Contextualizing Anxiety

The past week I have had more days when I wonder if I closed the sliding door. If I put the peanut butter back in the fridge. If I fed the dog.

It’s not age. It’s inattention. It’s the low hum of continual anxiety.

I have always been an introvert, and the post-Covid culture here is moving too quickly for me. Social “engagements” on my calendar feel overwhelming. I think of the ironic fact that I know that when the time comes I will feel far from engaged. I will be sitting outside myself, judging myself, second-guessing words and gestures. Stockpiling the “should-have-said”s and “shouldn’t-have-said”s. The wins for the losing.

I am wondering what has really changed. It seems that my entire adult life, I’ve responded to any ambiguous summoning with an emergency readiness. An emotional “prepper”. And that was before last year and what my shrink calls “the crisis”. Before it got worse. How can I give other people that much power? Blaming that last staw for the whole load is absurd. I know that. I also know that the problem isn’t other people.

We want so badly for our experiences to be explained as simple cause-and-effect events. Because anything else would be irrational. Untrue. Unnecessary pain. Anything else would be the work of a shadow-weaving woman making a weighted blanket from the loose atmospheres of dreams and memories.

But I keep her close, like a lover I know will hurt me. It’s my fault. Holding onto the destructive stories like talismans. The devil you know.

I have a metal ruler in one of the drawers in the studio. It is jagged on both long edges. I am not sure why, and I am not sure how I came to have this ruler in a drawer. in the studio. I catch my fingers on it every time I open the drawer. And yet I haven’t moved it. I haven’t gotten rid of it. (What would I do with it? Where would I send it?) I mean, I bought it after all. I put it there. It must be there for a reason.

Maybe I am misinterpreting the phrase “trust yourself”? Maybe I am misplacing my trust. Maybe everyone (I’m sure of it) feels this way when the season changes and death is everywhere, making room – clearing room – for the sprawl of strange offspring. Another round of the unknown. Mystery eggs.

I’ve learned that more than moths and butterflies emerge from cocoons. It seems nothing that I learn makes for good small talk. And I am beginning to understand that that doesn’t matter at all.


My favorite wasp fact so far while researching this project:

Adult tarantula hawks are nectarivorous. The consumption of fermented fruit sometimes intoxicates them to the point that flight becomes difficult.

I really don’t think life is wonderful. But I do think it is in every way amusing – and awesome.


Awesome:

adjective

causing or inducing awe; inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear: an awesome sight.

exhibiting or marked by awe; showing reverence, admiration, or fear.

Anxiety:

noun, plural anx·i·e·ties.

distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune: He felt anxiety about the possible loss of his job.

earnest but tense desire; eagerness: He had a keen anxiety to succeed in his work.

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  1. ‘I’ve learned that more than moths and butterflies emerge from cocoons.’ I think this phrase is so interesting. Thanks for your daily inspiring thought flow. I can relate to so much of your thought process.

  2. “Anything else would be the work of a shadow-weaving woman making a weighted blanket from the loose atmospheres of dreams and memories.” Your turns of phrase leave me breathless.

  3. “Anything else would be the work of a shadow-weaving woman making a weighted blanket from the loose atmospheres of dreams and memories.”

    That fucking wasp! Second most painful sting! Bullet ant is first.

    Great essay. Marty is crying.

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