Anxiety settled on me, like the ash after 9/11, like residue of a hapless chemo therapy, of cigarettes smoked by the father of your baby’s daddy in the presence of her unborn-ness. It is distinctly spiritual — anxiety — and it dawned on me when my therapist pointed this out after I confessed a miserable state. At the time, he still didn’t get the degree to which I suffered and made others suffer because I concealed it. I lied every two weeks, and I wrote the check for $125 per session to protect the image of myself. I learned at 13 to audition for the approval for others when I made it my dream to be a model or a Ms. Teen U.S.A.
Let’s revisit this: anxiety is distinctly spiritual. I hold onto this when I can’t to anything else. It’s a thread back to a safe place because it gives a purpose to anxiety. If we are all going to suffer this stalking panic, then thank god that it must have a purpose. Anxiety raises the stakes. You can be complacent or you can make friends with a fear that is as vague and unknowable as your own real self. It settles in because it wants to bring you back from the fringes to which you’ve wandered.
And I’ve wandered far. When it was time to reckon, I was rightly ashamed of the extremes to which I stretched myself. I walked around with fraud syndrome, a fear of disappointing those I’m responsible to, and then purposefully disappointing them. These acts, though not literally, were violent. The episodes were regularly-scheduled reason to self-loathe and put a little more armor on me. The scariest thing for me is to know that those I love could leave at any time, or choose to cut me loose, or betray me.
But if I’m to be really honest, it was laziness that did me in. I did not want to change because it was easier to stay the same. I had emotional outbursts, not because of my emotions, but because of easy, bad habits that I fell into with familiar ease. Those habits are lies. They are easy but honest to God, they are not good.
The good actions are hard. They require an athlete’s strength, and I am training to achieve that level of fitness. I am practicing so that my actions match the goodness of my intentions, my heart. I love easy and accept others with compassion, and doing the same for myself is a good place to start.