Saturday, July 23, 2011

A sixth sense

When you have the same driver for that hour-long trip to the airport, you learn a few things about her. This driver tells us she sees spirits. They come to her and give her messages. I am skeptical, but I don't want to insult her, so I just smile. She explains further: "Haven't you ever seen something move out of the corner of your eye? Haven't you thought you heard someone there, only to not see anything? Those are spirits coming to you." She tells me that when the cat suddenly runs out of the room, it's because he's seen a spirit.

I believe that she believes, but I don't believe that she actually sees these spirits. I'm too much of a scientist, too much of a cynic perhaps. On this drive to the airport, she tells me that there is a blond, older woman with us. She asks if there was a relative of mine that was blond. I say, yes, Nana was a blond. She tells me that she's talking about cookies she's made just for me.

I want to believe. I really do. I would love for Nana to visit, to be the one offering me cookies. But I can't. Nana wouldn't be offering me cookies, she'd be buying me a drink and wanting to dish. She'd want to go outside with me so she could grab a smoke. She'd want to see pictures of Andrea's kids and hear all about these past few years. She'd touch my hair and comment about how long it is. She would be smiling. I miss my Nana so much and I'd love for her to be there, so I pretend. But she wasn't there on that ride to the airport.

Later, when we are talking about the drive, he tells me I need to let go of the scientist. I need to believe at least a little bit. I need to welcome the angels. Maybe Nana wasn't there right then, but I need to be ready when she does come. I promise I will try.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How it is, sometimes (most of the time)

I have anxiety. Nothing fancy, nothing that I can't control (well, most days and with varying degrees of success), but it there. If you want to know more, read this:

Reading this article was a kind of relief because it explained a lot about me to me. I always knew I had stuff in my head, but this put it together. It also pointed out to me that not everyone is thinking like me, not everyone's head goes a million different ways when faced with, well, anything. When you have anxiety, it's easy to forget that not everyone else feels the same way.

It's hard to describe what goes on in my head, but it's constant. I try to anticipate every possible outcome, so that I am prepared. What if we're late, what if we're early, what if I spill my coffee? A surprise is no good. Here's the worst part: if something goes wrong that I didn't anticipate, my first reaction is to be kicking myself for not anticipating this problem. There's a vanity in anxiety, that somehow that just by seeing the potential for a problem, I can solve it all. I have a friend who is constantly reminding me that I'm not that powerful but my anxiety tells me that I might be.

Here's an example of how my anxiety works: the bag I carry to work. My bag (and it is a bag; a mere purse cannot contain all I need) has pens (many, many, because one may run out and then another, so I better have ten) and notebooks and cough drops and safety pins and gum and a deck of cards and my phone and an ipod and a Kindle and so much more. Someone once told me that I am the person they most want to be trapped in an elevator with because I would have snacks and a bottle of water and band-aids and a sewing kit and, most likely, games. The crazy thing is not that I carry all of that, but if there is occasion when I don't have something (say, a paper clip), I find that I start beating myself up over that. ("How could I forget paper clips?! How could I be so careless?") (I have since put a few paper clips in my bag.) This is not to say that I'm organized. Hardly. I have a kind of organization but I am always misplacing stuff. when you carry the world in your bag, you might misplace a few things.

Anxiety is not fear. I often need to remind myself of this. That if I can control my anxiety, I can do anything. The anxiety won't go away but it can be managed. I rode a zipline -- it can't be all that bad. I know I'm no fun when I get anxious, but I'm trying to be better.