Tag Archives: ditching anxiety

Anxiety is just the boy who never called you back.

floral-phonecase

Tonight, I feel like I can breathe again.

Years, it’s taken. Years have gone by with my blood racing through my veins, heart pumping fast, stomach muscles clenching.

Anxiety will do that to you. It suffocates all the good in the days – the warm slice of pizza, the smell of hot pavement in the rain, the cool breeze hitting your toes on a hot May afternoon – until all you can feel are the deadlines, the extra calories, the next item on your to-do list, the email you forgot to send.

It wrecks you. It strangles you. It demolishes the joy, and you resent things. People. Stories. Phone calls. Anything that keeps you from tackling your next task, pushing that anxiety down for a split second. Relaxing in the warm sun on a Sunday afternoon doesn’t happen. There is no time to relax. There is no time to feel the cool breeze on your toes.

There are only the minutes ticking away, the ones you’re wasting sitting here, and the ones you could have spent building a better life.

That’s what it comes down to, then. A better life could have been built if only you never settled for a second long enough to eat your dinner at the kitchen table, and lay beneath the covers a beat longer, and let the hot water soothe your neck in the shower. You could have saved more money, gotten a raise, purchased a house. In all the time it took you to read a chapter of your book, every week for months, you could have done so much more. Are you ashamed?

That’s what it feels like. That’s how I felt. For years.

Today, I stepped out of my shower, toweled off, and thought about my calm heart. I rubbed my toes into the bath rug, feeling the soft fabric on my feet, and breathed deeply. Because it’s taken me a month to wring all that negativity out of me, but it’s gone.

I hope you know that we cannot be everything to everyone at all times. We are human, fallible creatures, emotional beings with needs to love and care for others. There may never be time again in my day to tense up at all the bad things, the mistakes, the could-haves, the would-haves, the should-haves. There will be tomorrow, and you should get excited for it, because tomorrow is ripe with energy + possibility. Tomorrow is the day you start letting go. Tomorrow is the beginning of an unchained rhythm in your tightly woven mind. It is the unraveling of irrational thoughts. It is the start of something good, something that makes you want to rub your toes into the carpet just because it feels good.

Tomorrow, you will relearn all the simple pleasures your day surrounds you with, because they are waiting for you, and anxiety won’t ever care about you like that.

Anxiety is just the boy who never called you back. Until, of course, he needed you at three in the morning. It’s just that nobody tells you this: you don’t have to answer your phone. Let it ring.

If We Were Brave Souls

couple-run-spin-street

Sunday nights will be the first to go. Then Monday mornings and Tuesday afternoons. That split second when you wake up before your alarm goes off leaving you no time at all to savor sleep. The space between making the Metro train and being way too early for the next one. Whipped cream that spills over the lip of your hot chocolate mug. The shush of the bus breaking in front of your stop. The icy shock of Memorial Day pool water. The moment after you find out someone you love died.

These are the things we’ll ditch on the side of the road someday, if ever we have the chance to pack our bags and leave behind all the anxiety and upset and uncomfortableness. All the fear and fatigue and failure.

We’ll ditch unopened emails with rejection letters. And we won’t have to sit next to our phones wondering if our smile was bright and our eyes were shining and we’ll get a second date, or a first kiss. We’ll stop pressing the lock button over and over, waiting for the response.

Whatever happens, happens.

We’ll kiss goodbye the goodbye kiss, the porch dawdling, the door closing.

A random act of kindness will fill us for days. A door held. Change in our parking meters. Extra fries in our fast food bags. A thank-you note in the mail.

Letters will begin with, “Before I say anything else, I’m glad you’re in my life.” And whatever else follows cannot be so bad. Whatever else follows cannot be such a letdown.

If we were brave souls, things would be different. We’d tell our loved ones that we really freaking love them, that the world gets loud and they keep the chaos from engulfing us whole. We’d tell them that daily. We’d whisper it and yell it and twirl around in the pasta aisle at Wegmans and say, “Yes, let’s make spaghetti and meatballs. Let’s make garlic bread with fresh garlic. Let’s grate our own cheese. Let’s stop worrying about the pounds on the scale and the weight on our hips and just be. Just freaking be.”

If we were brave souls, we’d stop having conversations in our heads and start having them out loud. We’d stop dreading Sunday nights because Monday mornings would start beautiful, glorious, fulfilling workweeks.

We’d change lives. We’d bake lasagna and deliver it to the homeless shelter downtown. We’d give a dollar to every man on the street.

We’d stop dreaming of better days and just live them. Not the kind of days the Hiltons or the Kardashians had, but the kind we find when our arms are tired and our feet ache and our hearts are full because we gave everything, every single thing, to that day and the people in it.

I want to be exhausted. I want life to wear me out. I want every inch of every day to feel like a gift, to wrap it up for someone else and hand them what they need.

When that happens, we won’t need to ditch anything. Every single moment will feel like stretching toward the horizon, arms to the sky, feet firm in the soil.

We’ll learn and learn and learn. We’ll grow and grow and grow. I want that for you.

More.

I want you to have more. More time, more hope, more love. More moments in your life that feel like gifts, hard as they may be. I want you to learn from each one, to hold your breath and count to ten when you’re angry. Give yourself time to realize this moment? It’s making you better.