Apr 30, 2013

The quality of anxiety

You know those ten ton anxiety bombs that fall whistling out of nowhere and level you emotionally? Good for you, if the answer is 'No, you loser!'. I'm sweeping up the debris from more than a few such recent collisions, even as I ponder better evasion techniques.

That visceral sting of anxiety was recently described by my freind
Shreya thus:
And though it's just an infinitesimal blot in the big picture of our lives, while it's happening, it feels like a free-fall into forever.

A 'free-fall into forever'.
Way to nail that feeling of being sucked inside-out, or have your emotional muscles spasm and squeeze the air out of your very being. There are few situations in most of our average lives that truly justify such gut wrenching reactions, yet most of us get suckered into it anyway. At least, I do: trivial freak-outs that embarass me once I recover from my tailspin and regain some perspective.
Here are a few recent ones that led to some surprising non-epiphanies. By that, I meant that I rediscovered insights that would ordinarily fall under the umbrella of ‘The Bleeding Obvious’ but that I had somehow forgotten about.
Mis-attribution of the spousal kind:  The husband posted a link to a song full of bitterness towards women on a common friend's FB thread about International Women's day. My heart hammered out, in accelerating rhythm, that his diatribe-by-proxy was directed solely at me instead of being the lighthearted exchange of meaningless banter that it really was. A couple of hours of feeling stung later, I’d exhausted enough of my high dudgeon for this sheepish realization to dawn (and I've had it more often than I'd like to admit lately): it isn't ALWAYS about me.
I need to hold onto that one. It's not as much a disappointment as it is a liberation: freedom from bearing responsibility for other peoples' emotions. Especially when they didn’t even ask me to.

Over-critical critique I think I may have over-harshly critiqued the writing of two friends whom I admire as writers, in my writing group. Part of the mandate of the group is to work on writing style so it was not completely out of line but perhaps I let myself go a bit too much with these two gals.
One clammed up, giving me devastatingly guilty pause to consider if I'd broken her spirit when she had articulated and shared her thoughts with such brave conviction and trust. The other fought back articulately and convincingly from the corner I'd backed her into, making me feel like a heel for putting her there when she is so many miles more talented than I'd ever hope to be. The Fighter assured me she bended but didn't break and that my crtique was as constructive as it was harsh. The Quiet One has me still looking for the self-flagellating penance equipment I'd recently retired. She has lately been palling around with me on FB so I'm hopeful for a reprieve there too. I hold her dear.
But again, this sobering and liberating realization:
I do not have the power I think I do over others. I will rarely, if ever, make or break them with my words or thoughts. Phew!

Squeamish about romance
An honest discussion with a freind who is in emotional flux, over what he desires in his relationships by way of 'romance' birthed doubts about what 'romance', if any, there was in mine. Even more bone-chilling, the realization that I had given up on it as had hubby (who was also part of said discussion).
Another squeeze of my heart and the cold chill of sudden certainty that the marriage was dead in the water. Followed by a brief exchange with hubby that helped the sun start to break through. Turns out that though neither of us have any of the popularly defined visions of 'romance' within our sight or memory, we've fair dollops of what makes us happy in our own closely matched definitions. The occasional 'good' conversation, exchanging hidden smiles over the antics of our whimsical progeny, sharing evanescent pleasures like the play of light'n'shade in a photograph and debating the alchemy of our favorite show that so deftly weaves cheesy drama with a rare idealism. On reflection, there have been overtly romantic moments too, though we did'nt waste time savoring the implict romanticism at the time and engaged in the moment instead. The postcard image that comes to mind is the worldess wonder of driving down a swooping, looping road in the Cape Breton hills of Nova Scotia last summer to suddenly come upon a snug little fishing cove, silvery in the sunshine. Or a giggling, stumbling moonlight walk in the forest on a camping trip after downing a half bottle of scotch, me trying to attribute
'the moon was a ghostly galleon in the sky' (while not falling down) to Hawthorne while he remembers it was really Tennyson even as he narrowly misses walking into a towering spruce. What's romance after all, if it isn't bumbling drunkenly around while spouting dubious poetry together and sharing a bottle of Gatorade the next morning for the hangover?

Cathartic rant over.

My position as the champ of over-thinking and senseless-worrying is undefeated and secure.
But I will have some hope, I think, as long as I let these things into the light of the day and free up my over-crowded mind for other, better thoughts.


No comments:

Post a Comment