Anxiety and I have been very close friends since…well…probably birth. She doesn’t just pop in on special occasions she pretty much holds my hand and blows in my ears all day, every day. She’s kind of in whirlwind mode at the moment though and I’ve been giving myself a hard time about it, until last night when I suddenly had a sort of epiphany.
Could anyone else handle the inside of my head?
Here’s the thing. This week has kind of sucked for various reasons. Mostly I’m questioning my capabilities as a mother. As usual I feel like I’m fucking up on that front but it’s a little more magnified than usual at the moment. Like holy shit please rewind ten years and make different choices kind of magnified. And then I went and did something potentially stupid: I signed myself up for a market appearance this weekend.
How awesome does a pop-up bookshop sound? Pretty damn freaking awesome, right?!
I should be so excited, but even though logically I know it is not a terrifying endeavour it’s just a small thing that will be fine and even (hopefully) better than fine considering the very real need I have for my adorable little space to actually start paying for itself now. I am not fine.
In fact, I’ve been having nightmares for days. I usually have nightmares anyway – I always have – but these ones are relentless terrifying arseholes with no chill. They sneak in every now and then when there’s a disturbance of the peace. Yes, nightmares tend to accompany even the smallest changes to my routine. Ridiculous.
And so I berate myself and my body for these reactions that I cannot control. Seemingly insurmountable fears in the face of what? It’s not even scary. It’s the business equivalent of a fluffy bunny rabbit. No? Yes…
The knot remains. I can hold myself still but I cannot shoo the knot away. It leaves in its own time.
Then last night, after giving in to the temptations of a glass of wine and calming tablets sent directly into an empty stomach, I suddenly thought: actually there must be a modicum of strength at play here… It is no small thing to fight your own demons day in and day out, their size varying from time to time but never quite dissipating altogether enough for a reprieve. I nag at myself for my fear of doctors and the complete lack of executive functioning that it would take in order to so much as consider seeking out professional help. Too many bad experiences, perhaps. If I could find the GP equivalent of our vet I might reconsider and find the will to force out the bravery. For now though I cannot.
But I am stronger that I give myself credit for. I am still here. I recently learned that the average life expectancy of someone like me is 37 years old. Well I am 37 years and 37 days old today. And I think I’m going to call that strength instead of weakness from now on.
Because you know what? I am no longer sure that “Everybody else is coping so why can’t you?” is the question I should be asking myself. Instead I’m just going to acknowledge that yeah, Nadine. Technically you can’t cope with this easily. And then the only question I’ll be asking is do I have the strength to power through anyway?
It takes strength to be this muddled up. I am no longer open to believing otherwise. Bravery has never been considered the absence of fear.
And as Georgia o’ Keeffe once said:
I have been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.
It may serve me to remember this.