June 25, 2014

The View From Here: I am String Cheese

 This week is, honestly, one of those weeks when I am very happy I have a guest blogger
to fall back on for some quality content! If you have liked the Dancing in the Rain Facebook page,
you may have seen my posts all about my husband's double surgery on Tuesday.
Between that, my kids and so many logistical things to take care of,
I have not had any time or energy to write.

 So, today's View is from The Sarcasm Goddess of For the Love of Writing.
Her online persona is usually one of humor. She can be very funny indeed.
But today you will see her serious side. Her vulnerable yet brave side.

She asked me if I thought it was too depressing. It's so not depressing.
I am honored that she feels safe enough to share this side of herself here.

I am String Cheese

I am string cheese. With each pull, a layer of me is peeled away. I have left strings in the bed and in the shower. I have left strings in the closet, my hands trembling as they skim the hangers. Which clothes will conceal the strings of me that remain, the ones that, in time, will be pulled away until there is nothing left of me?

I have left strings in my yard, where the breeze blows and the birds tweet and the sun warms my face. Were I am someone else, someone of sturdier stock, like a big hunk of meat – a bone-in ribeye, perhaps – I would turn my face into the wind, look up at the blue, picture-perfect sky, and think, “What a glorious, beautiful day. Anything great and wonderful is possible.”

But when you have an anxiety disorder, you do not get to be a sturdy hunk of meat who sees a world full of promise and possibility. When you have an anxiety disorder, you get to be string cheese and your only view of the world is through doom-colored glasses.

The doom is all around you. You wake with it. Your heart races with it throughout the day. If you are lucky enough to fall asleep, it is only a matter of time – 2:12 a.m., 3:07 a.m., 4:19 a.m. – before it smacks you awake, your eyes flying open, your hands gripping the sheets.

What’s wrong? What’s happened? Something is terribly wrong. Something very bad has happened. 

Anything and everything is overwhelming. You need to go grocery shopping, check your email, brush your teeth, get dressed. It’s all too much. Another string gone.

When I told Jennifer I was interested in writing a piece for the View From Here, I had no intentions of writing about string cheese.

I was going to write about bullying. I was going to write about how unbelievably absurd it is that I, a grown woman, had to confront another grown woman about being a bully.

I was going to write about how I had ignored it for a year, thinking she’d eventually stop. She had to stop, right? I mean, seriously. No adult is actually a bully, right? That’s kid’s stuff – mean, awful kid’s stuff. But kids eventually grow up, and grown-ups practice kindness and respect and learn to appreciate each other’s differences.

But she didn’t stop. It got worse, and I knew the only way to deal with it was head on.

I was going to write about my range of emotions as her childish, petty, you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me nonsense continued throughout the year. Disbelief, to hurt, or annoyance, to dismissive, to anger, to finally sympathy. What has happened in this woman’s life, what has she been through, what is she currently going through, to make her such a nasty human being?

I was going to write about how the night before our meeting, I was nervous. What would I say? What would she say? Would she be mean to my face? Would I stutter and back down? Would I attack back? Would a knock-down, drag-out verbal brawl ensue? I hoped not. I didn’t want that. I just wanted the whole mess to be over.

Before I went to bed, I checked Facebook one last time because of course. I read a quote someone had posted, a quote I had read before, a quote that was the answer to all my questions. Some may call its timing serendipitous, fate, coincidence, luck or nothing at all. I considered it a Divine Reminder.

That was my answer. Be kind. It didn’t matter what she said or how she responded, as long as I remained kind during our conversation, everything would turn out okay.

I was going to write that I was kind and she was a liar. She twisted and denied and blamed others. It would have been comical had it not just been so sad to see a grown woman act this way. I was going to write about the peace I felt and the lessons I learned.

I was going to write about all those things but the words eluded me. The deadline was getting closer, and all I had was a blank screen, blinding and taunting with its bright white emptiness.

I hadn’t written a single word, and it was the night before my piece was due to Jennifer.

