Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No crazies

I just realized something. I'm stressed. I'm overbooked. I'm overworked. I'm taxed. But for the first time in four years of high school dance shows, I'm not anxious.


I can't tell you how big a realization this is for me. It's the month before my show. I'm supposed to be crazy right now, right? No. Life is crazy. But me? I'm just stressed, overbooked, overworked, taxed, TIRED. But no crazies. No chest-tightening, heart-racing, hand-clammying crazies. How the HECK did that happen?

I think I got so used to living with anxiety that it's taken me a while to notice that right now, it's not there. Wowie zowie. I'm not talking about anxiety for normal people. I'm talking about the kind that makes you feel like it's panic time, all the time. My old friend.

So what's changed? Well, I've made all kinds of gut-wrenching choices to simplify life, for one. It makes a huge difference right now to have a lot of the normal stuff off my plate. Knowing this is my last show lifts a big ol' weight. Not choreographing/teaching for Staff GQ this year? Whew. I miss those ladies, but I know enough to know that I wouldn't be able to take that right now too. I have an assistant with the company at school--God bless her--who is really helping to keep me sane this year. Worth her weight in gold. I had to say no to dancing with CORE this year, even though sometimes I miss it like a piece of my soul is missing. No more masters program. No more extra committees and meetings I don't have to attend. *sigh* I'm learning to say no. Or learning to say please help me. I hate doing it, but it lightens the load, which makes everything more palatable.

Truly, I think that not carrying around my little anxiety buddy right now comes from the crud of the last six months. In the weeks leading up to our separation and decision to divorce, I felt like a scared animal. Or a kid who had gotten called to the Principal's office. I don't mean I felt like this sometimes, I felt like that nonstop. I had a constant feeling of icy yuck at my sternum that made my fingers numb. Fear. Nerves. Agitation of hands. Call it what you want. I had no more choices. I had no way to fix my situation. And then when we decided to end things--Good Lord--I've never been so despondent, and despondency meant more anxiety. But I got through, in a variety of ways, medical, therapeutical, spiritual, and personal. I had to be in the crud to get through it.

I'm just not chased around by that fear-feeling all the time right now. When I rest now, I rest. I breathe. I read. I sleep. I play. I couldn't do that before. I couldn't turn the crazies off. E would see it coming and he'd know even before I would. All it would take was one trigger and I'd be in anxious-mode for four days. Either running scared, or unable to get out of bed because I was so overwhelmed by life. I know it's still inside me, waiting to come out if I let things get too far out of my control. But I feel better knowing that I have some tools to curb it.

I keep harping on this, but because of the recent work we've been doing, E and I have been able to figure out how to talk to each other and how to listen to each other. We're going to be working at that for a long time, but we're each saying to the other one that they're worth trying. Such a basic skill. Such a deficiency in our relationship for so many years. Communication has helped me to feel like I can reach him, like I can access his feelings, and like I am heard and understood when it matters. I have an ally. Communication has helped me to stop feeling that fight-or-flight feeling. Communication. What a concept. Who'da thunk it.

It's hard to define how different it is now. By "it," I mean me. I feel myself, as Carl Sandburg said, "search[ing] for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and unknowable." My angst came from feeling unheard, misunderstood, and alone. And overworked, overbooked, and stressed, and all that. But now there's an out. And somebody's looking at me now, telling me all the time that I am worth staying for. Fighting for. Talking to. (Ending sentences with. Haha... Just wanted to drive any of y'all grammarians crazy.) But you kwim. (Lis: kwim= know what I mean.)

I guess it's spill your dirt week on my blog. And why not? All the things that have been struggles in my life--embarrassing, difficult, hide-under-a-rock-worthy struggles--are not unique to me. This one included. So there you go.

Searching for syllables,

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