This one involves a pun.

You know what? I was kind of upset that Tom Hiddleston was romantically linked to Taylor Swift. To the point that when I saw a picture of him alongside a shirt that read: [] Single [] Taken [x] Burdened with glorious purpose, my actual thought was, “Don’t you mean: [] Single [] Taken [x] Auditioning for Taylor Swift’s next album.”

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This of course is Emotional/Fangirl Marissa being super fucking creepy. Why am I emoting like that? (Fun Fact: This is why emotion is of the devil.) Did my underdeveloped fangirl brain think I had a chance? (Fangirl Marissa has now crossed her arms over her chest and is muttering, “Maybe. You don’t know.” Because she is an idiot.) I thought I could handle this reaction in quiet shame. That is, until people started talking to me about it and I thought, “NOOOO.” I’m that girl. Without realizing it or intending to I’ve become the Tom Hiddleston fan that whenever something remotely related to him happens, people think of me. Dammit.

People have been thinking of me a lot lately, funny pictures they’ve seen, advertisements for book clubs, Shakespeare plays at the Globe. I’ve accepted that I’m someone that gets thought of when Harry Potter things happen because I am an unrelenting eternal fan of the series. I’ve never been ashamed of that, but when did I become that girl?

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I don’t want to be that creepy fan on an Austenland level. I don’t want to be drowning in posters, BluRays, and clothing that have a single celebrity as the focus. That makes me feel icky. I don’t mean to rag on it completely. If that’s your jam and it honestly and genuinely makes you happy, you do you. I can support that, but, on the other hand, I’m not happy in that sort of life. I want more. I don’t want my life centered around the doings of some guy, celebrity or not, unless that guy is Jesus.

So I’m over Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift. I’m not for it or against it. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, but he is not a family member, a friend, a coworker, or even someone I have semi regular interactions with. Therefore, my opinion doesn’t count and I have decided to not channel my energy into that. And you know what? Taylor Swift, as a fellow female, get it, girl. Why do we care more about who Taylor Swift is dating than any other singer on the planet? Surely she isn’t the first person to write about people she’s been in relationships with. That’s not something she created.

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As for me, I’m going to focus on things that make me happy. I’m going to (re)start a 30 yoga camp series with my HemingWeigh yoga mat. I find the name of my mat delightfully fun. That’s its official name by the way. I didn’t not give it that name. But dare I say that it makes me want to do yoga Ernest-ly? Ba-dum-dum-tsst. I’m also going to keep plugging away at this book The Madwoman in the Attic which is this huge (bigger than Tolstoy) compilation of literary critiques concerning women authors and women’s literature. Papa Looker mentioned it to me years ago, and I happened to have bought it in one of my bad B&N book binges. It’s way more high minded than me so the reading is slow. I’m thinking of volunteering to help out at VBS in some way at my church. I don’t know how they do things, so I don’t know how I’ll be able to help. I’m also thinking of taking the plunge and requesting to be put in a home group. It only took me a year to get to this point! Just kidding. Going to another person’s house gives me stress. And, finally, I’m going to continue practicing lettering/calligraphy. I don’t have that scary fancy pen for calligraphy. Mostly, I’ve been using Crayola markers and Sharpies. I’m just trying to get the shape of the letters down the way I want them. Then I’ll progress from there.

Maybe in the end, I’ll be quietly happy. That would be cool.

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Third Time’s the Charm.

I’ve decided to be lazy to save my sanity. I finally got the apartment that I’ve wanted for months now. Scratch that. I think I’ve wanted this apartment my whole life. You know those moments in college when you try to imagine yourself in your thirties? You think, “God, what will it even look like? What do I want in life? I think I want… to happen.” Then you have this slightly ambiguous list that involves a lot of general things. I didn’t want this specific address, but I did want an apartment that I could pay for on my own. I wanted a cute studio apartment for longer than anyone would probably guess.

