This past weekend I went camping at Otter River State Forest with a couple friends and my fiance and it became more apparent to me than ever; I suck to travel with.
I don’t like to label myself as having anxiety, but I think it’s time I become comfortable identifying as an extremely up-tight person.
My tension or whatever you want to call it, really manifests itself most inconveniently when I’m around people. I’m not really a private panic attack kind of person. I’m more of a huge, public bitch. I think part of my obliviousness to what an asshole I am is caused by refusing to acknowledge that I need to chill the fuck out.
Let me start by explaining, I am a worst case scenario kind of person. Not like, “oh it’ll totally rain on my wedding day” kind of negativity, but more like “Ok. If a shooter walks into this classroom, what do I do?” and then I spend about 10 minutes feverishly running scenarios in my mind, just in case. I get into a car and my first thoughts are to put my seat belt on or I WILL die, it’s not a negotiation. When I am cutting food up for dinner, my thoughts are always about how many ways I could potentially cut my various limbs off by accident, and so I white knuckle the knife and cut really carefully. I wouldn’t say I’m prone to panicking, but more like I’m forever on high alert, for what exactly I’m not fully sure. I don’t usually think about this aspect of myself because these things don’t really affect anyone outside of me.
I’ve always accepted that I was really bad at meeting new friends. It’s only been in recent years I’ve realized that it’s mostly because I’m always putting up emotional roadblocks to save myself from being hurt or lured into the life of a serial killer.
I went on a road trip two years ago and to be honest, I was a fucking mess. I was so scared of not impressing the amazingly impressive people I was surrounded by, (or that I would get close them and they would hate me) that I essential boiled into this anxious, irritable bat. I remember one night in particular,while everyone sat around the fire in Redwoods discussing various trips to Europe they had all taken. Instead of learning and engaging, I sat there all tight and tense fixated on the fact that I had never been to Europe and how worthless I must be to these people. Which, in hindsight is absurd, but at the time had me so anxious that I thought I was going to be physically sick.
I know I’ve come really far from who I was when I left on that road trip in 2014.
Which (kind of?) brings me back to this weekend. I’m really bad at making friends and so my love for the few I have can bring out this really strange controlling streak in me. When I see people that I love doing things that could be (in my mind) dangerous, I can be a bit of a nag. “Look both ways!” “Wash your hands!” “Stop sign coming up!” “Don’t get wet and catch a chill!” I know it’s annoying and my logic is that I would rather you be mad at me, than me not say anything and something happen to you.
But after this weekend, I realized how badly I want to be able to be (in the words of my hero) “furiously happy”. I don’t want to be the wet blanket on everyone’s recklessly fun time.
And I guess what I’m saying to you all is: I’m sorry. I’m working on it.
And what I’m saying to myself is: Keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, we will get there.