about Blogs book exercise mamalougues contact Image Map

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


A frenemy is someone who you think is your friend but behind the nice facade they are your enemy and they know you intimately.  I have one of those.

Things have been pretty weird lately, right?  I remember wishing that I could just have some time when we couldn't leave the house and it would be forced family time. Like a snowstorm or something.  Well, if the universe was listening and if I'm self-centered enough to believe it was, then I caused this stay at home COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic because here we are. Is this week 10 or 15?  I don't know anymore.

The first few days were nice and filled with board games, Netflix, bread making, and quarantine schedules. But after that everyone, even the dogs have found their little spot in the house that is away from anyone else.  Family dinners are made but we don't eat together anymore.  Mostly because when I'm eating lunch my teen boys are eating breakfast and when I'm eating dinner they are just getting around to having a snack. 
My husband lives here... I think? He has set up a little office (or maybe it is a panic room) in the basement. 

I have looked up on any given day and seen all of us on laptops and realized we hadn't spoken in hours or maybe even days. 

I'm just going to write what I'm feeling in my heart.   My anxiety has been through the mother f'ing roof.  I mean like a level 17 on a 10 point scale.  I thrive on routine.  I thrive on lists. In other words... not this.  

What I discovered is that I have vices.  I didn't realize that certain things were vices, but now that I have had time to sit with myself I realize I most certainly did. And these vices were what kept my anxiety from being as obvious as a scarlet letter "A "on my forehead.  
Anxiety can look different for a lot of people.  For me, it can be summed up in one word Fear, with a capital F. 

But during this time it was not fear of the pandemic or the virus that made my anxiety skyrocket, it was the fear of not doing enough. And that is when I discovered what my vice was.   My vice is keeping myself so busy that I don't have to listen to the worries in my head.  It was meeting up with friends trying to solve their issues so I didn't have to face mine.   

During this time, when my vices are not easily accessible, my issues stepped into the spotlight. There has been a particular friend who has been pointing out all of my flaws.   Calling me out when I think I'm doing okay.   Like, when I felt like I had done a really good job helping my son with his math homework, only to have my friend remind me that in fact, I'm a dumbass when it comes to math. I always have been, in college I was diagnosed with having some issue with number dyslexia so I was able to take a "math for the real world" just to complete my math requirement.  She also reminded me that in high school when I was injured and couldn't play soccer for an entire season and by the time January rolled around I was 20 lbs. heavier and that was probably going to happen again since I couldn't go to the gym. Not to mention all the carbs I have been eating. So much bread.

My frenemy knows everything about me because she is the little voice in my head that acts as a fact-checker to everything I do.  And this time alone has called her center stage as the ingenue of her own show called Anxiety- a very long drawn out musical in one act. Like the scene in the Sound of Music with Mother Superior, it is so loooong. 

My fear manifests itself in my body near my heart.  When it grows it feels really heavy. I usually start to rub that area of my chest. I didn't realize this until my son asked me why my chest was so red. When I looked in the mirror I realized that had been rubbing that area so much that it had become irritated.  I wonder how often I do that in public and people think I'm rubbing my boob?  Probably a lot. 

It's not a coincidence that I have always thought of my sons as sections of my heart personified as boys walking around town completely exposed to the elements. And everyone knows that it is not good to have a vital organ walking about in public and sunlight. It is supposed to be enclosed behind bones, and muscles and skin and walls and bricks, behind a locked door near me so I can do my job as a mother and protect them.  Cue frenemy who makes her entrance walks up to the microphone and sings the boring nun song to remind me of a few things.

"How did you think you could be a good mom?  If you can't even meet their needs when they are home, you are clearly failing when they leave the house.  That is why they don't want to watch a movie with you anymore, they don't need you.  They aren't babies. You can't protect them.  They are going to leave you and enter the world and there is nothing you can do about it."

What. A. Bitch.

Then my heart begins to ache, my head begins to ache and I begin to spiral.  
This time at home has made her voice loud and clear. 

Rather than call a friend and have her tell me her problems as a distraction, I had to face my own.  So I decided to do something I hadn't done in a long time.  I started writing.  Not typing, actual writing with a pen on paper.  It felt strange.  I used to have a journal but I stopped doing that when a boyfriend read it and used my words and thoughts against me.  I began typing because it could be password protected.  But it isn't the same. I began writing down everything my inner voice was telling me.  

That girl was right in grade school, you really are super weird. 
You may fool your boss but you don't know what you are doing. 
You are not good enough.
How could you bring children into a world like this?

Each bit of information I was reading or watching on the news was like a twig feeding the anxiety fire that was billowing out of control inside me and there was no way to put it out. My friends on social media were battling it out on whether or not they need to wear a mask in public.  Humans treating humans poorly or killing them because of deep seating racism was adding to my anxiety. The collective anxiety this is causing is palpable. 

Imagine if that was my son who died? Or more accurately, imagine it was my son who was the police officer who killed him. Imagine that was my son who called 911 on a Harvard educated bird watcher who pissed him off just because he felt entitled to do so, and  because he was black.  Are we doing enough as parents to educate our boys?  Oh my God, what if we are not?  What about the police officers that just stood there and did nothing? Are my sons brave enough to stand up for what is right? 
I frantically wrote all that out too. 

My frenemy became silent. We can't close our eyes when we are faced with things we don't want to see. That is when we have to open them and see the bigger picture.

I revisited my journal before I went to bed and responded to all those fear-based lies in a way I would talk to a friend.  Mostly with sarcasm and humor or sometimes with "Shuuut up," or if you suck at your job how could you have had it for 13 years and counting?  Just the facts ma'am.  Maybe I am weird, but I'm also creative AF. 

If this time in isolation has taught me anything it is that I'm kind of intense.   I love my sons so hard that it hurts. And I mean that it hurts me, and if I'm not careful, sometimes it can hurt them too.  Like not letting them grow up.  
All of this fear and fire and exposed hearts walking down the street has never actually happened, only in my head (obviously). 

I said I was going to write what was on my heart and I have but I hesitated to share this publicly. My frenemy was telling me it would be too revealing and people will not only think but now have proof that I am super weird. And they would be right.  But the truth is, my real friends and people in my life already know all this and still love me, even if they can't hug me right now.  I miss those hugs so much.

If you have felt like this you can know you are not alone.  When they say we are in this together, we really are.  I believe fear is at the root of a lot of anxiety.
If we can face those fears, expose them for what they really are, they look naked. Like someone who forgot to wear clothes to the store and is telling you how to dress. 
My point is, they don't have power...or pants.  

It is all the way you look at it, do the best you can and love yourself and others. 

1 comment:

  1. Maybe that voice in your head is a conscience. Maybe.