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This comes at a price though. I’m not even talking about rent and utilities. This will be the third time I’ve moved in less than a year. The first move, I relied heavily on family. I abused my parents’ and sibling’s and nieces’ and nephew’s love for me and made them help me move. I even abused the relationship I have with my brother-in-law’s father to get my bed from Ypsilanti to Chelsea. The second move, I took slower. Instead of a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am all in one day move that nearly killed me and gave me a moving hangover, I moved progressively over the course of a month. I hated it. I heavily abused my friendship with my roommate to get my stuff to the new place. I was super lucky to have a coworker who lent me her boyfriend’s truck and his person to move my bed. I didn’t even have to seek them out. I can’t tell you how much her volunteering to help meant to me. I also can’t tell you how much it meant to me that they came even though I decided to move on the one weekend this winter where it snowed. My luck was awful.

The upcoming third move was left me feeling more blessed than I could imagine. I asked one friend to help and she gladly said yes. Another friend volunteered to help me move. Like every move, I worried about the bed. How do I transport a queen size bed when I drive a Focus? Inconceivable!

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That’s when the laziness took root. I didn’t want to borrow someone’s truck or van. I didn’t want to feel like I was inconveniencing their life. I just wanted a vehicle large enough to move my things. And you know what? I don’t want to take eighteen thousand trips. Plus, dressers, man. They’re big. They don’t fit well into cars. You need a van or an SUV. Then there is the infamous Pink Chair that is holding onto existence by a very tenuous thread. I gave up. I had two people willing to help me move. I was going to rent a U-Haul truck. Screw it, you know?

You probably didn’t because I didn’t tell anyone. Don’t you hate it when people get aggressive about finder something cheaper than you have? I’m renting a truck. WELLLL, IIII rented a truck at this obscure place for way cheaper. WELLLLL, IIII think it’s a waste of money to move that stuff. IIIII’d find someone with a truck already. I. Don’t. Care. I’m going to rent a truck like an average American. I just got a raise. I would be happy to spend the extra cash flow on a vehicle I can guarantee will be there for me that day, and can guarantee will fit my furniture in it. So, stuff that in your piggy bank.

But it gets worse. I expected renting a U-Haul to not be cheap. And I was dreading moving my stuff up to the second floor of my new building. I was dreading everything. I’m exhausted. No human being should move as frequently as I have. I’m so done. In fact, I was so done my first name could have been John. That’s why, when my sister suggested that I check out Two Men and a Truck, I went, “Yes.” Hard yes. All the yes. Fun Fact: It’s not going to cost me much more to use Two Men and a Truck than to rent a U-Haul. Bonus Fact: They really do send you two men to load all your crap into a truck, drive it to your new place, and unload your crap into your apartment.

People already have told me that I could have found an EVEN CHEAPER company to go with. Or that I should have gone on Craigslist. (Yeah, that sounds stable.) I give not one fuck though. I have the money—something I never thought I’d ever be able to say—so I’m going to do it without shame. I’m going to pack, let complete strangers do the heavy work, and have my friends over regardless so that we can drink wine, unpack, and listen to music. And you know what? That sounds pretty damn blissful to me.

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Breather.

I found my “journal” from my second London trip. The first entry is entirely in orange ink and begins like so:

May 8th, 2012

“That’s the greatest fallacy of life. The sun won’t come out tomorrow.” Reason #932 of why Dr. Looker is pretty much my hero.

Apparently, I’d tried to write a journal the first time I went and failed spectacularly. I have the pages of a day and a half that I might transcribe into the notebook to keep them safe. I also have a bulletin from St. Paul’s Cathedral dated May 30th, 2010 (one of the huge important days in my life). I have a pamphlet with train times from May 2010, an IKEA sponsored Tube Map, a map of Paris completely covered in my and Haley’s handwriting (bitching about travel-mates), and a blank postcard of the Eiffel Tower reflected on a rainy street. Rah-rah-rah I hate those Paris people. My second attempt at journaling was phenomenally better. I filled out half the journal which is probably the most successful I’ve ever been at journaling.

