I’m almost ready for spring. The winter isn’t getting on my nerves quite yet. The only thing I miss right now is being able to drive comfortably without a heavy coat on.
I’ve been feeling terribly helpless lately. There are so many things in my life that are out of my control — health, love, money, work — that I’ve actually considered doing a thought record for the first time since I finished therapy. Last week I woke up choking in the middle of the night. Then half way through the day I started developing moderate chest pains. I try not to worry when I’m awake, but at night, in my sleep, everything comes out. Maybe everything is starting to get to me.
I want things to happen quickly. I’m impatient. I want to be proactive, but there’s not much I can do. Verse 42 of the Tao Te Ching has been speaking to me:
Who knows what fate may bring —
one day your loss may be your fortune
one day your fortune may be your loss
While I usually crave the flux between constancy and change, I prefer it in one thing at a time. It feels like I’m going through another transition period. Nothing around me is settled.
It snowed all day yesterday, and well into the night. The whiteness outside reflects the sky and has filled my house with bright light. It’s the weekend and I’m awake.
I’ve fallen in love with smoothies. They are usually comprised of three bananas, three tangerines, a third of a pineapple, yogurt, juice, and frozen 4‑fruit berry or summer fruit salad. I have three a day. This makes me poo like crazy.
Life has been exhaustingly busy. The photo sessions are over, post-processing is done, and my pictures are all printed. The only thing left is to get them framed. I had my first session with my psychologist. I’m cancelling my Tai Chi tomorrow. I have to plan my relaxation, and this doesn’t make it very relaxing.
This weekend I hope to:
catch up on my e‑mails
fill out a bunch of forms my psychologist gave me, including a multimodal life history inventory
Next week is going to be even more crazy, no pun intended. Monday I’m meeting with the framer, Tuesday and Thursday I have Tai Chi, Wednesday I’m having dinner at the gallery and meeting the other artists.
I haven’t been sleeping well. In the midst of all this sociability, I’ve been battling my anxiety. It’s filled me with a quiet determination, but the long exposure has worn me down.
I asked Julie to come to the show with me. I did it with trepidation, because I considered it a big favour, and felt like I didn’t know her well enough to ask. But Blake was out of town and she was going out on Saturday, so it just happened that she decided to keep her Friday free.
It pretty much saved me. When driving to the pub, I was hit with an anxiety attack, which I’ll elaborate on in another entry someday.
Julie was the perfect person to bring, I imagine because she has experience with people who suffer from anxiety. I told her I may suddenly want to leave at any point, possibly even on the way there. She told me she didn’t mind coming, she didn’t mind leaving, she didn’t even mind standing outside the pub with me for a couple minutes in ‑16°C weather while I mentally prepared myself. I owe her big time.
We played cards to get my mind off the anxiety. I taught her how to play Slapjack, she taught me how to play Egyptian War. It worked.
While waiting for the show to start, I gave Krista the large prints from the previous shows. Krista gave us some random Larry and Bob balloon stickers she found on the bus (Julie and I think they were from a deaf person). Julie also met Cory there, her schoolmate from horticulture college, and Krista’s sister.
At the first show, I told Shane he should make an acoustic version of his album. Since I paid him in person for a pre-release EP that night, he told me he did have an acoustic version and promised to give it to me. I asked him earlier this week if he could bring it, which he did, but he forgot it in his suitcase. Quite a pity, since he told me he was in the studio making sure he mixed it right for me. He felt terrible about it, and told me he’d mail it to me instead. March 14th is when the album officially comes out.
The sets were rather short. Shanker and Romps opened for them, a garage rockabilly duo. Our view of this performance was a bunch of people who were much taller than ourselves.
The highlight of the show was seeing Shane perform It’s A Drag (and getting a video of it!), my favourite song on the album. Krista did the backup vocals. This is the only time you’ll hear such a dulcet harmony from another awesome artist, certainly something you can only experience from a tour. Krista also got Cory up on stage for the Bumblebee Song as an encore.
Julie asked me if I still had a crush on Krista. I had to think about it for a little bit, and the fact that I had to think about it made me realize that I don’t anymore.
An hour to the new year, and I’m in the train station.
Trying not to throw up. Trying not to think about meeting new people. Trying not to think of having to see people I hate.
One of the station doors is propped open, but there isn’t a single person inside. The station, normally bustling, is empty, with just the buzz of the lights to fill the empty space. Not even a waiting taxi outside. Everything sterile as a hospital. I wanted to take a picture, but I could barely move, so I pulled out my notebook and managed to scribble two words:
Another debilitating panic attack.
Pat and Jen’s party was postponed, so I had already decided to stay home. It was ten when Aaron called me to go over1.
Halfway through the bus ride, I was filled with a sudden rush of anxiety. Maybe it was the people on the bus, or the fact that I wasn’t mentally prepared to be at a party. I couldn’t breathe, yet I was hyperventilating.
I had to get off at the next stop, which turned out to be the train station. As I sat inside, the anxiety would pass in a couple minutes, then come back in a wave as strong as before. I called Aaron and told him I was going to head home, but he insisted, so he sent Rob and Doug to pick me up.
I arrived drained and exhausted. It was a hellish night.
I can only hope the rest of the year goes better than this.
The only way I found out about the New Year’s party was from Rob’s comment. Aaron never told me about it himself, so I wasn’t going to presume that I was invited, because I never take my friendships for granted. [↩]
In post war England, an imminent murder is announced in the local paper. A murder does occur, but not the one expected and it is Miss Marple who comes to the rescue to solve the mystifying case.
Two tickets, but I’m on the downswing. It’s the introverted end of my cycle and I can’t meet new people or go outside without feeling some kind of anxiety. I used to live two blocks away from the theatre, passing it many times but never in attendance. I always kept an eye out for a play I wanted to see — Equus, or Hamlet, or Picasso at the Lapin Agile — but nothing piqued my interest. This time, the opportunity presented itself, Pearl double-booked with extra tickets, and I couldn’t say no.
I force myself to go.
It’s a little warm to be wearing a blazer, but nothing else affords me the pockets for my Moleskine, pen, lens cloth, and iPod. Waiting at the bus stop, I write.
At this time on a Sunday, I’m usually winding down. Taking out the garbage, doing the dishes, finishing off an entry, getting things squared away for another week. Instead, I’m heading out. For days I’ve been trying to write about how jumbled I feel. There have been new developments, both good and bad, leaving me with a mixture of excitement and disappointment. The most I can say is that it makes sense, how I feel, and I can trace every emotion to a cause.
The bus comes. On it, I listen to my music but I can’t get in the right head space. Nothing fits. I’m not feeling sad, or happy, or jaded, or energetic. I skip song after song.
Stepping off the bus, my agoraphobia begins to choke me.