The Process of Preparing my Guitar for Shipment

I found my face in a resting smile several times today. I have often been accused of “thinking too much,” but I sorted out a lot of great stuff in the midst of the very long process of preparing my guitar for shipment. I thought about the difference between what I’m doing and what the thousands of college freshman have been doing for hundreds of years. I thought about my fear of how my nieces and nephew(s) will be affected by my absence and abandonment. I thought about people to whom I need to say goodbye and those who, throughout my life, failed to say goodbye to me. I thought about sugar, cycling, budgets, and packing peanuts.

Every fall, thousands of people, several years younger than I, leave the places and people that have made their homes for their entire lives. They travel far away and into the dens of lions and exhibits of great white sharks. They go, and they’re fine, so why do I feel like I’m cliff jumping? Maybe it’s easier for them because they plan on coming home again “in just a few months.” Maybe it’s not easy for them at all and I’m being unkind to myself with the comparison.

Comparison is a cheap and dirty trick. Being an auntie has been a sore subject for me since I went to Utah. I have a lot of insecurities and anxiety related with it because I have a hero complex, and because I compare myself to the other women who are aunties to my nieces and nephew(s). It occurred to me today that my biggest fear about moving has been that my tiny, wonderful, beautiful, precious nieces and nephew(s) would forget about me, or would remember me and not understand why I didn’t love them enough to stick around. I dread the day when I come to Addy, and she doesn’t sigh and say, “She loves me.” I hope that day never comes. If it does come, though, the reality is we will all survive, and we can get to know each other all over again. I know that I got to know my Auntie all over again after she was gone for a long time, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I respect her and love her because of the defining things her life consisted of when I didn’t know her. My nieces and nephew(s) can make up their own minds about me if they need to in the future. In the meantime, I don’t want to be gripped by the fear of that.

Not being gripped by fear is not to say that I am not touched by fear. For instance, I went to Ross today, and I really wanted to buy everything. I have a trend. You know how, when you ship something very large (like a guitar), over a long distance (like to Virginia from California), through an unpredictable array of forecasts (like heat and humidity), you put a lot of padding in the box for security and insulation purposes? Well, I do that to myself. When I feel unstable, I insulate myself. I get fatter, and I surround myself with as much stuff as I can. Then, as I stabilize, I declutter and I lose weight.

The cool thing, friend, is that I haven’t stabilized in a long time. I’ve been somewhat aware of this trend for several months, and I’ve tried to find relief from the jostling. It’s been a long time, though, since I’ve actually felt the magnetic pull of stabilization, and I finally feel that pull again. It makes it a lot easier to separate the padding from my “personal value” when gravity begins to regain its pull. I can even be grateful for it. Insulation has its purpose, and I look forward to the day when that purpose has officially been served.

I read once that value is derived from an object’s purpose and origin. If I didn’t value my guitar, I wouldn’t decide it was the very best guitar in the world without taking a minute to consider any other guitar. If I didn’t value my guitar, I wouldn’t fear that it would lose anything or fall apart.  If I didn’t value my guitar, I wouldn’t take care to insulate it. If I value my guitar enough for all of that, I think I owe myself at least that much respect. I’m learning to not apologize for the care I take to preserve my value anymore than I would expect my guitar to apologize for the preservation of hers.


The Day of the News

I have just been offered a job at a university on the other side of the country. As a sufferer of anxiety, I thought it might be entertaining to write a blog throughout this process. Also, as a sufferer or anxiety, I thought I might begin an unpublished draft in case the pressure is too much.

I mention the anxiety because my anxiety is not the typical freak out and worry anxiety. My anxiety is the napping kind of anxiety. I get overwhelmed, and it’s as if Jigglypuff is suddenly in the room. With that, I hope it makes sense that I laid down several times yesterday. I laid down after I researched flights – but I cried, so that’s good… crying is not in my typical scope of emotional responses… we’ll talk more about that later. Then, I laid down after I booked my flight, before my shower, and then again when I got to my friend’s house. I’m telling you, Jigglypuff.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Jigglypuff, allow me to introduce you. This is Jigglypuff. He’s a Pokemon, and his power is SINGING people to SLEEP. That asshole!


Anyway, I’m moving across the country. I made several lists for packing, I made reservations for my flight and hotel, and I researched (which means Pinterest) summer business casual fashion on the east coast. I got nervous because it rains in Virginia Beach, and meantime, in California, the waitresses give you dirty looks if you ask for water that you apparently intend to use for anything other than nurturing the Earth. Forget human hydration, folks, we’re in a drought, for crying out loud! In Virginia Beach, it RAINS while it’s hot. Furthermore, I have a bachelor’s degree now. This is a BA level job at a university… a highly conservative, Christian university at that. My last employer embraced diversity to such a degree that I felt encouraged, upon being hired, to dye parts of my hair purple. I have a nose ring and tattoos. I’m tall and red headed. Plus, I’m clumsy, so I stick out like a sore thumb, and then, odds are, I’ll literally be sticking out from all my yelling about my sore thumb or what have you.

See, now the anxiety about the blog venture is back, because maybe you, reader, find my dialect incomprehensible, or my sense of humor incoherent. Maybe I’m trying too hard. If I am trying too hard, I blame Lorelai Gilmore for her ultra fast talking and incessant jokes (I’m currently watching the episode with the Renaissance wedding).

My plan is to take it one day at a time, here. I’m dedicating tonight to developing a solid game plan. I’ve just googled the following: “How to move across the country,” “how to start a new job,” and “how to adjust to a new place.” In light of Thursday’s therapy session, I am learning to recognize my feelings. That sounds ridiculous, but I’m not sure how else to say that. Apparently, throughout the course of any given day, I have no idea what I’m feeling, or that I have any feelings. It is true that some people are less emotionally driven than others, but there is a difference between being unemotional and being emotionally unaware. What is particularly interesting about this is that I would consider myself to be a highly emotionally intelligent individual. I am empathetic almost to a fault. However, when it comes to my own feelings, it is a completely new idea to suggest that I could possibly be feeling things all the time. Perhaps I’m not as tired as I think I am all the time, and I’m confusing tired with sad or afraid. Perhaps my temper isn’t short at all, and I just haven’t learned to recognize that I have feelings of anger or irritation until I’ve reached surpassed them to arrive at hateful, enraged, or furious. My therapist suggested that I check in with myself and my feelings wheel regularly throughout the day, and it is true that sometimes I check in, and I truly don’t feel anything (“What’s a feelings wheel?” you ask? Click on those bold, blue words, there, and it’ll take you to a picture!)

At my first check in, though – and I hope this will give you an indication of the emotional confusion I’m trying to describe – I was happy and hopeful one second, and then I was suddenly uncomfortable. I couldn’t quite figure out what was making me uncomfortable. I began asking myself what I need: “Are you hungry? Do you want some french fries? Are you thirsty? Are you having a caffeine crash? Is the traffic making you nervous? Are you worried about going to the beach with your mom? Do you want another cigarette already? Are you lonely? Do you want to call someone? Are you bored”

Seriously, I was in detective mode. Then, I started paying closer attention to the stimulus by which I was surrounded at that moment, having realized the day before that I do tend to become overstimulated rather easily. Not too bright, not too loud, not too slow, not too crowded… so, not overstimulated. And then! It hit me! I didn’t like the song that was playing. That was it. I had/have become so detached from my feelings that I went through all of that to figure out that I didn’t like a song. Therefore, as I hope you can now see, it is a huge deal that yesterday, when I found out that I was leaving everything and everyone that I know and love, it only took me about an hour to find myself at sad and to respond to my sadness with tears.