So I Wrote This Thing on Anxiety…

In order to pinpoint the beast that has a tendency to keep my snarky ass down and in my place, I wrote a little thing for a therapy session on WHAT the demon is and why it sucks. Sometimes the physical act of identifying your oppressor assists in the process of eliminating its very presence. Finding myself in a pretty good place lately, I thought I’d share, seeing as how so many people are afflicted with the same burden.

Anxiety is both a taunting restless spirit and a terrified small thing desperately seeking a shelter that will never exist. It manifests in the system as fear, but not like a “simple” fear of heights, a rattling of nerves during an instance of turbulence or loud thunder or even that fluttering of the amygdala that stimulates and excites during a viewing of some slasher flick, torture porn or supernatural horror film. This is a fear whose origins ooze forth from a bottomless well and corrupt all good things as well as the exposed natural vulnerabilities of the sufferer with its sticky, caustic nature, demanding attention and creating a hellscape mirage masquerading as an emotional hiding place.

Unencumbered trembling, sweaty hands, cold numbing sensations in the face, extremities and even genitals, the perceived inability to catch a soothing breath, the heart doing whatever the fuck it wants without any sense of rhythm or purpose and the stomach issues… nothing angers the digestive tract like the demon of anxiety. Food goes in reluctantly, possessing the taste and texture of fiberglass, and promptly evacuates the system in heaving bursts of burning poison. It’s as though the body completely rejects the wholesome comforts that are meant to keep it going, such as essential nutrients, restoring sleep, replenishing oxygen and that ability to completely collapse into a state of careless relaxation. The body, mind and soul are constantly on alert somewhere in a red zone of terror that exists on an entirely different plane of consciousness.

If the physical symptoms aren’t enough to destroy the meager remains of self-assuredness, the mental ramifications are brutal. Irrational fears are random and cooked up from unusual places otherwise regarded as non-things by most other people. A skipped heartbeat could mean certain death, a brief ringing in the ears a terrifying possibility of life-long suffering, a stressful day inciting more than one emotion means the contracting of a vicious mental ailment… one that would require a life-sentence in straight jacket and confinement behind the stark white walls of an institution where outcasts remain hidden from a society who demean them. In life, there are mountains and molehills. In the life of anxiety suffers, there are eternal sinkholes and stratospheric places that could result in body-vaporizing descents into the unknown.

Anxiety

The wall is very real, indeed. Those who don’t have the misfortune of dealing with the soul grappling burden of anxiety or depression will never see it. They see a weak person… somebody who gives up too easily, who frets too much, whose “lazy” nature forces them to turn their back on their dreams, their family and the very things in life that can be of little comfort. Inwardly, we stand at the plinth of the structure which blocks the path to happiness and claw at its foundations for just a slight glimpse of the peace situated on the other side.

What is happiness to us then, to be found on the other side of the wall? To be grounded levelly is to be in a state of bliss. To find that place in the valley of extremes where the shadow of the mountain can’t obscure the truth is pure joy. To float carelessly amid the placid waters of tranquility is to achieve the ultimate goal of inner peace, to still the internal quaking and to silence the voice of insecurity. It’s an ongoing battle and we are its warriors.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream… about the Weirdest Shit Possible

I have an incredibly active subconscious. If there is any shrink, inquisitive friend or nosey co-worker alive who wishes to know the deepest desires of my psyche (or what processed, cheesy snack I crammed into my yap before bed), all they need do is ask what vivid dream raced through my brain the night before. Among the creepy imagery of jumbo-jets crashing into Chicago’s purple lakefront, standing naked and vulnerable in the rusty metalscape of a James Watt-era machine shop, and giving birth to the 50 cent Ikea kosher dog (then being convinced by my enthusiastic mother that one must “always love the gift that expels from your uterus”), they will be found there… my deepest desires, fears and goals, swimming among the flotsam of symbolic muck.

Last night’s selection was pretty deep. I found myself smack in the middle of a workplace celebration, oddly enough happening on the rooftop of a large building situated somewhere among a chic European metropolis. Considering I work for a Midwestern grocery chain, this was a really WEIRD location for sipping on store-brand colas and subpar cakes from the company bakery. The nature of the celebration was a farewell party, of which we have had many in real life. Young college people work for us, finalize their dreams within a few years and move on to bigger, better things. In the dream (much like in my real life), I’m attempting to swallow the bits of frosting that to adhere to the roof of my mouth like Gorilla glue and my congratulatory smiles hide the fact that I’m an insanely jealous, bitter shell of a woman whose dreams have died. Commence forward with your promising futures, young people, while I continue to stock bananas and internalize the passive-aggressive snark that my customers seem to excel in dealing.

But liberation! I set my cake down, grab a khaki-colored pack from nowhere in particular and just… walk away. I don’t say anything to my coworkers and peers of three years. I literally walk away without so much as a look back at the lovely coworkers I’ve known for three years. And the cityscape transforms into a walking path dividing rolling green hills speckled with tiny villages, candy colored cottages and businesses surrounding humble squares overshadowed by towering cathedrals… so characteristic of small towns in southern France and even those I observed in Poland’s vast country side from train windows. In the dream, I have a tunnel-vision type focus on the charming road ahead and walk away, unapologetically, from it all.

Of course, what good are cats if not to place their wet nose into your overslept eyelid and loudly protest their late breakfast. Dream destroyers, all of them.

I don’t need to compose a majestic conclusion here or deep, in-depth analysis because even the person whose head is buried the deepest up her own ass (usually me!) can totally deduce meaning from all of this. It just feels nice that my subconcious believes in me even when the waking, walking and talking version of me does not.

