women always have and always will be the ones who help me through the most of my anxiety. also, my brother, but he’s a princess so I don’t separate him from the aforementioned category.
maybe it’s too pretty out and too much of a holiday weekend to write about anxiety but whatever.
anxiety runs in my family. my aunts are nervous, always on the move creatures ready with a joke and a beer to dodge the inevitable blast of nervousness, of anxiousness. the women in my family are naturally loud and on edge and sometimes I feel like Latinos look at anxiety as just a hyper way to live. Like it’s ok and shouldn’t really be acknowledged, like take a xannie and drink a beer y todo eso. my grandmother lived with high blood pressure, hypertension and anxiety like forever, you know until she passed and stuff. parkinsons. which is like the physical manifestation of a brain living on anxious…
which is one of the things i fear i might die of…cuz dying is on the brain, cuz puerto ricans living in new york don’t seem to live as long as the ones on the island do. cuz i’m convinced i’ve got less than 25 years left on this earth, if i make it that long, si Dios permite…
so this anxiety thing is strange because it’s gotten better. it used to be worse. it used to be sliced up the arm, dripping with whiskey, rides in cars with strangers looking for a way out, curled up on the bathroom floor heaving type of anxiety…anxiety that turned into rage that turned into bruised fists and apologies i could never spit at myself cuz i was too ashamed.
many things have aided in the lessening of my anxiety. primarily, the ex se fue. like boom bye bye and not having to deal with anyone’s alcoholism and associated behaviors eases the triggers. it eases the level of naturally occuring anxiety in the bloodstream. sometimes i want to thank her for leaving, in all honesty, because i don’t feel like i’m going to die of a heart attack tomorrow and i don’t have black out panic attacks anymore. so if you’re reading this, no disrespect, mad love, but seriously, thanks for packing up and moving out cuz i’d probably still be white knuckling through life.
but the anxiety still lives and rises and enters the domain of my crib, of my heart. now it’s all mine though and it feels good to finally claim that to look my anxiety dead in the face and say “The only reason you’re here is because of me.” I’ve been needing to claim this bitch as mine and now we just go toe-to-toe.
so normally the anxiety comes when I need to be awesome. the second I have a thing where it’s all on me to shine, perform, to be most myself the anxiety slips in and sucks away all of my life. i’m wracked with the inability to focus on anything which turns into being pissed off at myself for “dicking around” and i’m stuck banging my head. banging. banging. it against all of the bricks that make up the wall that make up the space i can’t free myself from. nail biting. beer drinking. cigarette smoking. zoning out. zoning. zoning. and then well, still, the moments of staring at pictures of people who aren’t alive anymore and wondering why I can’t be with them. i pace the living room into the bedroom wishing it was a moving walkway to somewhere else. pace. pace. knuckles cracking. see then these tears come out that i don’t recognize cuz they’re coming from this place i don’t ever like to visit. but they stream anyway and they claim the pinkish peach sized cheeks that cradle my face because something has to and because they have no way to fight such aggressive tears.
most times i reach out. in a small way. via txt. hey i can’t focus. hey i need you. or just, hey. the women in my life reach back. the lifers like marcela have been there before with me. like when my anxiety is so high from work that i can’t handle driving into the city, that i just need back roads and dark streets and so she drives us there. anywhere, she drives so that i can breathe. women that text me all night long to make sure i’m ok and these texts turn into phone calls turn into ‘let’s get breakfast’ which really means: hey, i’m checking in on you cuz i was worried.
see the power of anxiety? i’d rather it not be that. i’d rather it be cuz of positive things that there’s an exchange between me and my lovely ladies. (there is but i’d rather the anxiety NEVER be a part of it). but i find that reaching out is better than shutting off switches and darkening rooms and finding people in dark bars to get close to so that i feel far away.
but also, why is it when I need to be my best? why is it that this thing keeps me hostage until the 24hrs i need to do said: show, job, interview, article, showcase etc etc etc all of the things that I do because this is what i do. why then? it’s like i should name my anxiety cuz it’s a thing with awareness and understanding. it sees the moment of weakness and invades. i always feel like this will be the last time and it will take me and i will quit. i get so close to quitting and giving in to allowing it to manifest in its own greatness.
then I don’t. then I say fuck that. then greatness comes from me and I run with it, into it and blast forward. wondering if the anxiety was a dream because it feels blurry around the edges like haze on the side of clouds in august, like maybe it didn’t happen. but it did because look at all those beer bottles, look at all those text messages, look at all the time you wasted and you still pulled it off.
i wonder what would happen if I could skip the anxiety and just give in to the creativity. what would come out of that? without the middle man?? It stops me because I can’t imagine my life without anxiety. even if what I experience now is the little brother of what I used to experience. What if I could just do away with it all together? Who would I be? What would I do?
Can this be done…? Maybe if I live through the next 25 years, then maybe I’ll know the answer.