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I know that last year I was really crazy about writing about London. I spent all of May dedicated to it. I have the May itch, the desire to be in England and nowhere else during the month of May. My thought today was what was I doing to have that much time and energy to obsess so hard about London last year? Sometimes my dedication to the useless is astonishing.

I mean, I still want to go to London, but I’m adulating at max level. I can say this publicly. I’m the new Director of Operations at my job. That’s my actual title. It’s a level of professionalism that I can feel. It’s near tangible. I’m still me, and sometimes I’m still a kid. Also, I’m very aware that I’m not Scott. Like a child, though, I’m violently against trying to be like Scott. People just have to deal with the fact that I’m not him. Cue crossing my arms over my chest and sticking out my lower lip. Still, I’ve stopped joking about “Why did you give me this much authority?” If I were to do that, it would be embarrassing and uncomfortable. I’ve leveled up to the point where I just have to do the job. To questions Melissa at this point would just come off as insulting.

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With my first official week over, there’s a lot left to be desired. Or rather, there’s a lot of room for improvement. I’m overwhelmed to the point where I don’t even try to compare myself to Scott who had sixteen years of experience on me. I’m just pushing to get everything done to the best of my ability and hoping that my ability continues to get better and doesn’t get worse.

This new adulating has made me look to the future. What do I want? I’m getting ready to move. (AGAIN.) I’m done with moving. This move will hopefully be my last one for a long time. I’m excited because it’s going to be a studio apartment I live in by myself. After two years, I’ll be reliant only on myself as far as rent and living arrangements. I’m so excited! I feel one step closer to how I imagined what my adult life would look like.

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I’m flying to Texas to see my best friend in June. She’s having a baby. Talk about adulating. Yikes! I’m not ever going to be at that level, but I’m excited. I’m taking buses and flying in planes to visit my friends. I keep in touch with people even when they’re across the continental US from me. I’m dressing better. I’m honing my interests from broad spectrum ideas into specific areas that I enjoy and want to work on. I’m in a good place in the sense that I’m moving forward on a path I don’t hate. Like, it’s going well enough that I’m scared to post this because I don’t want everything to go to shit the moment this is on the internet. That would be my luck.

I’ve hit my fair share of rock bottoms though— mentally, physically, and career-ly (just kidding, career-wise). God’s pulled me back up from them, and if it all goes to shit tomorrow, he’ll catch me in my free fall, set me down on solid ground, and help me build it all back up again. If I had to wager anything, I think it’s my car that’s going to be the next Hindenburg of my life. But, I digress.

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The journal brightened my day. I was definitely a student. I had no idea what was in store for me. I never would have guessed where I would be in four years. Even just going to London was a surprise. The first time, I was ecstatic because I never thought I’d go much of anywhere in my life. The second time, I was overly blessed. Who would have thought I’d go to London twice?!? This year, I’ve gone to Chicago and will be going to Texas, two new places for me. I’m saving money to go to London next year. I’ll be saving money to go to Ireland in four years. Currently, my job is stable. I have a range of friends. I love my family. I’m going to be a surrogate aunt to my best friend’s kid. He will be receiving SO many books.

This post doesn’t have much of a purpose other than it is good to take a step back during moments of change to appreciate the big picture. Appreciate all of the good things in the past, enjoy what’s happening in the present, and think of all of the amazing things that will happen in the future. Take it from someone who could win an Olympic gold in negative thinking, enjoy the happy thoughts. Hold onto them. Bask in them until your fingers get all prune-y. I dare you.

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Nuisance.

I haven’t written in two weeks.

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And here I thought the world would crumble without my word-meandering. To be fair, a lot has been happening. I was in Big Rapids watching my sister get hooded and graduate for the College of Pharmacology as a doctor. I think that’s how you word it. I hung out with my niece, who’s very rapidly becoming fifteen. Usually, I panic at the idea of her getting older, but I realized that she’s now old enough to get my jokes and also (for a brief shining moment) think I’m cool. I was officially promoted to Director of Operations at my work, which has been humbling and overwhelming on levels I cannot express. More than once in the past two weeks I’ve stayed in bed for longer than 24 hours. That’s probably not healthy, but it is what it is. I got a raise. I know this because I did payroll for an entire company today. And today, well, today I worked for fourteen hours—8am to 10pm. I almost cried at the end.

