive because I made it through quite a few 5 minutes in my lifetime. Now, I’m stepping it up. Instead of just existing for the next 5, I’m going to make something happen for the next 5. I’m going to clean a sink. I’m going to fold socks. That’s it. Just the socks. I’m going to clean out the kitty litter box. I’m going to put away 5 things. I think I’ve leveled up some way, because I look around my incredibly overwhelming and stressful apartment and I just can’t “can’t” anymore. I can’t handle another evening of just making it to the night so I can escape into the hopefully blissful darkness of sleep, only to awaken anxious the next morning because my apartment looks like a FEMA supported disaster area. There’s no room to have people over. There’s no time to go visit them because I’m coming home and fighting anxiety in an effort to clean it all up so I DO have room to have people over.

This is not a sustainable lifestyle.

I don’t want to miss out on the life I want and the things I want to achieve because I was afraid. It’s going to be hard. It already has been. But if I can go 5 weeks with less than 10g of sugar in my diet per day, I’m pretty sure I can wake up and choose that morning to get out of bed instead of hit “snooze”. If I can stay in a room where a man is yelling and throwing his arms around because he’s angry about something and I don’t run and I don’t flinch, I can choose to wash my dishes. If I can co-design/build a Wendigo costume for the local LARP, Badlands, in 6 weeks with a ridiculously low budget while working a full time job, I can choose to put away the laundry.

You have to remember that life is a series of choices.

Life is a series of choices. Choices have consequences. Are you genuinely exhausted or are you just really tired? There’s a difference. Get real with yourself and clean the toilet. Are you genuinely sick nauseated or are you anxious nauseated? There’s a difference and since you can’t really make the second go away maybe try washing 5 dishes instead of worrying about whether this nausea is going to get worse or better soon.

I suck at rebuilding my lifestyle. I’m not going to lie to you. But I wanted to post this to encourage you to make the choices. I wanted to do this together with you so neither of us have to do it alone. I want you to know that if you fail for 5 min you can win for the next 5. You can choose to not sink into that rut.

I want you to believe with me that it can be done.

Anxious

Someone please hug me
I can’t breathe
I’ve been drowning in nothing
For days

Everything’s fine
Nothing is wrong
Except this feeling I have
That I’m going to die

People are happy
They’re living good lives
There’s sunshine outside
And I am terrified

Of nothing
Nothing at all
Nothing I can put my finger on
And that scares me

More than any other reason
Possibly could
That this feeling is unfounded
And I cannot make it leave

Someone please hug me
I’m not ok
And I cannot solve the problem
Because there isn’t one.

This Is My Life

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Photo by Dave Goodwin of Green Doors Studio

 

I have to go home now because my dog needs let out.
I am afraid to go home because of what my mind will tell me when I get there.
I cannot go somewhere else because my dog needs let out.
I have been sitting in this parking lot for ten minutes.
This is life with anxiety.

I sit in my car in front of my house.
I cannot go in.
Now we both have to pee.

I cannot go in.
Life is made of choices.
I will go inside.
Maybe.
In a minute.

I try to go inside.
There are patches in the concrete of my porch where the paint is rubbed off.
I’m sure they happened long before I moved in.
Today they startle me.
I must have done something to cause them.
I unlock my door and go inside.

Everything is temporarily better.
My dog is happy to see me.
He hasn’t messed on the floor.
My housemate won’t be mad.
I don’t know why he gets so upset.
The dog uses puppy pads if he goes inside and the carpet was ruined long before I moved in anyway.

I am confused.
I was doing something.
I am standing here with clothes in my hand.
I have put down my bags.
I was going to pee.
I need to pee.
But I need to put away the things I have brought home from work.
I am frozen.
I cannot move.
My mind will not let me choose which I am to do first.

I am terrified.
A man’s voice yells at me from upstairs.
I have done something wrong.
I know not what.
He is angry.
I am unfrozen.
There are clothes in my hand.
They must go to… somewhere.
I wander into the bathroom, a slight scowl on my face.

I cannot remember why I am here.
In my daze and my fog my brain confuses my two purposes.
I almost put my clothes in the toilet.
At the last second I remember what I am meant to be doing.
At least I think I do.
There are clothes in my hand.
I put them in the hamper.
There is a man upstairs.
He sounded angry with me.
I should go see what it is I might have done.
I go upstairs.

I call as I go, trying to see if perhaps I imagined it all.
He has no reason to be angry with me.
There is no response.
I stand in the back room, confused.
There is a light on in the bedroom but no one answers my voice.
I am alone.
I don’t understand.
Was it all in my head?

There is no one in the lit bedroom.
I move to the living room, puzzled.
The front door is opened.
He re-enters the house.
Did you call for me?
No. Why would I do that?
He’s smiling.
It’s supposed to be a joke.
I want to cry.
It isn’t funny.
My brain is trying to make me understand that he isn’t angry.
Nothing is getting through.

I try to answer his questions.
I try to have normal conversation.
I keep getting lost.
My eyes won’t focus.
My throat is closing with tension.
Are you ok?
I don’t know how to answer this question.
Did I scare you?
Technically, no.
I disappear.

I open the computer.
I have to type.
I have to share, but I don’t know why.
No one wants to hear these things.
No one wants to read these words.
This poem started on Facebook.
People are checking in.
People need me to be ok.
I am not ok.
And I don’t know why.

He comes downstairs.
He is loud.
He is getting his laundry.
My dog barks.
My head hurts.
He is singing loudly and off key to make me smile.
My dog barks.
My head hurts.
He asks if there is anything he can do for me.
I want tea.
I never want tea.
He says I will have to be upstairs with pants on in ten minutes.
I’m not sure I can.
But I want tea.

As I type, my Facebook chimes
Over and over.
I am afraid to look.
Someone will be mean.
Someone will be mad.
Someone will tell me to suck it up.
Someone will be worried.
I am scared.
I cannot check my Facebook.
I cannot live my life this way.

Someone please make it stop.