On a completely unrelated note, I need to start adding more graphics, memes and other colorful, dazzling bits to this blog. I wonder about modern society’s ability to read JUST words that go uninterrupted by the images of fist-pumping babies and Willy Wonka snark.

Peace, my beautiful Dreamers!
-Emily the Great

My Moral High Horse on the Virtues of Swallowing Over Spitting

I work in produce and it’s the height of cherry season. We all love cherries because, you know, we’re humans and not soul-less humanoid creatures who live off the blood of infant koalas and gnash our teeth upon the innocence of bunnies. Unfortunately with that passion come the masses who have no impulse control and just pop them *BOOP!* into their mouths. Because “sampling”… which is customer code for “I’m entitled to steal this delicious thing under the guise of quality control”… is the justification. The perfect little fruit does have its one flaw in the form of its sizeable pit and the customer, suddenly realizing their sin is not so easily hidden, either must buck up and swallow seed OR commit the worst crime of all and eject the seed into one of the many possible hidey holes in my department. I call these places “everywherethatsnotthefuckinggarbagecan.”

Carefully cleaned of any remnants of fruity bits and baptized in a freshly applied sheen of mucus, saliva and Norovirus, the pits make their way to the floor to trip up and potentionally kill the young, the old and the lame. I find clusters beneath the bananas, a stray one on the wet lettuce wrack, a threesome making friendly acquaintance with the grapes; you know… “everywherethatsnotthefuckinggarbagecan.” The randomized location situations of these wayward pits never stun me, as I’ve been doing this work for well over three years now. I could pull one out of my ass and not be shocked… it’s amazing the lengths my customers go through in order to hide the results of their impromptu quality control mico-missions. But I gotta say that today was the day that put my brain in its rightful place… hiding up my ass along with the aforementioned poop pit.

Not being as keen on the details of a produce floor, I’ll bring to mind, dear reader of my pithy pit bitch, the tiny little cups that partner up with the roll o’bags to create a convenient vessel for flexible ties to hold the bags shut (you know… for when you are so crippled with a savage case of claw clench that you can’t even knot up a goddam bag and need the services of a bendy tie). Among the bundle of red bag ties, there were MANY pits in one of these clear plastic cups which, as a minor detail, was located nowhere within the vicinity of the cherries (we’re talking cruciferious territory here, folks… a dark land beyond the summer fruits where the old go to find relief for their reluctant bowels in the form of stalky things that smell like buttcrack and taste like Jesus hates you). The cup practically runneth over, not only with the pits, but with a good inch of slimy, viscous mouth matter, tinged almost mockingly with red, juicy evidence. The implication of this find is horrific… One of my customers literally crammed about twenty unwashed, unpaid for cherries into their gaping maw, carefully extracted fruit from seed using some sort of weird tongue technique learned through years of oral mastery on teeny tiny testicles and, like an owl regurgitating the remnants of its prey, spat out the undesired contents where the asparagus lay. Jesus Jayden Christ, people! We are not animals, although we receive the possibility of new plant life for every seed that a squirrel, chipmunk or other variety of nusiance, digging critter shits forth. Humans are not as handy.

Is there a moral to all of this? Yes… lest you are a digging rodent willing to spread love and trees that self-perpetuate the fruit cycle for the benefit of all life on earth, don’t leave your cherry pits for me to clean up. Remember that I am your first line of defense against rainforest creatures that hitch a ride in banana boxes, black widows that nest in grape bags and I replenish your cherry habit multiple times a day.

I deserve better.

The Scourge and Euphoria of Fartdom: Turning 31

I recently turned 31 and I’m glad of it. Looking back on last years’ existential crisis/anxiety shit festival associated with turning 30 and the focus of things that I simple was NOT, this years’ sweet breath of acceptance is an oasis among a turbulent landscape of self-relfection. There is a demand for my sad psyche to accept what I am, what I’m not and who I can easily be or at the very least, work hard at attempting. In terms of self-hate, I reign queen. If some fucked up form of mitosis were to physically part my body into two forms, both of those people would have a Time Magazine article written about them regarding the excessive amount of bullying that they wreak upon each other. I make rules for myself to abide by… “You are the peace-making, body-shaming, fearful child who must make herself small for acceptance, to raise up others… disappear quietly into your cave, laugh off the jokes people make about your body/mind/abilities and here… enjoy this panic attack while you’re at it. Don’t dare defend yourself, either. You’re not worth it.”

I had a professor in college whose eccentricities, while seemingly cliched for an intellectual poet, were warm, lively and encouraging. I took his poetry class and, well, pretty much bombed it. Finding tiny little words to express a much larger purpose are not a fixture in my creative arsenal. But feeling roused and refreshed by the beauty that my classmates exuded with beautifully structured words made that hard-earned C+ more than worth it. But the professor… when  a particular riveting or empowering message fell from a seemingly un-creative or quiet student, he would raise his arms in the air and cry out, “LIBERATION!!” I so badly wanted that moment… I read my luke-warm poetry for my final project and received an appreciative nod, but I was not emotionally or creatively liberated. I wasn’t ready.

Well, I’m 31 and am ready now. I haven’t reached the firey happiness associated with emotional liberation, but I can feel the warmth of its existence on my face. I’m more willing to accept certain realities in life. Not to sound like a dimwitted child, but I can do whatever the fuck I want and I’ve resolved to offer up oppressive self-imposed rules on a chopping block.

I’m in my thirties and refuse to keep clinging to these self-imposed fallacies.  My gift to myself is happiness and accomplishment.

 

Happy Birthday, Queen Emily