Just wanted to mention quickly that I had that metaphorical baby and it was totally worth the metaphorical labour pains. When I faced the fear and did the scary thing, I couldn’t find anything to be scared of. I can totally grow into the sort of person who can do said scary things regularly, and by stepping out of my comfort zone, I’ve expanded it a little. A lesson worth remembering!
Today has been one of the worst anxiety days in recent memory. It has felt to me like everything is too hard, and that all I can focus on is surviving another few minutes. I re-read this post I wrote on all the things I learned in group therapy (an absolutely golden read, by the way), and it reminded me of how strong I am, and how many tools I have at my disposal if only I can muster the strength to use them rather than flinch away from that which threatens to overwhelm me. Many times at work today I very nearly went home, or felt incapable of staying to try and care about other people as I fell into a whirlpool of anxiety. I stayed with it though, forcing myself to at least try to stay in the centre rather than get caught up in the current. It’s been hard though, so hard.
I have yearned for comfort today, so much so that it’s physically hurt. When I got home and started playing Dragon Age, I went from “just trying to survive” to realising that I was not well, not even remotely well, that I had utterly lost track of my sense of wellness.
I didn’t stay in my comfort zone for long. I put down the controller and I went to taiji for the first time since I broke my finger. To my surprise I could feel my anxiety before and after the class, despite all the fun and exercise I had during the actual lesson. Tomorrow I plan to continue moving past my comfort zone, away from that which I am craving. In a way, it’s not dissimilar to my colleague who used to use drugs, or smoke when she was trying to deal with trauma resurfacing. I am watching my yearning for comfort and video games rise, and I am trying to be okay with it.
I’ve talked about waves of anxiety before. To use the analogy of a tidal wave coming on the beach, my body instinctively runs away from it in search of shelter or higher ground. Yet for reasons I can’t explain, I know that if I let the wave hit me I will discover something great, like I have the ability to breathe underwater. So I drag my screaming body back to the beach and sit down and make sandcastles or something to pass the time. Every now and then I freak out and run away, and each time I catch myself and gently bring myself back so that I can face the wave.
To use another analogy I just thought of in the car, I feel like I’m giving birth. Not literally of course. But I’m scared, and I’m sweating, and I’m hurting, and I’m tired, and it’s just so hard. I don’t want to keep pushing, I just want to lie down and be comforted and have it stop. But if I do that, I have a feeling that whatever I’m birthing, this metaphorical baby, will die. If I can just muster the strength to push a little longer, to keep trying despite this brickwall I’ve slammed up against, the breakthrough I have will be something unfathomably valuable and beautiful. And as hard as it is, I think it will be worth it.
It’s been exactly three weeks since Beth and I first got the keys to our new place. For the first time in nearly eight years of dating, we’re living together on a long-term basis. Previously we’ve had a few stints of housesitting for a couple of weeks at a time, and all of those were awesome. It’s just as fun living together now in this beautiful townhouse we’re renting, and I look forward to every moment with her. I think we’re still in that honeymoon phase where everything is exciting, especially the mundane. It gives me so much joy to turn on the washing machine we bought and installed ourselves. The vacuum cleaner (a Dyson – my God, what a beautifully functional piece of art) is a convenient pleasure to use, and I’ll happily vacuum a couple of times a week. I just bought a mop, a beautiful one made of recycled-plastic, and it gives me so much happiness to see it in the corner of the house. It’s just so awesome being able to say “See that mop? It’s ours. We bought it.” I think part of the excitement is because all of this is mundane; I feel so happy that we’re having these ordinary experiences that only come to people who live in a house of their own. (Well, I say it like we own the place but it does feel like that most of the time.)
In truth, I’ve never felt more at home anywhere than in this beautiful den Bethwyn and I have worked so hard to create. (It’s mainly her doing, truth be told.) The lanterns running along the stairs, the salt lamp by the coffee table and the comfortable nook under the stairs make for a very cosy entertainment area. The dining table is small but suits our needs as an mail, oracle card, crystal and incense holder (with the very occasional meal eaten there second). Our kitchen has a shiny new induction stove-top, which has had challenges and adventures of its own, all of which bring me great joy. Upstairs, the feeling is very different; it is light and air. There is so much space (enough to make my sword stand feel like it really is being displayed, not just shoved in a corner), and I love that we’re able to fit both of our computer desks in the study. (When we’re typing, our cherry blue and cherry brown mechanical keyboards really do sound like a beautiful clackophony! “Click-click-clack-clack!”) We bought a new shower curtain for the bathroom and the counter is almost completely clear with all of our stuff being stored in containers we bought and built ourselves.
So much work has gone into making this house a home, and it couldn’t be more perfect. I hope we live here for a long time, and when Beth and I buy a place, it has the same spirit as this one. Such happy days abound <3