Flailing

Is it okay to blame everything on menopause? My anxiety? My lack of focus? My inability to allow an event to unfold without my interference? My flailing about? No, it’s really not. I tried to kick it back to “the change,” but that would be a cop out.

You see, I’m a flailer. And, it’s okay when my flailing affects only me, but sometimes it spills over into the larger world and then I feel like dog poo. Like right now.

I had an issue with booking a room in Vegas for a conference in November. I’d used the conference link to make the reservation, but when I called the hotel to alter the reservation, they had no record of it having been made. I spoke with multiple customer service reps, giving them my confirmation number as it appeared on the email the hotel sent me, but received the same answer each time: “We’re sorry, but we don’t have a reservation for you.”

So, what did this anxiety-ridden old woman do? She posted an account of her issue on the conference attendees’ Facebook page. Surely if I had this issue others might have it, too.

Long story short, no, they did not have a problem. It was just me. But I managed to spark a panic. In my flailing, I bumped up against people I don’t even know, and likely caused a lot of unnecessary work for customer service at the hotel. I know I probably gave the conference organizer a pounding headache as he intervened for me.

I’m not sure what my punishment should be, but maybe, just maybe I learned a lesson: Flail if you must; but keep it to yourself.

Peace, people.

The Write Stuff

Almost every day for more than four years I’ve written something and posted it on WordPress. In the beginning, just pressing the “publish” button was enough to make my blood pressure rise and my palms perspire. Would my words be good enough? Did I have the “write” stuff? What if someone publicly laughed at my incompetence, told me to go back to knitting potholders?*

I used to worry about stats. There were awful days in the beginning when only two or three people, mostly relatives, took the time to read my blog. Then, slowly I gained a few followers, and I began reading others’ blogs and becoming part of a community of writers, until finally I forgot about the nerves and the stats and just wrote. Nowadays I’m liable to hit publish before I’m even finished with a piece. Yeah, I’m laidback like that.

Over the holidays, I took a big step (for me) and submitted a few poems to be considered for inclusion in an anthology about vultures. Yes. Vultures. When I saw the theme I laughed out loud and commented to a blogging friend that I practically live in Vulture Land.

“Then you should write that!” he replied.

I felt as nervous submitting those vulture poems as I did my first few days of blogging. I’m terrible at following instructions–and wasn’t sure I was doing everything as prescribed. Had I successfully removed all identifying information? Were my margins correct? Would my cover letter be too angst-ridden or needy sounding? After walking the floor for a good half hour, I finally clicked the send button.

And now I wait.

*In the first month of blogging a reader told me to cut the bullshit and stop being so cute. In reply I said, I’m sorry, but this is my bullshit, and I can’t help being cute.

Peace, people.

Anxiety Central

On Tuesday night I drifted off to sleep as gently as an innocent little lamb, only to awaken twenty minutes later with my mind raging like a caged lion. My trip to Illinois was still two days in the future, yet my brain paced restlessly inside my head as if my flight was imminent and I was woefully unprepared.

Truthfully, I was unprepared, but I still had ample time to do laundry and pack and straighten the house before I had to leave Doright Manor for the airport. So why was I all abuzz? Welcome to Anxiety Central.

Irrationally I began worrying that my car would break down on the way to the airport. What would I do should that happen? I worried that I’d forgotten to get cash from the bank, so I got out of bed and wrote myself a note that I then taped to the bathroom mirror where I’d be certain to see it first thing the next morning.

I became concerned that I’d finish the book I was reading on my kindle and wouldn’t have ample connectivity to download a new one. Most worrisome was the state of the liquids I NEEDED to pack for the trip. Liquids that might not be able to fit into a clear plastic quart baggie. Damned TSA requirements. How’s a girl supposed to cram all of her necessary liquids into such a small bag?

Zip, zip, zip went the thoughts in my brain. I was electric, and not in a good way. Poor Studly must’ve felt my frantic vibes causing him to adjourn to the sofa in the den at some point in the night.

When he left for work on Wednesday morning he planted a kiss on my cheek and told me he’d see me when I returned on Monday. I’d forgotten he had to be out of town on Wednesday and Thursday and wouldn’t return until after I’d departed on my trip. Sheesh. One more thing to worry about.

You know, I might not have many talents, but I excel at worrying over absolutely ridiculous stuff. Anxiety is my middle name, and that’s no joke.

I fly on Thursday. Just get me to the plane on time.

Peace, People!

Some Nights

Some nights my dreams evaporate into waves of self-recrimination with little transition from sleep to wakefulness. A weight settles onto my chest, my heart races, and my thoughts chase one another in an endless loop.

Other nights I fall into peaceful slumber, amusing vignettes keeping me company through the long night. I stretch luxuriously upon waking, and a smile remains on my lips.

I wish there were a vending machine into which I could insert coins for either choice A or choice B. I really need a B night.

Peace, people.

A Pink Bicycle

I might have been five. My parents had taken me shopping at Sears in Lubbock for my first bicycle. There was one I really wanted. It was bright pink and had purple streamers attached to the grips. It was the most beautiful bike I’d ever seen.

My mommy and daddy tried to get me interested in a different bike. I don’t remember what it looked like, only that it had a lack of streamers. I’m sure it was more in line with their meager budget, but at the tender age of five budgets didn’t matter much.

I turned my back on the offensive bike, and I’m sure I stuck out my bottom lip and crossed my arms in protest, striking a petulant pose in the middle of the busy department store. When I turned back around, I was by myself. I thought my parents had left me because I was pouting about the bicycle. Suddenly all my anger evaporated and I began to wail.

A kind woman came and took me to customer service, but I was sobbing too hard to tell anyone my name. When my parents realized I hadn’t followed them out of the bike section they hurried to customer service to find me inconsolable. They hugged and fussed over me and finally I was able to calm down. They’d been “missing” for maybe five minutes. I’m 61 and I remember the separation like it happened yesterday.

So, let’s think about these children being separated from their parents at the border, their cries haunted my dreams last night. Let’s think about the trauma our trump-led government is inflicting on innocent children. Let’s pray that the harm we are doing isn’t permanent.

We will pay for what we are doing. Maybe not now, but we will watch these young people reach adulthood with righteous anger in their hearts. And we will deserve the consequences.

By the way, I got the plain bicycle, but Daddy put streamers on the handlebars and added a squeaky horn and a white wicker basket onto the front. I embraced it. I had a change of heart.

Peace, people.

Hovering

Hovering
somewhere
between up
and down,
uneven ground
upsetting my
equilibrium.

One moment
I’m giddy,
filled with
exuberance,
capable of
great feats;
significant.

The next turn,
my anxiety takes
over, holding
me back, bringing
me down, struggling
to stay relevant
on life’s stage.

Peace is found
where I hover
one foot in
ecstacy the other
in agony, teetering
on the brink and
trying to stay me.

  
Peace, people.

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