Anxiety

Anxiety has been a part of my life since before I had the language for it. Over the years it will wax & wane— sometimes for good reason but oftentimes (and more frustratingly) out of nowhere. In July I got really sick, or at least I felt really sick, but no trip to the ER or urgent care returned any results. In August, I had panic attacks more frequently than I’d had in years & I started to worry about the snow & how I would handle the winter blues if I couldn’t handle the summer. I got so frustrated with myself— “my life is better than ever, why can’t I just be a human?” & I forced myself to conquer fears (hi, I have stage fright but I’m gonna act in front of a bunch of strangers for the first time ever at 28) just to prove to myself that I could. The only thing that ever really helps my anxiety is yoga (mind) & eating clean (body) so I decided to commit myself to both for 30 days using the #whole30challenge (no sugar, carbs, booze, etc). To most people this was stupid (I get it) & I don’t know if these things really “cleanse” anything physical, but for me— it’s a mental reset, a challenge to conquer just so I know I can. I don’t believe any diet or lifestyle is right for every person, & I don’t believe in shoving your choices (even your good ones) down other people’s throats (sorry, crossfit friends) but I think if you can find something that fixes your shit you should make it a priority.

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Anxiety

5:32am.
No you can’t hit snooze.
Grab your phone.
Facebook says everyone is fine. Get up.
Where are your slippers?
Where are your fucking slippers!?
More people shot today; more hate and fear on tv.
Choke ’em back, go get dressed.
Look at you. You haven’t looked yet.
You don’t wanna look.
The scale fucking LIES.
The news fucking LIES.
Fuck these damn pants!
You guess you like this skirt instead.
OH SHIT! You lost track of time.
IDIOT.
Better hang your head and make the late call.
You’ve been fucking up a lot recently.
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?

NOTHING. I am human. I am worthy. I am always learning. I am always enough.

-M

The Truth

You left me. You left my love because your parents told you they’d shun you from their love if you didn’t. As if being gay is still taboo.

I’m a parent’s dream for their kid: good job, good pay, paid off my car, I don’t do drugs, I’m living on my own, I cook, clean, and repair things, I’m 23 and paid my way through a foreign country, I speak multiple languages, have a degree, great with kids and all I want is their daughter to be happy and safe. That’s my priority. Why wouldn’t you want your kid with someone like that?

I remember when we met, it was like one of those movie scenes. Time stops with you, and it feels like we are the only two people in the world. I have never loved anyone more in my life. I know it hurts you as much as it hurts me to stop this. The world accepts us and sees our love is pure. Just not your world. I wish your parents loved you enough to love who you loved.

I’m not sure how to let you go. It feels like having to decide between losing my arm or my leg. I will always want you to be part of my life. You told me to find someone who is like you but willing to fight for me. My heart has never hurt more to hear that. I know i will be ok. I’m just not ready to let you go yet.

Fixing Us

I thought I was doing the right thing, you know. In a weird way, it felt like something I had to do. I had to cut myself off – for both of our sakes, because there was nothing more I could do for you. We played the same game, fought the same fights round after round and both of us seemed to lose every time. I couldn’t bear to watch us destroy ourselves anymore. I was done, played out. Confused, exhausted, angry, hurt and everything in-between.

I’d always assumed that we’d carry on the way we were forever, you know. We were Monica and Rachel, Blair and Serena. A team. We’d walked the same paths together, lived the same things, carried each other and stood side by side and hand in hand for most of our lives.

But we began to fade. Slowly at first, but then we spiralled deeper and deeper out of control and out of love.

Maybe it was your fault.

Maybe it was mine.

I’m sure we’d blame each other.

You spoke a different language that I was tired of having to translate. Somewhere in the labyrinth of your mind, I lost my way. You changed the route – the one I was always so sure of- and I was left alone. That’s when I decided that I couldn’t fix you, and that part of me didn’t want to.

In each other’s eyes we saw different things, and I wasn’t sure I liked my own reflection.

So I gave up: on you, on us. On everything we had and hadn’t yet become. It seemed easier that way, like ripping off a plaster in one go, to just get it over with. They do say a clean cut heals faster. But ours was far from clean.