I was spurred to write something, not by my lack of writing these past two weeks, but something that came up in the meeting. The topic of anxiety was touched on, which I’m always compelled to add my two cents to. I found myself getting frustrated, like usual by what people were saying, which led to a pretty foundational revelation about myself. So where to begin?

I think I need to start roughly a couple of weeks ago. It was a Thursday. I was preparing for a day of in person interviews and I was teetering on the edge of breakdown. I tell myself I can do anything, and for the most part that’s absolutely true. I’m always doing new things I never thought I’d ever be able to do. I’d reached a point in training with Scott to be the Director of Operations that crossed at precisely the right place with doing in person interviews where I legitimately had to stare down the possibility that I wouldn’t be able to continue on with the job. I was scared. Scott called me on this.

Well, he said I looked “low energy,” which is a little annoying. Like, yeah, I’m low energy. I’ve been working nonstop without breaks to figure out how to do his job. I’m stretching myself beyond my physical and mental capacity. Screw you, Scott. I’m more tiffed about it now than I was. I actually just sat down and honestly told him that my anxiety was border line out of control and I felt physically ill from all of the interviewing. Everything else about the promotion I could handle. The higher level of people almost killed me.

What ensued was ten minutes of Scott trying really hard to help. I will give him that. He spoke from a caring place, both as a boss and a friend. Part of me recognized that and felt so blessed. He was on his way out. He didn’t have to take the time to give me a pep talk. He could have said, “Suck it up, Sunshine,” and left it at that. The other part of me wanted to shriek and shake my head and pull my hair out because he didn’t understand what I was feeling at all. What was worse, despite trying to explain myself, I wasn’t saying the right thing to make him understand. I wanted to pull a Chandler and scream, “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” I was angry at him. I was angry at myself. As much as I insert myself into conversations when people talk about anxiety, I hate them because I never get my point across.

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Tonight, I tried to point out to coworkers that anxiety isn’t rational. Talking with my coworkers shouldn’t be terrifying. They are all amazing people. As I spoke, telling that that even though the idea of talking to someone you enjoy being around shouldn’t be hard it’s scary when you have anxiety, I also raised my hands to show that I was visibly shaking in fear just by speaking. Then, a few people wanted to know what people with anxiety are so worried about.

And that’s the problem. That’s my big issue. People talk to me like I’m afraid someone’s going to start screaming at me if I tell them they’re wrong or voice my opinion. Sometimes I think people assume that I have the irrational fear that someone’s going to beat me or pull a gun on me or wait for me in the parking lot so they can hit me with their car. They hear me say “It’s terrifying” and they see me shaking, and they make the rational jump to, “She must think something scary is going to happen.” I don’t.

Do you want to know my worst fear? The fear that drives all of this crazy and gives me the most trouble? I think I’ve known it for a while but I haven’t put real words to it tonight. My closest confession has been that I want people to like me. Everything I do is a crafted image of myself to make people like me. Why? My biggest fear is being a nuisance. The worst, most horrifying thing I can think of is being 100% annoying to someone. I’m crippled by the idea and possibility that when I show up, someone groans on the inside or outside, wants to roll their eyes, and is completely disgusted by my presence.

Speaking to people one on one or in public is difficult. I don’t want someone thinking, “Why is she speaking? Won’t she shut the hell up?”

Being in public is difficult. “What a fucking waste of space. Why is she even here?”

Doing my job is difficult. “All you do is ask stupid questions. You mess up even the smallest tasks. Why can’t you understand any of these simple ideas? Why won’t you just leave already?”

I face a constant barrage of my own brain humiliating me, like it’s trying to prepare me for the inevitable day when someone finally says what I know everyone has been thinking all along. Someone’s going to have to say it eventually. There’s going to be a time when everything comes to ahead.

