I don’t remember what I was going to write about today, which is a fairly frequent writer-y problem. My idea may well have been hijacked by Anxiety.
My parents are coming to visit. You might think this is normal, because other people’s parents come to visit, but I assure you, my parents coming to visit is extraordinary. Two summers ago when they came, my mother rambled on about how it was the Farewell Tour. Stuff like that gives me anxiety. wtf? why farewell? who says this? are you dying? She’s not very old. She’s certainly too young to declare Farewell Tours about anywhere. He’s ten years her senior, but still. I can only imagine us going to Florida and me bein like, “This is the last time we’re coming here. Ever.” I can imagine my mother’s face all twisted and a nice big, “Well chuck you, Farley.” I really hate Florida and I think I should get extra credit for going.
This is how long I’ve been haulin my family to Florida:
Gawd, I hate Florida…
So it’s really great they’re comin here. Here will be hot, but they won’t know it. They’ll think it’s splendid.
I have terrible anxiety about it. Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t wait for your birthday or whatever? How you’d just get beside yourself with excitement and anticipation? Yes, I feel like that. They will never get here! It will never be the day! Oh I cannot wait!!!
But also, they are coming to my house for the first time in two years and it is not anything enough. Rational Brain knows this is malarkey, but she sighs and takes a backseat to Anxiety while Inner Critic makes a list. Inner Critic wants Anxiety to know that despite seemingly constant divisions, the flowerbeds are still overgrown, there are brushstrokes of different colors painted here and there on the walls, the ceiling fan is icky, no one has cleaned the top of the fridge since spring break, and the kitchen faucet is still wonky.
My parents do not care. Rational Brain, Inner Critic, and Anxiety all know my parents don’t care. If my mother reads this post, I may well get a text that starts out with “Dear One please do not stress about-” and ends with hearts and flowers. Which complement my feelings, since the flowers are crowded and I have chest pain, but that’s a horse of a different color.
It’s not all my parents’ visit that does this, either. They’re merely added to the weight of summer. The 60-ish days until school starts. Instead of a watch, Anxiety wears a ticking time bomb with the countdown to alarm clock days.
I wait ten months for these two months, and then I struggle to enjoy them. I am aware of the implicit irony of the situation.
I have an agenda. There’s work and there’s fun, and no, there isn’t a difference in how they bring anxiety symptoms.
There are awful things going on in my life, privately, just like everyone else, but I am a special sort, so I deal with those while I deal with the horrors of impending happiness.
If I’m not careful about getting an appropriate amount completed each day, then I can’t relax. If I can’t relax, I won’t be able to sleep. If I can’t sleep, I’ll get sick. I am still knocking wood over the fact that I haven’t been sick yet this spring. If I do too much, I’ll wear myself out and get sick.
This is why Rational Brain is always going on about balance. She reminds us that we have taken our time and great care in pacing ourselves, and one day, it will all be done, and there will be other things to do, and there is no point in freaking out about any of it. My brain will not shrivel up and rot if I don’t get to the zoo this month. If going to the zoo means the bathroom doesn’t get painted, then I can’t mark myself as a failure. Rational Brain spends its time pushing for gratitude and telling us “Look at how much you’ve done!” But Anxiety doesn’t care. It’s already thinking about chopping up tomatoes five hours from now.
Chances are, you can’t relate to any of this. You might sneer at me, or dismiss me, or ask me to be more like you. You might like to say, “Snap out of it! It’s all in your head! You’re doing this to yourself!” and I would say, “Mmhm,” and add your judgments to my tall stack of ways I fail other people. Then I’d ask you if you have anything new or anything of true value to add to the conversation.
That’s my truth today. I am this way. This is how I’m wired or how I’m broken, and all I can do is aim to stay present. And maybe take a pill.
How’s your anxiety today? Got anything wonderful to anticipate?