We had everything, and yet nothing to say to each other. Always hidden behind screens, terrified by the bruises we might leave. I wanted you to hear me, but the words caught in my throat and left a bitter taste on my tongue. Like disappointment. Cutting myself off from you, I thought, would stop me from getting hurt, but those same cuts ran deeper and frustration spilled from them and stained my clothes.

For the first time in my life you made me vulnerable. I was scared of myself and the things I was thinking, the way I was feeling. But most of all, I resented you. Because you didn’t do the thing I thought you would. You didn’t act the way I wanted you to,

I pushed you away because I expected you not to let me. I wanted you to choose me, to choose us.

But you didn’t.

So I stopped trying, and tried to stop caring. My wires were exposed and your hands were made of knives. It was too risky for me to take another chance and I didn’t think you were worth it anymore. You weren’t the same person, but what I failed to realise is that neither was I.

Do you know what made me come back to you? You were just as surprised as I was to see me, so suddenly and out of the blue, holding a white flag in the midst of no mans land, carefully treading over the growing cracks in our relationship and trying to build a bridge.

I remembered New Years Day, waking up alone in the bed we were supposed to share because I thought you were going to throw up from all the vodka jelly and jager you promised my mother you wouldn’t have. How you read the message from the boy I’d told I loved him the night before because I couldn’t bear to do it. The sadness in your eyes when you said it’s lovely, but I don’t think it’s what you wanted to hear. You hugged me and we drank tea and chatted over hazy memories of laughter and buttered toast on my kitchen floor. I remembered that and thought, you were the person that was there for me in one of my weakest moments. When the illusion I’d created for myself came crashing down, it was you stood with the dustpan and brush offering to sweep me up. And it made me wonder why I could do the same for you just one more time.

I’m sorry I put you on pedestal and then punished you when you couldn’t reach.

I’m sorry that I expected too much of you and I’m sorry that I left you when you needed me the most.

When we’re young, everything is so clear cut, so definite. Good and bad. Right and wrong.

But as we grow older, that line merges. The sea of morality becomes murkier, dirtier, and we can no longer see our toes in the sand underneath. We become uprooted, unstable, swept away by a tidal wave of emotion. Because we’re human. We make mistakes. It’s what we do best.

We were a tropical storm, you and I. But we passed.

I promise you that, slowly, I’ll try and fix us, but only if you promise to let me.

-Amy Beecham
To read more of Amy’s writing, visit her blog The Girl and the Words.

It’s Happening Again

It’s happening again. It’s happening again. IT IS HAPPENING AGAIN.

I am twenty-seven years old and after retracing old steps today, I realized that I have not progressed, matured, or moved on from anything that has ever happened to me.

I am five years old and alone in my neighbor’s backyard. I am surrounded by green trees and tangerines. I speak to the coy fish and my imagination leads me to the fear of Santa Claus, spiders, and sunny days.

I am still twelve, crying and alone in the school bathroom, upset that no one asked me to be in their picture. I have no friends and I spend gloomy June afternoons waiting for school to be over so I can daydream while the summer burns alive outside.

I am still fourteen, crying and surrounded by over-sexualized philistines who see me as weak, as the enemy. I run off only making things worse and wishing I were dead.

I am still seventeen, crying and sick on the phone with the boy who broke my heart. He’s trying to convince me he made the right decision, trying to convince himself he isn’t what he really is, trying to—bringing me over burritos and memories that were already dead.

I am still twenty-one, crying and screaming at my mother, threatening to jump out of the window. Words are flying out of my mouth, but they aren’t making any sense. I am pacing down the street, looking for a familiar vehicle, looking for sanity, looking for a reason not to end it all like Ben did.

I am still twenty-five, crying and mentally alone while a body sits inches from me, sitting silently and making the pain last far longer than it ever should have. The ideas run deeper this time: oven, pills, razors, overpass. I cannot stop.

I am twenty-seven, lethargic and alone, surrounded by sunny walls and cloudy thoughts. I keep returning to the same dark place. Different people pass through one door, two doors, but then you enter. You stay quiet to allow my jittery fingers to release their fears. You give me a kiss and ask if I’m all right. You tell me I’m beautiful. I take a deep breath and even though tense lips and the black wave returns, at least I was able to float on the surface for a moment.

Stacey Renberg