Monthly Archives: January 2019

Tennis Loss Number _____

Tonight, in semi-collapsing fashion, I lost a totally inconsequential tennis match that, of course, meant a little more to me than it should have, and it’s amazing how even while ruing the loss in a minor way, the emotion of losing, or the stunted adrenaline, or whatever, kindly shoves me into darkness so that I’m thinking of everything that’s wrong with my life, everything I’ve failed to accomplish, the bleak future, and so on. And I wonder if I was hoping that a win would occlude these thoughts for a moment or two, if I’m putting off something painful with these little distractions, or if it’s just the tumbling nature of the brain using the mood to fold in on itself and leap from catastrophe to catastrophe. The last time I really fought anxiety, hard, the silver lining was that it pushed me into a new phase, and of course like anyone else I’m eager to frame something painful as something salutary, the dubious blessing in disguise, and so to some extent I believed then and still believe that some internal mechanism was driving me forward, saying “swim or perish.” And I wonder if something similar is happening now, and if it is, whether I have the energy to answer the demand, and what it means if I don’t. And so I spin myself around, all because I lost a stupid tennis match.

Am I good at the things I need to be good at? Am I secure? Am I doing what I was meant to do? Are my failures minor enough not to become slow disasters? The impossibility of knowing where this is heading has me feeling vulnerable.

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Anxiety, Part ____

Woke up today ruminating on topics ridiculous in their smallness, and standing over two fried eggs a few moments later thought, “this could be a hard day.” It is a core belief that I am more resilient than these passing demons, but even so the cycle of fear and relief can be tiring. I’m on day 12 of a punishing diet which always brings these feelings to the surface, and along with them the fear that I’m battling a real addiction (to food), and that the addiction drowns the emotions that are now free to rise. In other words, choose between a life where you grow increasingly fatter and one where you play-act at composure while assuming the fetal position in your brain. Everybody out of the house when I finally rose, and calls/texts went unanswered, which in my current state triggered fears of fatal crashes and mass shootings and hostage situations. Then a text arrived—relief. And now the fear marshals its resources again…

I’m a big believer in not getting to the bottom of problems like these, in the same way that I’m a believer in not poking around in a snake’s nest, but I can’t help but speculate on mornings like these. Is it the gift of genetics only, the stress of our political situation, or just the mysterious certainty that bad times are coming coupled with the cursed hope that maybe, in fact, they’re not? How does a boy with all the advantages and none of the trauma grow into a man who instead of waking on a day like today embracing the joy of a brief life, instead finds himself bracing for impact?

But I don’t want answers, and I want the process of finding answers even less. Hidden caprice is my best friend, so I’ll drift along until my brain or the universe changes its mind, giving one or both a nudge here or there, and trying only to solve the simpler mysteries like: How to refrain from excessive food and drink without making yourself eligible for a straitjacket?

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