Sunday, November 13, 2011

Anxiety, You Are My Cat

You nudge me awake early in the morning, wanting me to feed you.

My anxiety is a first world problem, born of too much opportunity.

Paul has said that when he pictures me in this mind--his image of me--my avatar I guess you could say, is a little girl, feet planted, arm straight outstretched, holding a knife to fight a dragon--with her eyes squeezed closed.

It is not too inaccurate--because I try very hard to slay my dragons--but I'm seldom a happy or fearless slayer.

This week I woke with anxiety on Monday, because it was the day I had to tell my supervisor that I want to apply for a position in the department that has half the hours I currently work. This is a lot less money for our household, though I would have almost the same benefits. Using the Amazon money I won, Paul and I can last for five months this way--we hope! Then I might have to look for something else. But the idea is that I can have more time to write--and to be more quickly responsive to writing opportunities that come my way. It seems like the right choice to make--I mean, who spends so much money on school and then picks--and keeps for too long-- a "safe" job that can never pay back the loans, and makes it impossible to effectively pursue the career all the money was spent for? That's lame right? Like buying a really expensive ticket to the dance, but balking when it comes to getting the right dress.

So, I did it--arm outstretched, knife pointed...but my stomach was in knots all day.

The knots had sharpened to knives by Wednesday, the day of my pre-Lasik eye exam. It was just a touch up to my left eye, and I was hoping for the best. For months I'd been setting the money aside, and thinking how great it would be to not have to wear my sunglasses over my glasses , and be able to see in yoga class again. But at the same time, I hear my mother asking why I always do these things--can't I just be happy with my glasses? And my boss says, "What it there's an earthquake in the middle of the procedure?" (to which I said, "Believe me, I've thought of that."

And I wonder-- Am I asking for too much? I was really lucky last time, and had a decade of great vision, Now I want more. Am I greedy? I am asking for more than others have, for more than anyone deserves--and will I be punished for that? Is there only a finite amount of luck in the world, and I'm using mine up faster than I should be taking certain risks.

Of course not--who believes any of that? That's like believing in ghosts.

Or furry kitten-balls of anxiety nuzzling your hair right next to your brain...

PS. Lasik went fine. 20/20 out of my left eye. It's awesome!


  1. Susan -
    I always enjoy checking in with your blog. You have a way with words and a knack for illuminating things that we all notice but sometimes fail to acknowledge. So glad to hear you're going to carve out more time to dedicate to your talent!

    I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before - but I write as well. I've written some shorts, poetry off and on for years, have a growing stack of story concepts and I'm well into a novel (psych-thriller) that has included an inordinate amount of research (began more than 2.5 yrs ago).

    I say that - to say this...

    You're obviously closing in on what any writer wants - definitely further along than I am, and I was wondering if you might have any advice regarding the path to publication and/or recognition, or at least growth. (aside from writing ability which I'm hoping I have covered).

    Similarly, I manage a very busy life - self-employed, two teenage kids, my fair share of household and family stresses, etc... and I constantly battle the urge to put down everything and write. If anxiety is your cat, frustration is mine - the kind that gets under your feet and likes to sleep on your face.

    I'm not trying to learn any magic shortcuts or anything (I know better) - but if you have any pointers that would head me in the RIGHT direction as opposed to jumping unprepared down rabbit holes - I would be very grateful!

    Jeff S.

  2. Wow--Jeff, that is the first time anyone has asked me that, and it kind of knocks me for a loop! I want to really think about it--but I will be getting back to you about this...