Some Change

The inevitability of change is something I’ve always been aware of. Yet, I can’t easily accept. People come and go. Friendships are shaped and reshaped. We grow up. We change. Like the smartphones we buy and sell and buy anew, we can’t get out of this cycle. I can’t get out of this cycle. I’m so deep in that I think I’m subconsciously waiting for something else to shift under my feet. Not waiting excitedly, but dreading.

My therapist keyed in on the word “secure” as I was talking. There are some people who I feel safe with, some who I don’t, and those who I just can’t figure out which side of the spectrum they lie. I’ve basically categorized everyone in my head (not that I’m going to name the order). But they keep changing from week to week. I’m never sure of anybody anymore. Who am I actually walking with when my feet are wobbly? Who will I call? This sudden insecurity leaves me completely lost every time I’m given an opportunity to hang out.

I’m rarely annoyed, but I’m easily stressed. It bugs me how low my capacity for people is now. I’ve spent a lot of time with people, hearing about their lives (which includes their problems). It’s a joy to process with them. But lately, I find myself fearing the load. I spent today listening to a friend rant for an hour, and I could feel my heart speeding and my head spinning. I don’t give feedback or have much to say or ask. I go blank. Where are the life-giving conversations and thoughtful questions and the lame puns?????? How can I be a friend if I can’t BE a friend?

Not to mention, my walls. Very few people get through my barriers and even though I feel bad for shutting the rest of the world out, I just can’t deal. There’s too much stuff. And even when I keep a few secure people around, I get the feeling those friendships are changing too. Nothing stays the same forever.

How so?

Well, #SassSquad (my group chat with Maurice and Willa) have been pretty quiet lately. The FOTD and QOTD just don’t have the same spirit stirring effect it used to. Or maybe, it’s what happens when more than one person in the group is silently struggling and/or are weary.

Some of my friendships have been put on pause if you can call it pause (since I don’t really believe in pause). They’ve been hard to keep up with, emotionally and time-wise. I think, slowly I’ll be taken off their lists of people they feel close to.

Not to mention all the people who either have left or are leaving. Helina, Patrick, Katie, Kevin, Steven, and more. Either getting married and moving away or answering God’s calling to serve and work. I’ve made my peace with these changes (mostly). I’ve had the time. It’s sad, but I’m happy for them. Life keeps going whether you’re ready or not. Even if it’s not your life. And I know there are others who are contemplating a move too. To escape. To move forward. To do some soul searching. As sad as I am that they might leave, it’s their lives and I hope they find what they’re looking for if they decide to pull the trigger and go. It’s just hard bracing yourself for news that may or may not come.

Lastly, there’s a friendship I’m still not sure if it would be better for my soul to let go of or keep. Both options feel correct and incorrect. Healthy and unhealthy. I’ve tried the in-between and I come out feeling torn up, drained, and angry all the time. The devil laughs and I shake my fists in fury. Prayer. Just lots of prayer…

Anxiety. I’ve mentioned this before: I never know what I’ll feel tomorrow.

This weekend was the worst. After a fairly chill Friday-Saturday, I visited a new church with two friends. It was fine and dandy. A little draining but that was no big deal, until the drive back when an unforeseen panic attack ensued. I knew that this new therapy thing was going to take time and that nobody is fixed in a day (or rather a month). And I knew that I would still have episodes of sadness and detachment. But it was as if I was back in Ben’s apartment replaying my first panic attack.

The paralysis, the trembles, the heavy breathing. I was looking at my hands on the steering wheel and all I thought was “this is not my hand….” My heartbeat thumped above the traffic noise. As I drove the rest of the way home, part of me really wished I had asked Greg to stay with me before he left for basketball. But I already felt like a downer and a burden so I told him to go.

Home. If I had sleeping pills, I would have downed the whole bottle. Instead, I just hugged my pillow and rolled around and around. I kept thinking about that week of insomnia 2 months prior, and how by the end of it I was standing atop of the Meridian Garage, contemplating the fall and the illusion of peace. Being alone had always been a safe haven for me. But that day, being alone was the most frightening thing. I was afraid of what I might do if nobody was there keeping me accountable. Let’s just say I’ve been told more than once I’m reckless.

The episode lasted 2 ½ days. After going out for awhile Sunday night, I finally fell asleep. I stayed in bed most of Monday. I couldn’t get up. Going out seemed improbable. My chest thumped every time I thought I might be stuck there forever. Paralysis is a b****… Tuesday came, and it was July 4th. I got myself hyped enough to go to a BBQ. Sitting in the pool helped. I think the upbeat spirit of the holiday and the environment got me out of the hole for a few hours. I’ve calmed. The symptoms subsided. At least for now.

It’s so easy to be angry at God because of our moods. The why’s and the what-are-you-doing-up-there. Do my cries reach His ears? They must. They do. I have to believe that. And I have to believe that there is a lesson. That there is a purpose to this whether it’s to increase faith, create empathy, or grant me understanding. There HAS to be more to this suffering.

Yesterday was my birthday…

Yesterday was my birthday. And as much as I love my birthday, because I love myself and because there is a conceited, self-centered monster trapped behind bars in the dark depths of my mind, my birthday is always to say the least, stressful. Sometimes I think that I would have a lot less worry if I just plan to spend my birthday watching movies by myself and eating chips. Maybe even treating myself to a nice $12 seat in a greasy theater and big screens. But then I’d be just that: BY MYSELF.

But to not make plans means that I will spend my time thinking, and thinking on my birthday means counting how many people I think might actually care that I’ve made it another year. That I’m still alive and breathing. How many people find my existence significant and meaningful. How self-centered is that? The monster bangs its claws against the steel cage and rattles the bars. As introverted as I believe I am, I still enjoy people.

I’ve been pretty lucky. I’m rarely disappointed. My friends, old and new, are awesome. And even though I know they are awesome, I still catch myself feeling surprised that they would grace me with their presence on my birthday. I felt a mixture of gratitude and embarrassment when I walked into Lazy Dog with a large table of people yelling surprise. I didn’t know how to thank everyone or what to say, and I only wanted to laugh at myself because just 30 minutes before I was at the bouldering place asking people if they wanted to eat at Lazy Dog when apparently they already knew they were going to be there. Then there was cake, someone bought me a birthday martini, and just a lot of thank you’s and small talk everywhere. And even though I love gifts, I think I value that so much more. The presence of people who want to be there and them having intentional talks, good food, and a chill time.

There’s no doubt that I’ll feel the same anxiety every year, that my birth, in the grand scheme of the universe, is small and insignificant (which it is). That to celebrate it would be pointless to anybody including myself. I’ll struggle with self-love and acceptance which are things I wish I didn’t care about because I don’t want to have expectations. To expect things is to be selfish. To be selfish is to think I’m bigger than the world. And when I’m humbled and deflated, shrinking back to the human size I’m supposed to be, I will feel disheartened. Sometimes it’s hard to protect myself from a big head.