Anyway, I was a real pain in the butt today--for myself. I was cranky, irritable, and peevish. (Just realized I'm PMSing, which actually makes me feel better because I'm not a total psycho for no reason! And now the cookie dough makes so much more sense.) I woke early this morning up feeling anxious and it just got worse after that. Anxiety has got to have some of the worst physical effects of any emotion for me. It manifests itself in an elevated pulse, feelings of "inside shivers" as I call them, and an upset stomach.
Realizing I was feeling anxious (because I'm so fucking emotionally self-aware), I say to myself, "Ok, self. What will make you feel better?" I know, I'll go run! So I hop up to the gym in my building and run. And run. And run. I'm all by myself in the room and take the opportunity to lip sync along with my iPod, skipping around on the"F*** love" playlist and really channel Kelly Clarkson and Pink's bitchiest songs as my feet pound the treadmill. I was getting some relief from the anxiety and was feeling like a badass as a result.
But as soon as I stepped off the treadmill, the damn anxiety washed over me again. After all that running, how did my body even have enough energy to fuel that? So again being self-aware, I say, "Ok, self. Let's go back to the self-care menu. What else could we try?" I know! I'll take a hot bath with lots of bubbles, candles, and some soothing music. I thought I would be extra brilliant and bring my netbook into the bathroom, so that I could turn on Pandora. I put on what I thought would be a relaxing station, but then all these damn love songs came on! I couldn't just reach out and change it because my hands were all soapy and wet. So, I sat there in the tub and cried. Not exactly what I was going for.
Eventually I got out of the tub and thought again, "Ok, self. FOR REAL, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING TO SOOTHE YOU?" Easy there, self-talk. Getting a little irritated. So, I decide to get dressed and just get out for awhile. Then it became this whole inner battle of why was I going to Costco when I don't really need anything, or why was I going to the library when my books weren't due for another 4 days. All this negative talk. I felt like I needed to justify my decision to leave the apartment.
In a moment of clarity/grace (thank you, grace, for finally showing yourself), I said to myself, "I am leaving the apartment because leaving the apartment is good for me. It doesn't matter if I spend $100 or not, have a purpose other than leaving the apartment or not, but getting the hell out of this confined space is a good thing." And off I went, to conquer the world. Or just get 4 pounds of strawberries from Costco.
In his book Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, Thich Nhat Nahn talks about caring for our anger like a baby. When a baby cries, we don't yell at the baby (or we shouldn't anyway). We don't try to reason with a crying baby. No, we pick up the baby, embrace her warmly, and soothe her. I've been thinking of myself as that crying baby (well, I am an actual crying baby these days, but I mean in the figurative Thich Nhat Nahn way). I'm so quick to get pissed off with myself, get frustrated when something doesn't click, or when I don't get the response I'm expecting. That's about as effective as trying to tell a screaming baby to shut the fuck up. Yeah, it's disturbing, isn't it? Just thinking of saying something like that to a little baby? Yeah, so why in the hell would I treat myself like that?
Rather than beating myself up for beating myself up, I'm trying to pick up all that hurt, that anger, that pain I'm feeling like it's an innocent, fussy baby who just needs a lot of TLC. Kind of like this kid...