Once upon a time, like on Thursday, I went to a girls night office gathering at a local bar.
I was THIS CLOSE to NOT, but then I felt bad when the front desk receptionist asked if I was going so they could save table space, so I said yes. When I got to the place, it was packed. Beyond packed. I found my coworkers and tried to make small talk while looking at a menu filled with things I can’t eat, all while continuously eying the door.
The woman I was sitting closest to — no longer with our office, but one whom I meet with semi-regularly because she’s awesome — kept asking me if I was okay. “I’m fine,” I repeatedly answered, because that was the truth … for my gut. My gut was fine. “But there’s something going on with you,” she insisted, and it made me laugh. Oh, God, my super power is supposed to be looking calm and collected on the outside when there’s a riot going on inside, and apparently she saw right through that shit.
(Are you guys offended by bad words, incidentally? I work in a newsroom so I swear a lot — sorry, Mom — but I don’t usually write in swear words. I don’t know, I’m feeling salty today I guess.)
Anyway, the moral of that is I confessed that I was feeling anxious: About the menu, about the crowd and the noise, about Abby coming home on the train for Thanksgiving break, about work deadlines being so ^*%^$$^& unreasonable and how I almost didn’t come. I didn’t go into detail, but my friend is wonderful and said, “You should go then. We will meet up, just us, soon.”
What a gift, seriously. To be understood like that. I did stick around for another few minutes before making my leave. I came home, microwaved one of my Trisha-friendly freezer meals I’d made earlier, curled up by the wood stove with a book, and enjoyed the quiet house (as Eric and Jo were at basketball practice). It was fantastic.
Anyway, I went to acupuncture Friday afternoon and was talking about how I’ve been doing in the past month. It’s part acupuncture, part therapy. And I retold the story above.
My acupuncturist was like, “I’m going to give you some advice, and it’s only two words so it’s easy to remember: Don’t endure.”
And I was like, “That is brilliant.”
I am an introvert and a people-pleaser. That’s not bad on either account, but it does mean that a lot of my stress and overwhelm is completely self-inflicted. And I’m trying to accept that about myself — that I know I need to take better care of my mental and emotional health but often choose not to.
Case in point: I wanted to go home and read after a long and tiring day at work, but chose to walk into a crowded bar instead. I chose to give myself a panic attack, basically.
So that’s what I’m thinking about this week and working towards. It’ll take longer than a week, but I can lay some groundwork, anyway. And I’ve got “Don’t endure” notes all over my journals.
P.S. We picked Abby up from the train station on Saturday morning, and we get to keep her until Sunday. YAY.