Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Days getting longer
confusing my old body’s
sense as summer comes.
Some days I think my other middle name should be Anxiety. It has a nice ring beginning with An. Ann (Anne) is a lovely name and all the Anns I’ve know have been as nice as their names. And it ends with a zippy “ee” sound softening the word as if it is some sweet little girly nickname.
I’m anxious about getting up and going to bed, about driving or going places (or not), about new experiences, about rain and sun and snow and storms, about my family and friends and employers and co-workers and doctors and lawyers and strangers, about spending time reading or viewing (should I spend the time doing something else?), about exercise and no exercise, about what to wear or what to eat, or about just any old decision I might have to make.
What I think I want is to experience an organic, authentic, connected life. What I think I have is an artificial, pretend, disconnected life. I remember the summer job I had between my university years working with two traditional college-aged women. We were organizing the Transfer Student Orientation for students who were transferring to our university from another college or university, instead of coming to us straight from high school or as their first university experience. All three of us had been transfer students so we were bringing our own experiences to the job and wanted to make the three day event helpful and satisfying for the next year’s students as our Orientation had been for us. I had to speak to the director of food services following up for one of my co-workers and he asked where she was. I explained we shared responsibilities and he replied “That’s too bad. She is truly an authentic person.” Now he probably did not mean anything negative about me, but my little brain thought so am I fake? And what am I? Chopped liver? Did he think I couldn’t do the job as well as she because she was “authentic” implying I was not?
I’ve been anxious since second grade. It began in first grade, but really came to live with me in grade 2. Other students made fun of my clothing, which my mom made for me or were hand-me-downs from an older cousin so they were really out of fashion. One of my classmates stole something from another student and I was accused. Though it was eventually proven I didn’t do it, because of the accusation a stigma was attached to me. I had a round and sturdy, clumsy body that brought comments as well, because I fell when I ran and couldn’t catch or throw a ball. Back then Anxiety was called being nervous, and I was often called a Nervous Nellie by teachers and classmates.
About the age of 7, well into second grade, I had my first silver mercury amalgam dental fillings. There is now scientific evidence of the chemical changes that take place in the body from the neuro-toxin mercury being placed in your mouth. I suspect those chemical changes along with the bullying and stigmatization created a history of mental and physical stressors that have resulted in an inability to have “normal” reactions. Now I’m fat, and old, and ill most of the time, and still clumsy, just one big pile of Anxiety.
Constant stress kills your brain and your body. It affects the ability to think, understand, and retain information. It destroys your immune system. It’s bad enough to have Anxiety about stressful things in your life, but the most difficult part of Anxiety is when it occurs around good or positive experiences. Good things should have good reactions, right? Yeah, right. My nephew is getting married: what am I going to wear? How am I going to get there? What gift do I give? My niece is having a baby: so many things can go wrong, hope it all goes right. Does she have the baby stuff she needs to get started? If I sent a gift would it just go into the trash because it isn’t good enough? A party with friends coming up: will I wear the right thing? Will they think I am eating too much or too little? Talking too much or too little or too loudly or too quietly?
Never having a sense of security contributes to Anxiety as well. I’ve always had to take care of myself and my disabled hubster and then the son as well, financially, physically, and emotionally. It’s not like I knew how to do this, naturally, authentically; I’ve had to make it up as I go along as there’s never been enough money, or enough body confidence, or enough loving patience. I’ve always admired Eleanor Roosevelt, who became another voice for her husband. She had her own causes, to be sure, but she took them up not because she wanted to but because she had to, because of his position. And that’s what she said: she did it because she had to.
One learns as one goes along, but I think it might be nice just once (more than once even) to have the confidence and security to be content without Anxiety. I’ve lived in my home for more than 16 years and not a day goes by that I don’t wonder if the individual who agreed to a contract with me will renege or if I will be able to take care of it and fix it if something breaks. I’ve worked with computers and word processors for more than 30 years, and they still produce Anxiety. Will it continue to work right? Will it crash? Can I learn the new software/upgrade/technology? I’ve been employed for more than 40 years of my life and not a day goes by I don’t go out the door wondering if I’m good enough in my job or why I don’t seem good enough in my job. I’ve driven cars for 45 years of my life but not a day goes by without wondering will it get me there? Will it break on the way or a tire go flat? Will somebody run into me? I’ve carried this body and brain around for more than 62 years and not a day goes by I don’t wonder what physical challenges I will have this day. But I get up and go at it every day. Because I have to. It’s the only way I know. Anxiety and all.
Call me Sassy Anxiety Kas. For those of you close enough to know my given name just add Anxiety in the middle somewhere there and you will understand me better. I do not wish for other people to experience life anxiously, and I hope you don’t, as it’s not much fun. I hope you are having an organic, authentic life. If Anxiety is “normal”, pshaw.
Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Purple azaleas in full force dripping with recent rain. Columbine in an array of colors, these pink and red. Lilac colored violets that grow every year in the cracks of my driveway. Vivid orange poppies, poppies. Purple beaded strands of blossoms on my street’s locust trees.
Current View – Watched episode 1 of season 1 of Showtime’s TV series Penny Dreadful. The blurb sounded interesting with characters such as Victor Frankenstein and Dorian Gray with an erotic supernatural plot. The opening held promise with attractive actors, great costumes, and lovely props and settings in Victorian London. It quickly devolved into a violent bloody vampire story. Gore is not my cup of tea. It was so [un]interesting I fell asleep. This series is not for me. * Also viewed episode 1 of season 1 of House of Lies, another Showtime TV series, about manipulative people who make money taking advantage of people who have less than they do just to keep their huge salaries and bonuses. The whole plot premise is so opposite of the altruism I believe in I could not watch another episode. This series is also not for me. * Started Jack Taylor (2010, not rated) an Irish detective crime series set in Galway from the novels of Ken Bruen starring Iain Glen, who also did Game of Thrones, as a detective who is dismissed from the Garda (Irish national police) and becomes a private investigator. Intense and compelling.
Currently Reading – Finished Infinite Home (2015, fiction) by Kathleen Alcott. A story about an apartment house in New York City, its 4 inhabitants and landlady, including one character who has Williams syndrome, one who is a stroke victim, another who is an agoraphobe, and a man with a failed career, and how they come together in all their quirks and foibles. It’s refreshing to have a story frankly address the challenges of a genetic difference in a positive fashion. The plot has to resolve the aging of the landlady into dementia and dissolves in the end with possibilities suggested rather than a definitive ending. Beautifully written, Ms Alcott has a lovely way with words. M Train (2015, autobiograhical musings) by Patti Smith. An acid-washed dreamscape. The Two-Family House (2016, fiction) by Lynda Cohen Loigman, set in 1947 Brooklyn. Yes, concurrently.
This week I have been grateful for:
- A hot cup of tea when I needed something soothing.
- The flowering shrubs planted in the islands at a local strip mall that scented the whole parking lot.
- Not being allergic to grasses, pollens, or trees.
- The fragrance of scotch broom and fir trees heated in the sun.
- The possibility of a job interview.
- Asking about jobs at a place I thought being bilingual would be a requirement and being assured and encouraged to apply regardless.
- Dropping off a resume at a local business and realizing I know the office manager and would love to work with her.
- Having several nice work outfits on hand for interviews courtesy of my sister’s birthday present to me last year.
- Receiving some financial assistance on my electric bill. Thank you, tax payers, again.
- Mild weather and fresh air.
- This weekly list of gratitudes to help remind me Anxiety is not the totality of my life.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch
Floral paragraph dividers by Susan Branch