This week, I faced a spike in financial and housing stress. In the grand scheme of things, it was negligible. It was more likely a product of incompetence, and doesn’t at all spell my immediate eviction, but that’s what it felt like in my body.
For two full days I vibrated with stress, anxiety, and rage, struggling to let it go even after doing everything in my power to advocate for myself. I felt at once helpless, and also capable of burning down the whole world, of exploding my pattern of conflict avoidance and unleashing my righteous, inconsolable fury on the first person unfortunate enough to answer the phone. Having worked at a call center in my past, I tried very hard to be calm and amiable, despite the oppressive pounding in my chest, and cloud of prolonged anxiety attack swirling in my brain.
The problem’s not much closer to being solved due to a negligent corporate landlord, but I chose myself over my fear of getting in trouble for not throwing money at bogus charges. Then I struggled a lot with shame and intrusive thoughts about my anxiety, and whether it makes me broken or crazy. But now that a lot of the cortisol has worn off and no one’s come to kidnap my pets over my outstanding balance, I’ve become curious about my reaction to the situation.
For those two days, it immediately burned up whatever peace and joy I’ve built, like I’ve been walking around covered in gasoline this whole time. And that’s what really upset me the most.
When I step back and take stock, my life is generally trending positively. I’ve done so much inner work, and I’m finding more connection in my relationships, better health, success in my day job, and branching out in my creative work in a way that’s more life-giving than my previous social media slavery.
Yet there’s this dark cloud hanging over my life I can’t seem to shake. I always feel like I’m on a razor’s edge, on the verge of losing everything, of finding out I was never worth anything at all. Things I felt secure in have been upended, and I’m reckoning with my hard won self-confidence becoming dangerously unmoored. I find myself subconsciously braced to be rejected, isolated, and exploited despite reality actively pointing toward the opposite. And no amount of talking about the private circumstances that ate away at me last year has seemed to chase away the paranoia that I am too hard to love.
It’s made any amount of waiting in uncertainty intolerable. But isn’t life just a never ending series of change and waiting in uncertainty?
I cope by trying to do and be everything, but that’s not much of a solution. I locked something down deep inside me trying to survive a situation that’s now passed, and untangling that’s still a tough project.
I’ve come to a point in my journey where I want to spend more time looking forward and embracing what’s next, rather than looking back.