Our babysitter pointed out that I keep threatening to have her over so Z and I can go on a date and it never happens. She was scheduled for late Wednesday afternoon and offered to stay longer than we needed so Z and I could grab dinner out. I was all set to tell her thanks, but no thanks. But I paused for a minute and thought about it. There were leftovers in the fridge for the boys’ dinner. Z and I don’t spend nearly enough time alone. He is leaving in about a month for a month. Why wouldn’t I say yes?
So after therapy we drove back home, ditched the cars in the driveway, and I linked my arm through his as we moseyed over to the self-proclaimed “Gastropub” that opened around the corner last fall. The restaurant was nearly empty which is perfect for someone with agoraphobic tendencies. And there is a big part of the problem. I’d make it more of a priority to go out with Z if going out wasn’t so damned hard for me.
A few weeks ago my parents, sister, and I gathered in the lobby of our hotel before getting in the car to head to my Uncle’s funeral. It ended up being a wonderful day full of love and family and hard goodbyes and gratefulness. As we were getting ready to head out the door I turned to my sister and said, “What is it like not being scared to go to an event?” She encouraged me and pointed out how great it was going to be to see everyone. But I was actually asking the question seriously. What is it like to not feel shackled by fear? Because every time I leave the house I wonder for at least a moment about how I can get out of whatever I’m doing. Even if it is something I enjoy. Before every class I have an excuse email composed in my head for my teacher. I have to force myself out the door and ignore the voice in my head that tells me I’m going to humiliate myself by participating in life.
Of course the vast majority of the time I end up enjoying what I’ve been dreading. I don’t humiliate myself. I feel glad I’ve engaged. Even when the experience outside the safety of my home is just sort of ok I’m proud of myself for doing it. Until I stop and realize that being proud of yourself for going to the grocery store is pathetic.
I’m embarrassed that the anticipatory anxiety disorder has made me into such a fearful person. I hate that I torture myself after every human interaction, sure that the person doesn’t like me, or that I said something offensive. And during a time when our marriage has taken a necessary backseat to getting through the overwhelming task of dealing with two toddler aged sons I despise that the disorder makes me even less likely to fight for time with Z.
During our meal we talked about having a quick date after every therapy session. “It’s like therapy after therapy.” Z said. Yup. And every bit as valuable as well as excellent motivation in terms of facing my fears about leaving the house.
Tomorrow morning Z and I are driving to New York. I am so excited for the trip. I am so scared of the trip. I hate that I want to bail on something I know is going to be incredible. But I’m fucking doing it. Even if it takes a truckload of imodium and lorazepam I am getting in that car. How is that for romance?
When T and I got our hair cut a few weeks ago I showed this picture to Z. “Is that the woman who cuts your hair?” he asked. “Um, no Zeke….it’s me.” He insists it looks nothing like me. I fear that after nearly 15 years together he wouldn’t be able to pick me out of a lineup.
Naked snack time!
He is obsessed with Disney Princesses right now.