For those of you who do not actually know me personally, I am going to let you in on a little secret…I am a ball of anxiety, a wreck of emotion…a hopeless spaz, who thinks and rethinks every move that I make before I make it. I worry constantly about what people think of me. I am always concerned that people are upset with me if they don’t use a lot of exclamation points in their text messages to me. I get my feelings hurt if people don’t smile at me.
I never realized how much I used the term, “I’m freaking out!” until the eve of my wedding. My mother was yukking it up with my girlfriends, taking actual bets on how many times I would say ‘I’m freaking out!’ the next day. I think it was about 6,853…if you count the variations like, ‘I’m spazzing!’ ‘I can’t handle this!, and ‘I’m losing my mind!’
I try to hide my crazy, and for the most part, I think I do an ok job. I mean, don’t get me wrong, my close friends and family know that I am nuts. But it’s not like I break down into weepy tears in the middle of Shop n Save when the clerk is shitty to me and yells at my kid for touching the credit card machine. I wait until I get into the car and THEN I break down into weepy tears. I’m a mess. I know this. Those that love me accept this and move on.
Part of the problem, I think, is that I have been cursed/blessed with the ability to read other people’s emotions. I can tell instantly the mood of a room and most of the people in it. It is damn near impossible to hide anger and annoyance from me because I can feel it. My mom says that I have been like this since I was a little girl…I could always take one look at her, or hear her speak one simple word, and I would know if she was upset, mad, hurt, whatever. Even if she tried to hide it from me, she could be smiling and laughing but I just KNEW. She has all but given up trying to hide anything from me cause she knows I will call her on it.
On top of this weird ability, I also happen to have a short fuse. The mix of these two is quite possibly going to be the death of me. Lets say, for example, that Hot Papa comes home from work and I sense that he is in a shitty mood. I already know that he is in a shitty mood, so I automatically begin to wonder if it is something that I did wrong. I start asking him questions and he starts giving me these irritating little one word answers that make me want to punch my own self in the face. I condescendingly let him know that I KNOW. I know there is something wrong…I can tell. I can just TELL, goddamnit. He won’t tell me what it is, he says he is just tired. I do not accept this answer because I know he is LYING. I start going over all the things that I could have done wrong. Did I turn down his advances the night before? Was he pissed about all that shit I just bought from Victoria’s Secret that WASN’T lingerie? Was he angry that I forgot to pay the phone bill? That must be it. He’s pissed about that. He’s pissed about that? THAT?!!??! That’s fucking asinine . What a dumb reason to be mad. I’ll pay the fucking phone bill tomorrow, ok??
Alllll that. In my head. I have diagnosed his anger without his knowledge and am now pissed off and snapping at him for reasons that I invented in my head. I stomp around the house, I slam things down…this has turned into the Hot Mama Show. And Hot Papa would like a refund on his ticket, thankyouverymuch.
I know it sounds crazy. I know that I could definitely benefit from a good therapist and a healthy dose of Xanax. Lack of health insurance has left me on a constant edge of anxiety, with an occasional jump off the edge, directly into the ocean of crazy.
Recently, I have become quite interested in solving this little problem on my own. I feel bad for HP. He is the most level headed, down to earth, calm person that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. His moods don’t fluctuate much at all…what you see is what you get. It’s pretty much either Hot Papa or on weekends, Tipsy Hot Papa. He is reliably real…even after years of coming home to me, unsure of which Hot Mama he would get. Would it be me or would it be one of the Seven Dwarves of my personality…Weepy, Angry, Horny, Domestic-y, Snarky, Pissy, or PMS-y?
That’s a lot of crazy woman for one man to deal with, especially one that is not a fundamentalist Mormon. So the other night, for the sake of my beloved, I put the boys to bed and googled ‘Guided Meditation’. I was instantly bombarded with hundreds of options, so I just clicked on the first one and went for it. There was a list of short audio sets with names like ‘Stress Reduction’ and ‘Serenity’ and ‘Finding Your Inner Spirit Guide’ whatever the hell that means. I clicked on stress reduction.
The lady told me to get comfortable and close my eyes. I did. She told me to imagine my body being enveloped in darkness. I did. She told me to take notice of my breathing. I tried. All I could notice was the fact that my children were clearly not sleeping and now one of them was crying. I paused my hypnosis or whatever the frick that Rainforest Woman was trying to do to me and went upstairs. It was there that I found my children each out of their beds. All of the sheets and blankets had been pulled off, E-man was crying, and Smiley was just smiling guiltily.
I thought about Rainforest Woman waiting for me downstairs, took a deep breath, made the beds, kissed their heads, and went back downstairs to her. I picked up where I had left off, paying attention to my breathing and what not. Now she is telling me to clench everything up from my toes to my nose. Clench? Aren’t I supposed to be relaxing here? But I figure Amazon Bitch knows best, so I clench. I squeeze my toes, make my hands into fists, shut my eyes realllllly tight. My body is as tight as it has been since 9th grade Track and Field. Just as she is telling me to start to release my toes, I hear those kids again. I get up AGAIN, only this time, I have been hypnotized into clenching my entire body. I forgot to un-clench before walking upstairs, so I am sure I looked like I was walking with rainforest stick shoved directly up my ass.
The kids have once again ripped all of their linens off. And Smiley has also ripped all of his clothes off. A curtain has been torn down and I stepped onto a matchbox car with my clenched foot. Faaaack. Same song and dance. Remake the beds, kiss them again, etc. I go back downstairs, only this time, I grab a wine to go with my meditation. Couldn’t hurt right? Might help?
You already know what I am going to say next. Of course the kids interrupted me. Of course I went back up and put them back to bed. Of course I came back down and continued to put a sizable dent in my box o’ wine. But I listened to Rainforest Woman. I tried to do what she said. I did ok I think…for someone with constant interruptions who is ankle deep in Franzia Crisp White.
I thought back to a time, several years ago, before HP and I were married, and Mindbling was my downstairs neighbor. We spent a lot of time together…we practically lived together actually. Most of our evenings were spent watching American Idol, drinking Captain and diets, and singing show tunes to each other. I was not nearly the anxiety ridden chick that I am today. I remember one night looking over at MB and asking (during a commercial break of course) if it was ok that we spent most of our free time drinking rum and watching reality tv? Should we, like, take a yoga class or something? She looked directly at me and said something I have never forgotten…”Fuck that. We have our own zen. Cheers.” Zen, indeed. Sigh. I miss those days.
Maybe guided meditation isn’t for me. I do plan to continue my quest for serenity. Maybe one day, it will lead me to be the calm, cool, and collected woman I hope to be. Or maybe it will just lead me to a giant bowl of Valium Dipped Xanax in a White Wine Reduction sauce. I am fine with either.