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And, of course, I’m crazier than a shit-house rat. Oh, people have probably been annoyed by me in the past and wished I wasn’t in their space. Though, it’s arrogant of me to think that they were 100% all consumed by their hatred of me. I think you have to put effort into making someone hate you that much. Most people, if I believe their behavior is mostly honest, seem to like me and think I’m awesome. I don’t know why, but there it is. But see how awful and dangerous social anxiety can be? See how it can be a tiresome struggle? It’s sucks, wholly and completely. And I just wanted to share that because people obviously don’t get it. Maybe they won’t ever fully get it because they don’t experience it personally. My hope is, however, that they grow to understand it a little more and maybe the next person with anxiety they talk to, they’ll be able to be an even better support than they already are.

(10) Life is Weird.

Guys, I’ve reached the point in my year where nothing makes sense, and it might never make sense again. Life is too weird, but also I only got two hours of sleep last night. What do I know?

1. Sleeping is weird. You voluntarily lay down on comfortable surfaces and let yourself go unconscious. You don’t know if you’ll ever wake up. You are completely vulnerable to an attack. Yet, every night, we’re like, “Yes! I’m going to bed. This is great.” It’s like we finally believe the lies our parents told us.

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2. Pooping is weird. Any form of excretion is weird. Maybe I’m thinking to much of this because the little furry tumor that wreaks havoc where I live always waits until I’m in eye sight to go poop on it’s faux grass rug. But think about it. You’ve been trained to sit on a bowl with your pants around your ankles while you push poop out of you. And we find this normal and healthy.

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3. Hugging is weird. Who decided pressing your body against another human being for three seconds was a form of endearment? Like, I don’t need you to touch me like that. Worse is when you get trapped in a long hug. I’m I supposed to be thinking how nice you are? I’m not. I’m thinking that I never wanted my belly to touch yours ever and it’s creeping me out.

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4. Hair is weird. Like, I’m going to spend 90% of my time getting ready in the morning on strands of dead cells that hang from my skin. Am I bored? Maybe I’ll color the dead cells. Red’s a pretty color.

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5. Feet are weird. Don’t looked at your feet. Don’t do it. They are the weirdest part of the human body. They look like they should be hands, but they’re not. And your start to realize how stubby your toes are in comparison to the huge mass that is your foot. Don’t look at your hands either. You have flash tentacles with spines. They have little helmets on the tips that you paint colors on Thursday nights.

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6. Work is weird. Hey I’m just going to come here and spend eight hours doing mandatory tasks. Then I’m going to go home. But then you keep going back. And you have to talk to a bunch of people you would never otherwise acknowledge in society. And then you get angry about how they do their mandatory tasks and how they go back home earlier or later than you. But twice a month, money is put into your bank account so that you don’t question the system too much.

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7. Reading is weird. Why does a series of symbols make me feel emotions? Why do I see pictures when I look at them in succession? I have real feelings about people who only exist on paper. I know them better than I no living breathing human beings that I see on a daily basis. That isn’t entirely healthy behavior. But also I’m smarter and better than people who don’t read. What is their problem?

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8. Pregnancy is weird. SO. WEIRD. I can’t even take it. You have this tapeworm alien that attaches itself inside your body where it grows and develops until it takes the shape of a small human. You have to walk around all day like you’re still a normal person, but on the inside of you there is a WHOLE human who’s playing a conga line on your kidneys. And then at the end of nine months you have to push it out of your vagina in front of doctors, nurses, and the inevitable med student. I never gave permission for the med student to see me hoo-hah.

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9. Flying is weird. I bet this gigantic metal tube won’t plummet to the ground. You’re more likely to die by accidental drowning than in an airplane crash. Both sound terrible and you aren’t making me trust flying. It’s a glorified bus with wings. Why do we feel this is safe?

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10. Baths are weird. They are not relaxing. They are shameful and weird. You know what you look like, right? You look like a freshly plucked chicken sitting in a pot that partially filled with water. You’re sitting naked in a self contained puddle. You have to drink a lot of wine before that seems attractive.

