Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Anxiety in overdrive!

Here it is precisely 2:53 p.m. on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I feel paralyzed from these annoying PVC's (heart palps).
They started when the Mary Kay lady popped in around noon with my order, which I'd given her via telephone 90 minutes earlier. Somehow, no matter what I order, or how little I feel I order, the total always comes to fifty-plus dollars. So there was financial angst to consider. (This on top of three separate back-to-school lunches at fifty bucks a pop that I've: a) treated my children to; and b) not told my husband about.)
But before Mary Kay Lady leaves, she asks me if I've spoken to her daughter, who lives in California and, really, is my bestbest friend in the world and I was supposed to fly out there this summer but I'm a scaredy-cat about flying plus the tickets would have been about a thousand dollars because I sure in heck wasn't going alone and then think of all the extra money I'd need to spend on dining out and souvenir stuff and admission to things and so although I clearly should have called my California friend by now ... I mean, it IS August, I just haven't because what do I say, "Sorry, can't come. Too expensive, plus I'm a scaredy cat. Oh, and I've been battling these scary-butt PVC's all summer and I'm afraid I'll get on a plane and have a panic attack and my heart will spazz out and I'll die 30,000 feet in the air."
So, no, I told my friend's mother. I haven't talked to her.
OK, so there's friend anxiety piled onto cosmetic expenditure anxiety and then -- THEN -- I call my mom, which I should not have done, because she's extremely agitated and down in the dumps and feeling sorry for herself because yesterday would have been her and Dad's 45th wedding anniversary, only he got lung cancer and died four months later and now she's a grieving widow, only not one of those mildly tearful, soft-talking grieving widows. My mom is impossibly hard to communicate with (she's a vociferous type) because she is, in fact, a recent widow, a truth that only a heartless daughter would ignore.
So I'm supposed to go visit her this afternoon. But I don't want to go.
More anxiety.
And then, like a supreme idiot, I go to Wal-Mart to buy saltine crackers so I can make my special meatloaf that I know my mom likes only there are about a million and a half people shopping there because it's sales-tax-free weekend in Missouri. And that's when the PVC's got really bad. There I am, meandering my cart around hordes of people when they start. I use some self talk I read about doing recently: "You're OK, Kathleen, you'll be fine. You've had these before and they always go away and you don't die."
And I did, in fact, survive the shopping excursion, which brings me here to the typewriter.
If you, dear Reader, have any advice for me in dealing with life's anxieties, please pass on your helpful words.
I need some assistance.

1 comment:

Bee said...

I'm rolling backwards on these posts, and it has just occurred to me that maybe I should read them the other way around.

For dealing with anxiety, I recommend daily walks, herbal tea and a book at bedtime, and trying to vanquish at least one anxiety-maker per day. For instance, call your friend . . . because procrastinating on that is only making it worse. I'm sure she's already figured out that you aren't coming anyway. If she's your bestest friend, I'm sure she will make you laugh and forgie you -- and then you can eliminate at least this one source of anxiety. As for your mother, only patience and a stiff upper lip will help with this one.