I’m being taken over by the fear.
Anyone else freak out a little when they get some of their needs met?
Yeah ... me either.... 😳
As I sit here writing this, I am aware of the spot in the middle of my chest which all this year has alternatively felt very tight while my heart races, or felt like a gaping sinkhole while I stare at the wall.
Pandemic. Friends getting sick. Global panic. Political unrest. Family members dying. Funerals missed. Travel plans cancelled. Gigs cancelled. Virtual school. Trauma triggers everywhere. New traumas everywhere. Deep dives into trauma to heal it. Perpetual exhaustion. Delays and delays and delays. Saying no to the hugs you so desperately need.
Even before this horrendous year, I had grown strangely comfortable with constant stress. No, not comfortable, but familiar. It’s like a worn-out blanket that you probably should have gotten rid of ages ago but you’re so used to it. Then again, there is a smell to it that won’t wash out, and with that many holes, how much of a blanket *is* it, really? And I know, Nana gave it to you — these patterns have been passed down from generation to generation as “culture” and “tradition” and “family traits.” It would be disrespectful to get rid of it.
I’m stretching the metaphor a bit. Let me offer another one.
For months, I have felt the sensation of being tied to a truck that is moving a little too fast but not so fast I can’t stay on my feet. And it just keeps driving. And I keep running and not falling over. I might be bloodied and weeping, but I’m still going. I’m still functioning. It feels awful.
And then, once in a while, I ask for a thing I need ... and get it. The truck slows down. Someone gives me a drink or a tissue or a bandage.
This is wild to me, because that hasn’t been my experience historically. I’m used to asking (or thinking I’m asking but just hinting, or trying to telepathically communicate — thanks, codependency) and not getting what I need. In the past, I subconsciously tended to surround myself with people I knew couldn’t follow through, because a piece of me liked being needed. And even as I’ve worked to shift that, I still expect people to not show up; we are all human, after all, and can only do what we can do. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to feel sad and abandoned and hurt when it happens.
But those feelings — sadness, abandonment, hurt — are known quantities. When the truck slows down suddenly, I stay moving for a while. I find myself reeling and buzzing from the constant motion that was my reality. Things feel a little better. At first I’m relieved. Then I’m terrified.
Stressed has been my identity. Who am I now? Was it even that bad? Maybe I made it up. I must have made it up. I don’t deserve this relief. How can I go back to running? Start the truck. At least that’s familiar. This is uncomfortable.
I have to remind myself that just because something is uncomfortable, that doesn’t make it dangerous. You know what is dangerous? Getting dragged behind a truck. Eventually, you will trip.
You didn’t make it up, friends. It did and does suck that bad. It was and is that big of a problem. So if you have an old ratty blanket like I do, let’s Marie Kondo that shit. Nana wouldn’t want you continually wrapping yourself in something that hurts you.
You deserve any good moment that comes your way, this year of all years. You deserve any kindness you can give yourself. And you deserve the chance to safely ask for what you need. If you need help, I can listen.
It’s worth it. I promise. You’re worth it. ❤️ — M
In honor of Friday the 13th, last week’s SpotiFriday LIVE had a theme of luck, fears, and superstitions. For those unlucky enough (hehe) to miss it, you can rewatch Dann’s half and Mary’s half, then give a listen to the companion Spotify playlist below.
Here are some steps we’re taking to fight systemic injustice this week, and we encourage you to join us:
Mary & Dann