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My Personal Thoughts.

I’m trying to think this problem out. I don’t know what to do, necessarily, but I also feel like I have an opinion. I anticipate angering both sides of the argument. Why anger just one side when you can anger both? Am I right? No, my goal isn’t to make people angry or to offend people. My focus is to better follow Christ. In the tough decisions in life, which are the most Christ like?

In the upcoming week, or maybe already, my work is going to post a statement saying that transgender individuals are welcome to our spa. It’s nothing new. I’ve encountered transgendered people while working long before the Bathroom Wars started. Without this blog post statement, I anticipated encountering them for the foreseeable future. Yet, stating the spa’s stance has made the spa take a side. It’s not a side I’m on.

I don’t agree with many life choices that are happening in the secular world in which my work dwells. Many of the choices directly contradict what I believe to be right. I knew this when I was hired in. I also knew this when I was hired into Meijer. In fact, it’s something that every Christian who’s being hired into a non-Christian organization has to acknowledge. My values are the minority.

My discomfort over the past few days stems from the niggling voice in the back of my brain that won’t shut up. “This means you’re agreeing with something that’s in direct contradiction with the Bible.” “You’re tacitly agreeing with non-Christian values.” “You should quit. Make the big stand. Sacrifice everything for God.” I’m starting to feel physically ill. I don’t live with the constant knowledge of what God wants me to do with my life. I do, however, know that as a Christian I’m sent out into the world to preach his love and to preach Christ triumphant. I’m wondering if quitting is really the answer though. I’m wondering if I can’t still be a strong Christian influence in an otherwise secular environment.

I’ve had a lot of friends who say they aren’t going to shop at some store anymore because of gender neutral bathrooms. I think that’s doing a disservice to the cross. Maybe I’m reading the Bible wrong, but Christ didn’t come into the world to snub sinners. He didn’t eat dinner with the Pharisees. I’m not saying he told those sinners they were fine and to keep on with what they were doing. He told them to repent. He explained the law and the gospel to them. He told them they needed forgiveness and then happily gave forgiveness to them. Jesus was able to have those conversations with people because he lived among them. He didn’t shun them. When a Christian makes the active choice to not shop at a store that allows transgendered bathrooms (and I’m not saying it’s correct or that I want transgendered bathrooms because I don’t), I feel to a certain degree they are making a decision to not allow the opportunity to share Christ with someone in need of Christ. How are we supposed to go out and make disciples of all nations when we’re simultaneously saying, “No, that nation is too sinful”? Who are you to decide? Christ made no exceptions. He died for all. Everyone is a beloved creation of God.

I have and I will continue to treat people as those knit together in their mother’s womb by God. He created them. He loves them. He sent his son to die for them. And, quite possibly, I’m someone he’s sent into their lives to show his love. At the risk of sounding like I worship the Warm and Fuzzy Jesus, I’m going to err on the side of love. I am not going to tell them they’re right. When the opportunity presents itself, I will be more than happy to share Jesus and my beliefs. However, as a general rule of thumb, I’m going to treat them like the human beings they are. I’m not going to ostracize them. I’m definitely not going to act like I’m a better human being or a better Christian. I need a savior too. I can’t save myself. I can’t save others. Jesus saves. I can only act as his ambassador with the hopes that by simply working in places that are secular and not hardening my own heart against them I will be able to share Jesus with someone. If just one person is brought closer to God by my working at the spa, it will be worth it. I will take the criticism and anger of both sides if it means one more person is saved and in heaven. I mean, it’ll be hard and uncomfortable and I might spend most of my days emotionally at war with myself, but it will be worth it. God is worth it because God is good and his love endures forever.

