On the walk to school yesterday I called my Mom and asked her for a pep talk. We were going on a field trip to a small organic farm about 40 minutes away. Under the best circumstances I would be freaking out. I feel completely out of control when I have to take transportation with a group, particularly when there isn’t a bathroom involved. I feel trapped, sure I’ll have an IBS event or an anxiety attack, sure I’ll make a huge fool out of myself in front of the group. I was freaking out and to make matters worse I had developed the worst cold I’d had in ages. I am a gigantic baby. I don’t handle being sick at all. I bitch, I moan, I tell Z he needs to send for the National Guard. All day I’d been telling myself that there was no way I could go on this trip. Right up until I walked out the door I was positive I’d text my friend who is teaching the class to bail. But I didn’t. I left the house and started walking and called my Mommy. Then I called my sister. They both said all the right things. I went on the field trip and I was pretty damn proud of myself.
Mental illness is such a fucking bitch. I act “normal” so much of the time that I fool even myself into believing I am. Then I screw up the courage to do something like sign up for a class and all the sudden I remember how intense the crazy really is. As I told Z about the class and how much I wanted to take it the voice in my head was telling me there was no way I could do it. As I was at the window in the University College office building registering the voice in my head was telling me there was no way I could do it. As I was arranging the child care the voice in my head was telling me there was no way I could do it. As I walked to school that first day the voice in my head told me there was no way I could do it.
Well, fuck that voice. I totally did it. The first week it felt like I climbed Mount Everest. Unfortunately then the voice told me that I was pathetic for being excited about managing to take a class, something that was not a big deal to most people. She told me that I was sad and embarrassing for celebrating such a teeny tiny success. I’ve gotten used to the fact that the voice is going to rag on me no matter what it is I do. It sucks, the anxiety sucks. But sometimes stuff sucks. As long as I’m fighting the suckage, acknowledging that it exists, that it isn’t going away, working on telling it to go fuck itself, as long as I’m fighting back I’m doing ok.
I take imodium before every class. The first week my babysitter, who is a sophomore at school, told me the shortest way to walk there. It involves a hill that is pure evil. That first day I barely managed the hill, arrived to class a gross sweatball, but I did not shit my pants at school, damn it. Therefore I’m stuck walking that way for the rest of the semester even though I’d like to take a slightly longer yet much flatter route. To walk any other way would jinx my shitless pants record in my anxiety addled mind. I’m accepting that the routine might be helping me manage the anxiety. The huge hill is part of my Wednesdays.
And screw that stupid shrew in my head, I’m proud of myself for going on the trip yesterday. It wasn’t exactly fun. We harvested winter squash in a field for an hour and a half. It was hard work, my cold didn’t help matters. But it was honest work. It made a pretty important point about the kind of labor that is involved in bringing our food to our tables. It would have been a loss if I’d missed it. I did something that was incredibly hard for me, something even further outside my comfort zone than taking the class in the first place. Damn straight I’m proud of myself.
This is most of what we picked. There were about 10 of us and I think it’s fair to say we were all pretty proud of ourselves.
This was my 12th anniversary present to Z. A silk bow tie from the 50s. He’s very dashing it it…
The first year of my boy’s lives I basically dressed them in pjs all the time. Now that C is older I’ve been putting real clothes on him. Can’t get over how cute they look.