“Just write something. Anything. It doesn’t have to be brilliant or life-changing or inspiring. Just write!” I told myself this, urged my fingers to move over the keys, one letter and then the next.

But I was paralyzed. The screen remained blank.

Then tragedy struck. Not a faux-disastrous state produced by an anxiety ridden brain, but real tragedy.

Suddenly, the bully and my triumph over her mean ways no longer mattered. I didn’t want to write about her. I did not want to give her one more thought, one more modicum of energy. I didn’t want to dedicate one written word to her existence. I was confronted with what really matters. The things in life that rip your heart out. The things that cause even the strongest among us, the bone-in ribeyes, to crumble to the ground and weep.

I did not want to write about the bully, but I owed Jen a blog post. And even in the midst of tragedy, I wanted to see my commitment through.

I stood in my bathroom shedding strings while war raged inside my head.

“I can’t do this!”

“Yes you can!”

“Okay, then I don’t want to do this! I don’t want this tragedy! I don’t want to write! I don’t want to deal with any of this! I don’t want to do this life!”

“You don’t get to make that decision! This is what you have been dealt! This is the life you have been given and you will do it!”

It’s a thing I’ve been thinking lately, that I don’t want to do this life. I don’t want to die, I just don’t want to live, not this way anyway, with all this anxiety. Anxiety every day over trivial, stupid shit that leaves me completely spent and utterly inept to handle a real tragedy when it comes along.

“Here you go life, take all my strings,” I want to say. “I quit.” And I want to fade away into the blank white page of oblivion.

I would like to tell you that the war inside my head ended, with good triumphing over evil. That I put on my big girl panties and super hero cape and just sucked it up. But I didn’t. My brain reached a stalemate.  I didn’t conquer and I didn’t crumble. I brushed my teeth, climbed into bed, turned off the light. Each action propelled me to the next, not because I wanted to, but because that’s where taking steps lead you. Forward.

Morning came, and I got up, got dressed, brushed my teeth, taking more robotic steps until I was sitting in the exam room. Laughter and talking and conversations about  espresso penetrated the walls, while my world fell apart.

Tests were done, the results came back, discoveries were made. It turned out not to be a worst-case scenario tragedy, but a second-best case scenario tragedy. I was relieved and a weight was lifted.

My steps led me home again where I collapsed in bed. I looked out my window – a blue sky, bone-in ribeye kind of day, and thought what the hell am I going to write about?

I cuddled my puppies, said prayers of thanks, read my book, trolled FB and IG, was overtaken by anxiety, succumbed to exhaustion and slept.

When I awoke, the question remained: What the hell am I going to write about? My view from here is a mess. I am a mess. I am string cheese.

I cuddled my pups some more, thanking God for every wonderful second I’ve had with them, and realized – being string cheese is better than not being cheese at all.

There are days when I will leave a mountain of strings in my wake. But there will also be days when I pick a few strings up, maybe even a handful, and put pieces of me back together.

There may even be days when the anxiety goes silent and I get to be a bone-in ribeye.

The truth that I am slowly learning, when my brain quiets long enough to let me learn anything at all about this thing called life, is that it doesn’t matter what you are, just that you are.

No matter what life, or your brain, hands you, the important thing is to keep taking steps forward, to trust God, to hold close the ones you love, and to fight to make it through the best way you know how for as long as you have strings left.


"It’s a thing I’ve been thinking lately, that I don’t want to do this life."
Yeah. Me too. I admit, I told my dad the other day that I am tired of it all.

"I didn’t conquer and I didn’t crumble."
Daily. Life.

Life is freaking hard, you guys! It just is.
All of us who get up every day and put one foot in front of the other...
moving forward,,,
are doing a pretty remarkable job.

Remember that.

Now go connect with The Sarcasm Goddess on Instagram because she lives in Florida and
rocks some amazing sunset pictures! Also be sure to check out For the Love of Writing.

**If you would like to contribute YOUR voice, please contact me, or go HERE.**

No comments:

Post a Comment