Tag Archives: fear

My Fear is a Liar

pennsylvania

Flying into PA. Flying back to Houston

I’m in the Charlotte airport, by myself. I seem to end up in the Charlotte airport once every few months, in the same terminal by the Starbucks. The flight next to mine is going to Munich, not Houston, and I’m considering going AWOL, jumping aboard.

In a departure from the beautiful crisp summer morning I left behind in Newark, it’s pouring here. It’s raining hard enough that it’s temporarily become the primary topic of conversation in the B terminal. Our flight has been delayed 2 hours. (*Later it was cancelled altogether.)

I didn’t think I’d be going back to Houston today.

Yesterday my anxiety disorder was winning, the trauma of the past few years had caught up with me again. I was so afraid I could only lie around and cry, and hug pillows. In those moments I admitted my darkest fears to myself and insofar as I can, to my sister and mother.

Fear looks like forever. It colors my work grey and meaningless (at a time when I have doubts about the value of most academic work). It tells me that I can never break up with anyone because I will never find another person to date. Logic says otherwise, but my life has thus far been governed and sabotaged by fear. Because I have listened to the fear above all other voices.

My sister asked me what my instincts were telling me. I think that’s the same as what my friend (and dog-sitting buddy) Sera refers to as the soul, and listening to the soul’s voice. My soul was telling me that E wasn’t really right for me, but my fear was telling me that I didn’t have the time to keep looking for someone who might fit better. I never did lose my feelings of high anxiety around E, because he was too close-lipped about himself, too concerned with his facade, too concerned with managing himself and the people in his life according to some corp-speak philosophy intended to deliver him maximum return on his investment. Perhaps needless to say, he was a salesman for a living– viewing people in utilitarian terms was his job.

When I hit my social limit, which doesn’t take long, or (that one time) objected to being abandoned (meaning he announced he “had to go”) at a party where I knew only him, he urged me to “network”, because “you never know who you’ll need, when.”

We weren’t a match.
But he was incredibly kind, and chivalrous, and called me “sweetie” and “babe”, which were firsts for me. He was ex-military, he was ripped (fit), and these were firsts for me too. I was fascinated by him.

I didn’t sleep again last night, but somewhere around 3AM, the fear ran out of materials to burn. Soul says I need to change therapists. Check! Soul says to find a good acupuncturist. Check! Soul says to focus on my work, and really examine whether I truly don’t enjoy it, or I’m currently just suffering from the malaise that comes with being in the middle of a massive project. Soul says to not actively look for a new partner. The latter is the hardest for me.

I told my sister something I deeply believe: I am happiest in a relationship. I want to feel taken care of, and like I have someone watching out for me. I pick one person at a time in the world to trust, and throw my trust into them almost entirely … and immediately. I feel like I’m drowning without that person because I don’t know how to take care of my own emotional needs. I would do anything to preserve a relationship with my chosen person, even when it proves to be a poor fit. This is why I was married for so long. Does this sound like any of you?

The fear is chemical. It is illogical. And it is wrong. It whispers to me that I’ll have regrets, that I’m doing everything wrong, that I have to hurry, that I’m not safe by myself. My fear is a liar.

I have read that distracting oneself from fear is misguided, that it means one isn’t dealing with one’s feelings. I don’t think that’s necessarily true. When the terror grips me I will continue to spiral illogically downward if i don’t intervene with aggressive distraction. Or talk it out.

I have to trust more than one person. This has been a big theme of the blog lately. I mean enough trust to text them when I am freaking out, and believe that they will tell me when it’s a bad time, and they can’t talk, trust that I will not “bother” them.

This is what I’m trying / have tried:
-Meditation
-A house purifying ritual from Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery
-Acupuncture
-Group Therapy
-Individual Therapy
-Reading some good books- I think when going through a crisis, books for pure pleasure are as important, if not more important, than “constructive” books
-Yoga (of course); also volunteering at the yoga studio to meet new people.
-Getting a housemate – this makes such a difference to my sanity.

Tell me, what helps you keep the fear at bay?

Advertisements

Supaidaa Paatei (It’s a Spider Party at my House, and You’re Invited)

(スパイダー・パーティー)

Nature is out to get me. No, no, the universe is out to get me. The whole universe. Especially the barista who gave me that sour milk latte the other day. But I digress.

Like so many Neurotic-Americans I blog am absolutely terrified of spiders. Just thinking about them hard enough can make me cry, and I do so every so often in front of someone, just to prove the point. I hate them. I find myself wondering why, if there is a Divine Creator, S/he thought it was okay to make something so sinister looking, or to allow it to evolve. So, the other day I saw a Really Big Spider outside, and nearly lost my shit, but I thought this was a one-off. Fast forward to last night…

I was washing my face when I caught a glimpse of something in the tub. Another random dust-bunny, I thought. My face dripping, I peeked over to check, because it kind of seemed to be moving on its own.

“Oh.. my… god…”

I said that out loud.

“Nooooooo, sir.”

That too.

In my (no longer) lovely and welcoming jacuzzi tub a spider the size of a silver dollar was gleefully sauntering along. I’m not kidding you. At the time, I took a photo because I thought perhaps people would think I was exaggerating The Size of The Horror, and I’d benefit from some validation about how traumatic it must have been to battle such a beast alone. But I punked myself. Because once I took that photo, I couldn’t look at my iPhone photos again. I knew that spider photo was in there, and I was petrified of seeing it, let alone waving it in the face of a friend. (I still haven’t accessed the photo album).

I stood in the bathroom flapping my arms like a duck for another full minute before deciding I’d better wash the thing down the tub drain. I dumped water on the thing. A lot of water. And then I noticed the drain was closed. The beast just bobbled along lazy-river style while I flapped and flailed some more, trying to figure out how I’d get the drain open.

I won’t tell you how long that took me.

When the beast drifted to the far side of the tub I pulled the drain open with a device I’ll call “the end of a mop”, and encouraged the spider to enjoy my theme park’s water slide by pouring a bit more water into the lazy-river.

The bastard was too big to fit down the drain.

It actually sat there on top of the drain with its arm flailing about as I stared at it in terror, saying:

“Oh…. heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllll no.”

I thought about putting one of the dogs in the tub to see if he’d eat the spider, but I’d never be able to hug the dog again if that happened.

I finally got it to go down the drain, but before I tell you how I want to give any sensitive readers a chance to go visit another blog.

Ok.. we good?

I boiled some water in the kettle and poured boiling water on it.

Guiltily catching my breath, I LINE messaged T about the whole thing.

Horrified, he told me “You know spiders are guardian spirits sent to watch over your house, right?”

Oy… well, that explains the seemingly bad karma I have this week.

**** Part 2, The SMOKE ALARM

On Wednesday night I was shocked awake by the smoke alarm running tests at 3 A.M. Our my house has smoke detectors in every room, all wired to the ceiling. One had been chirping for a new battery the other day, and I couldn’t seem to get it to STFU because I hadn’t ever dealt with a smoke detector before.  I thought just changing the battery would be sufficient, but it wasn’t; I had to disconnect the thing from the ceiling wires.

Anyway, at 3AM it didn’t occur to me that there might be a fire. Rather, I assumed I’d done something wonky to the detector. But try as I might, it kept going off. I was near tears, hysterically/sleepily stumbling to the garage to get a ladder, trying to coax Mei out from under the car, trying to get London outside before he stress-pooed (things literally “scare the shit” out of that dog).

Sigh.

When I finally got the SD to stop periodically wailing, I was absolutely convinced it would come back on, so I spent most of the rest of the night tensely lying in bed, waiting…

Neither of these things happened when J lived in the house. Thanks, universe!