Anxiety: 1 of 52
This is a part of 52 posts in 52 weeks, a promise I've made to myself for my 38th year.
Anxiety. It feels like a buzzing, like my blood is carbonated. It feels like I have bees under my skin. It feels like—
It starts without feeling. It starts with a thought bubbling up:
“I have to write this blog post.”
Then it splits into a thousand different directions:
Who are you kidding? No one wants to hear what you have to say.
It’s going to be embarrassing—who wants to see what’s on the inside of your head?
You’re probably just going to quit this like you quit everything else.
Other people have discipline and you don’t. If you start this project, it’s just going to be more embarrassing when you don’t finish it.
Why are you writing when you need to pay your credit card bill?
Why are you writing when you need to renew your tabs?
Why are you writing when you need to renew your passport?
What if your boss sees this?
What if your mom sees this?
What if your boss sees this and feels too embarrassed for you to even be critical?
What if your mom sees this and decides you’re broken and in need of serious help?
What if you spend the rest of your life writing and directing and making art and nothing ever happens with it?
What’s the point?
And so on and so on and so on. And so I start googling raised bed garden projects, and the languages of the native Maya peoples of Guatamala, I wake the dog up so that I can pet her. I pick at the skin on my thumb and think maybe I should give myself a manicure before I bite all of my nails off and pick all my cuticles until they bleed. The cursor blinks in the background and I don’t even save the Word doc I’ve started.
At some point maybe the ability to see problems inherent in any possibility might have been a superpower. To someone hunting looking at a lion on the savannah, it would have helped to see a thousand different ways she could have been attacked. If she had just run out to face the lion in a blindly confident manner, she would have been mauled into a bloody mess.
The problem, I think, is that there are very few lions left.
This blog post has no teeth.
For that matter, writing it won’t help me feed myself or survive. I could live a long life without putting these words out there into the world. So why do I want to? Why do I push forward and, in the words of Gary Soto, “make words where there was only noise in the trees”?
I have no idea, honestly.
I can’t remember what it was like before I learned to read. But I can remember that ever since I could read, it was a comfort. Little Bunny Follows His Nose at bedtime, with the rose sticker nearly scratched and sniffed off from repeated use. Ramona and her Father, one of my first chapter books, in the back of the RV barreling down the highway. Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man—the first book I read over and over again, falling all the way into Fannie Flagg’s soupy southern world. Girl Interrupted in college, a familiar slog through the bad neighborhood of Susanna Kaysen’s mind.
Other people’s words and other people’s worlds have been a comfort and safety net to me. Listening to other people fight their lions has helped me face mine.
So for now, I’ll let the sound of the keyboard clicks drown out the inner voice that says, “this is cliché! No one cares!” and put these words out into the world in hopes that the relentless words of my bitchy, critical lions might be a comfort to even one person.