Every once in a while, Connie’ll mention she has anxiety. That’s me. I’m anxiety. Hi!
Connie asked me to be today’s guest blogger and of course I said yes. I always say yes.
To be clear, the “yes of anxiety” is not the cool “yes and” of the improv world. It’s not the yes that opens doors, frees minds and shatters stereotypes. My yes squeezes her focus so tight that she can’t think about anything except getting that one friggin’ thing done. My yes makes her stop trusting yourself, her instincts and others. But I’m not all bad. Trust me.
I’ve been living with Connie for decades. She used to ignore me. When she was very young, she called me “butterflies in her stomach” even though (1) ew! and (2) that’s not what I feel like. As she got older, she called me “nerves” or “stress.” Again, no. For a while, she thought she was “over-caffeinated.” Nope. Not related.
Eventually she noticed that I wasn’t what made her “jittery.” I was what made her sick.
I used to make Connie throw up every week. That started in her twenties and lasted well into her thirties. For a while, she thought she might be bulimic but that wasn’t it. In those days, she would try to anticipate my arrival. This next part is important: Connie is not a doctor but back in the day, she wasn’t afraid to self-diagnose or self-prescribe. So here’s what she’d do with me:
She pictured me, her anxiety, as something she ate and would retch and retch until she vomited the “ingredient” (usually a bite of a raw or undercooked vegetable such as a pepper or mushroom) into the toilet.
She thought she was vomiting me! Lol! Nope. I am here to stay!
The retching would begin late at night. It would last an hour or two and would be so exhausting that she would fall asleep after vomiting. For many years, she told herself that the vomiting would help get rid of me. Jesus that’s cracks me up!
Connie experimented with other things to make her feel better. She was a vegetarian for several years. She used to run long distances. Those are great “things” but eventually she realized writing and being in nature were her tickets to mental health. Those are two “things” she’s been consistent with her whole life. I still try, every single day actually, to make her doubt the value of writing and fresh air.
Oh please don’t think I’m a jerk. I’m not. Once Connie made space for me, we became good pals.
I should mention I live inside her. I sleep a good 20-22 hours a day but wake up a few times a day at different times. Connie simply says, “Oh you” takes a deep breath and invites me to “park a fanny.” I don’t have a fanny, but I know what she means. I get comfortable and stick around as she goes about her business.
If you know her, you have probably seen me around. I’m the one who makes her voice quiver and hands shake. I’m the one who makes her turn down food (she’ll says she’s “fasting” but really she’s just making sure she doesn’t eat “a problem” that will make her vomit). I’m the one who makes her eyes widen, her neck and cheeks flush. In other words, I make her feel afraid.
Today’s prompt is What fear have you conquered? Connie hasn’t conquered fear as much as she has concurred with it. She’s agreed to acknowledge fear (and me) as a part of her daily life. She lets us run concurrent with her days and nights without completely disrupting her but that doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying.
This is the part of the blog where Connie would thank you for reading but I’ll tell you something. I don’t have an attitude of gratitude. I’m a taker and I always want more. That said, I know when I’m not welcome so bye.
Unparking my fanny,