My anxiety’s name is Ann. She is loyal and licentious. She is envious. She commandeers my joyful moments and replaces them with doubt. I call her Ann because “Ann”xiety (duh), but also I often have to remind myself that she is simply Ann emotion. She is not me; nor does she represent me. She does not have the final say because she is disobedient, ruthless, and deceitful. She has no one’s best interest at heart, other than her inconsolable friends depression and despair. She is simply an emotion that forces me to be intentional with my steps. She is separate. She is there, and I tip toe around her hoping she won’t see. But I also stomp my feet with purpose, unafraid of if she hears. Some days I feel her close like an itch I just can’t spot. Some days I tie her tightly and throw her out with all the rot. She will return, and that is fine. She is an emotion. She is excited by another. She is not me.
It feels like tears welling when I think too much and when I think too little. It feels like closing the door to keep it all, everything, out there and simultaneously yearning for someone to open the door, all the while knowing that if they do I don’t have the words to explain why I closed the door in the first place. It feels like being the outsider even though my name entitles me to this home, even though this home has felt to be just that for years before. It feels like a buzzing in my ears instead of the clear articulations spoken by the ones in front of me. What did you say again? It feels like trying to refocus again and again and again. It feels like forgotten prayers or even prayers that never come, like words that sit heavily on my eyelids, coaxing me to sleep, and then waking in the morning with hopes that God is a mind or dream-reader, surely he has known all along. It feels like going to bed too early and rising too late, with muscles that ache from the exercise I never got, with doughy guilt sitting in my gut expanding more and more. It feels like a silent house is yelling at me. It feels like Fear and Anxiety are my best friends, more loyal than I can comprehend. It feels like fingers crossed that I will not be noticed or addressed directly. It’s a discomfort that I want to describe to you, but as soon as my voice leaves my tongue, that sing-song speech well-practiced and fine-tuned, to meet your eyes, I know you have misunderstood. My depths are not your depths. I’ve confused you with my disguises so I leave it be again.
I’m sitting at the public library trying to work but mostly listening to Good Ol’ Country Boy talk Librarian’s ear off. She responds to his long trivial sentences with one word, sometimes no word at all but only a hmmm of acknowledgement. She sounds beyond bored. I myself have looked over at him at least four times, as if to say this is a library and you’re speaking too loudly. He doesn’t catch on. Did you hear about all the trees down after the storm out on Henderson road? Did you know that he and Jimmy can never act serious together, that it’s just not possible? Did you hear that Bertie has cancer again, this time worse than the first? I cringe at Librarian’s disinterest, ashamed at my own annoyance. I feel her pain, her inability to hand this unwelcome conversationalist off to another person. I, too, am Librarian.
I write out a text supposing that perhaps stronger friendships may relieve some of my ongoing feelings of anxiety.
I see you Good Ol’ Country Boy. I am you too.