Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It's Been, Uh, 25 Years Since My Last Confession?

Phobias! I have a few. I'm not proud of them, but I'm not ashamed of them either. If I'm ever going to surmount them, I need to talk about them, and the place where I blabber about everything else seems like a good place to start.

There's one chronic condition I'm dealing with, and I'm sure there's a scientific name for it, but I call it Steel Magnolias syndrome, because if you've ever seen this movie (spoiler alert for, uh, no one) you know that Julia Roberts's character drops dead while alone with her infant son and her husband comes home to find her expired in front of the open refrigerator and the baby is screaming and it's the saddest, awfullest thing. Since HR was born I have had this fear that something's going to happen to me while on HR watch, leaving him in danger and permanently traumatized. When he's tucked in his crib for the night or even a nap it's not so bad, because even if he wakes up he's in a safe place until Mike gets home (or until he learns how to get out, which is imminent). But when it's just the two of us, even when I'm not actively thinking of it, it's in the back of my mind. And that's exactly why the headaches have sent me right around the bend, because all I can think is that whatever they might be symptomatic of will strike only at a time when I'm alone with my child. Ridiculous. Irrational. But here we are. Becoming a mother is the best thing I've done in my life, but it's also opened up this whole new wing of neuroses in my brain. I think it's probably common, but man, just, man.

Another big one, and probably the most debilitating, is my fear of driving. Not every day, getting-from-here-to-there driving. I'm cool on my commute, I can even handle traffic with no problem. I mean a lot of swearing's involved, but I'm not afraid. It's just that every time I've had to drive on a highway in the past decade I've been sure I would pass out from a panic attack. I never have obviously, but as soon as I let myself think about what I'm doing when I'm doing it, I get that feeling of "unreality" and overthink and start to hyperventilate and it's terrible. So I go to great lengths to never have to drive. Luckily most places I go Mike is also going and doesn't mind the driving. But that's not the point of it. It's limiting, and makes me feel weak and disappointed in myself. I know if I had to do it, I could. But I don't want to. I can't point to how this one developed, all I know is, I want to get over it before my child is old enough to notice. As it is, on those occasions that Mama is in the drivers' seat, HR's world is completely shaken because it's out of the ordinary. I don't want a mother who drives to seem like some exotic thing.

Then there's wild animals. Most of them. I have nightmares about being attacked by raccoons, skunks, rats. Stray cats even. That they're on me and I can't fight them off. I'm not afraid of them killing me or anything, it's the idea of them touching me that I can't even handle. And it's not like I can chalk it up to being a city kid. I grew up in the sticks, not the deep woods, but in a place where I should be able to handle some varmints rooting around under the shed. Alas, no. I would be the worst survivalist of all time.

I'm sure there's more but those are the big ones. The common denominator here is that I'm scared of situations in which I have no control. Which is probably the root of the majority of fears out there. And now that I have a kid, there's that extra layer of really wanting to get over everything because I don't want to set a bad example for him. It's important for him to know, eventually, that his parents are human and vulnerable. It's important for him to know that it's OK to be afraid, also that there's no bravery if there's no fear. But I don't want him to be ruled by fears. And I remember a real struggle, a pit-of-the-stomach lurch, any time I realized my parents didn't have all the answers. That they had emotions and fears and couldn't protect me from every single thing. It's a valuable lesson to learn, but it can also hurt if you're very sensitive and anxious like I was as a child. There's a balance to be found here, and as always I'm seeking it. For the moment, the cleansing feeling of getting all that out was good enough. But it's a work in progress. I'm not a fearful person, in general. I'm used to living my life above what scares me. And when anxiety creeps in and threatens to take over, it pisses me off. Anxiety is for the birds.

Something I'm anxious about in a good way: the rise of Kendrick Lamar. LOVE this kid. Love him.

No comments:

Post a Comment