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Ten Signs I’m Stressed Out

I’m not talking about being stressed, which I do feel a lot. I grew up to be a Negative Nancy. I’m trying not to be. Mostly my efforts are just lying about feeling stressed or angry instead of actually becoming happy and positive. Baby steps. Anyway, I’m talking about those huge stressful moments when everything in my chest is sort of vibrating, threatening to make all of my particles fall apart. This is not a scary as it sounds. It’s just this moment of change and development with neither a good or bad connotation. It simply is happening. It is stressful. It will end. I know these moments are happening though because I have telltale signs.

1. I dye my hair. I’ve dyed my hair since I was in seventh grade, so this might be confusing for anyone who’s known me since then. I’ve dyed my have every shade of auburn from copper to auburn black, especially from seventh grade to senior year of high school. I stopped though, for the most part, in college. With the exception of when my mom paid for me to get a blue streak in my hair, I mostly dyed my hair an ash color, transitioning into growing out the dyed hair together and living with my natural hair color. I like my natural hair color. Until, of course, I’m stressed out and my brain’s screaming, “Something has to change or tables will be flipped and mouths will foam!”

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2. I buy new makeup. The only makeup I wear is concealer and eyeliner. I’m not a make up person. I don’t really know how to wear it, what colors to choose, or what looks good on my face. Contouring is sorcery as far as I’m concerned. But if I’m freaking out, guess who has a new shade of purple-ish lipstick? This girl. Guess who will look like an ass for wearing it for a week straight regardless of the outfit she’s wearing? This girl.

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3. I stress cry. I think about all of the change and the things I have to accomplish. Mostly my brain is whipping through topics, scenarios, and emotions at the rate of a hummingbird’s heartbeat. But, occasionally, I stop long enough to cry. It’s not sad crying. I’m not sad. II just have to release the energy build up. I also don’t need you to ask me if you can do anything for me or try to help me solve the problems. I don’t need your solutions unless I ask directly for them. I’ve got this. I just need you to pray for me. Pray I don’t stay crazy. I mean, I’ve gone crazy, but hopefully it’s more of a vacation than a permanent move.

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4. I eat out all of the time. Who has time to cook when you’re sitting on the couch so far in your brain that you should register it as an independent country? I hate cooking to begin with. So, yeah, this is my fifth burrito this week. The Taco Bell employee knows me by name. What are you going to do about it, huh?

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5. I’m also super productive. All of my anxiety is amped up and I need to stick a tap in my brain and let all of the thoughts and energy gush out so that it’s not overwhelming. Say no to panic attacks is my motto. Obviously, you can’t stop a panic attack. That is not what I’m saying. I’m actually saying that having thoughts whip around your brain like NASCAR 24/7 for days is exhausting and gives you a perma-headache. So, I channel it into doing stuff.

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6. I try new things that poke at my anxiety. It’s like the bear has already been poked awake, but just to make sure that the hot breath on your face and the ropes of drool hanging from his eat are real, I poke him again. It’s as if I get to this surreal level of consciousness where I start to question just how much I can handle. I’m freaking out already, why not send my writing to my best friend to read and critique? I’m halfway to hyperventilating in the corner anyway.

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7. And then things get to be too much so I just sit in dark rooms doing nothing. This isn’t like when I people to much and I lay in my bed like I’m taking a nap, but really I’m just silently recharging. This is my not turning on the light in the living room and staring at a spot on the carpet while sitting on the edge of the couch. My brain shut’s off as if to say, “Nope.”

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8. After I recognize that I’m exhibiting more than two of these traits, I usually think, “Oh crap.” I start to plan for the fall out, that moment when it starts effecting my relationships with other humans. I turn into an angry bitch-monster that’s awful to be around. The Marissa my family talks about behind my back in their worry for my psychological state. It’s my Nihilist state.

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9. The final stage: become dead inside and struggle to be human because by this time I’ve laid waste to all of my stores of money, resources, and emotions. I’m so done I could be a famous British poet. I wake up. I go to work. I exist. I can do no other. That’s where I am, so you’ll just have to accept it. I’ve given all I can.

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10. But, eventually, I level out. I adjust to the change. I accept it as the new normal, and strive to be awesome at that. My emotional mobile finds its new balance and I can go back to being the person I am.

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