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April 16, 2024

Things that give me Anxiety.

{*Did you know you can write on Elephant? Here’s how—big changes: How to Write & Make Money or at least Be of Benefit on Elephant. ~ Waylon}

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“I haven’t written anything for months on end. Nothing.” I say to my friend when he prompts me to write things down as we end our conversation. “It almost feels like I have so little to say, and my head is like a bag full of puzzle pieces and I don’t even know if they are making up a single puzzle or are just an eclectic mix of leftovers.”

And then he says: “One of the toughest challenges that people face in their creative pursuits is imagining what other people would think of their work, imagining how they would shake their heads, call it child-like, or laugh it off. If you just tell yourself you are doing it for no other reason than to put words on a paper, without the need for it to turn into anything specific, this might help. Writing is a beautiful way of gaining perspective.”

And so eight months in here it goes:

Things that give me Anxiety

>> Lists. In particular the one that includes “book dentist due to clenched jaw and teeth grinding.”

>> Alerts about school projects. Especially those I know or care little about: “the reign of Elizabeth I” or “Roman Legionaries” or anything to do with friction. There is no greater friend to self-judgment than a 43-year-old woman realizing she is struggling with the year-three curriculum of a seven-year old.

>> Alerts about World Book Day dress-up.

>> Tears from my youngest in her school uniform after World Book Day because I took the word “optional” after the words “dress-up” literally.

>> Alerts about after-school club bookings going live at a particular time that collides with other alerts.

>> The realization that I booked kids theatre tickets on the weekend I am meant to be away and “relaxing.”

>> A prescription for my daughter’s rash medication that is facing supplier problems.

>> Work emails starting with “Just a gentle reminder….”

>> Someone scheduling a work lunch…anyone/anytime.

>> Opening the drawer with “the toiletries” and outdated medicine, daily, in search of anything that could somehow be required to leave the house reasonably kempt.

>> Parents’ evenings.

>> Parents’ workshops.

>> The school boiler being broken in December.

>> When one of my children has a fever over 39 degrees.

>> When I have a fever.

>> When I open the freezer and there are no frozen peas left.

>> When I open the freezer to ram something in and there is no space left.

>> When the freezer is full because bits of ice are hanging down the top like obese stalactites taking up a third of the already limited shelf space.

>> Thinking about defrosting the freezer and expending 30 percent of my daily energy trying to blank this spine-tingling thought from my mind: me with a hair dryer blowing into the unplugged freezer trying not to electrocute myself whilst bits of melting berries discolour the kitchen table. A race against time.

>> Every day I open the front door and realise the key gets stuck without moving.

>> When none of the four items I ordered from H&M fit, and instead of contentment, I am left with the dread that I have to repackage and queue at the post office.

>> Looking at that package for days.

>> The guilt of repackaging and reposting said items and my contribution to climate change and plastic waste.

>> Looking at the grime at the bottom of my kids’ electric toothbrushes.

>> Looking at my daughter’s grown-up teeth breaking through sideways.

>> Thinking about private orthodontist bills.

Then all of a sudden, I notice my children have fallen asleep either in my arms or in their beds and I turn my head or sneak it through the door and listen to their little sniffled breaths, mouths half open, arms and legs outstretched like starfish, with that natural ease only kids have and love breezes in and wraps me and my anxiety in a crumpled and beautiful little package and I think “It’ll be okay” and my shoulders let down some. “It’ll all work itself out.”

Then at 6.45 a.m., the alarm goes off with an overly enthusiastic ringtone sarcastically entitled “Presto!” and before I open my eyes, I lift my fingers to my jaw and think, “Ouch, why is this so tight?”

~

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