It’s Saturday! I’m sitting in a light filled kitchen with a latte and a stack of poetry books. The door is swung open so I can hear the sounds of birds chirping in the trees outside my window. It’s a glorious morning, I’d say.
These glorious mornings are incredibly important to me. In fact, I find myself relying on them. Maybe more than I should, but such is life. It’s been a while since I’ve written a “healthy living” post so in the spirit of spring, I am celebrating life and the choices available to us.
For some reason, and I have no clue why, I’ve suffered from job anxiety my entire life. I’ve always been good at what I do and even if I love my job, I tend to get worked up and incredibly worried for no good reason. I currently work as a florist, a job that I adore, and this still happens. So I rely on mornings, on a few hours of undisturbed peace in which I can calm my thoughts with a cup of coffee and some reading.
I started my first “real” job when I was sixteen and I worked as a ski instructor in Fernie, BC. I worked in the daycare and spent my days taking adorable toddlers out to test their skills and despite my convincing princess or invisible bird acts, I found myself awake every friday night on the verge of tears. I’d sit in bed and contemplate quitting.
I’ll admit that one of the ways I coped back then was by seeking affirmation. At the time, I was dating someone who’d send me long and reassuring messages before work and I’d read them over and over until I felt semi-convinced. At sixteen, this seemed perfectly fine. But as I got older I started to realize that it wasn’t just my job as a ski instructor that would leave me feeling anxious. It was any job. Frankly, it’s anything time related. I do not like having to show up anywhere at a particular time and yet I must. The world we live in demands this of me.
Eventually, I realized that I couldn’t spend my life relying on significant others to text me before every shift or commitment. Here, and I don’t say this lightly… some anxiety is, ultimately, ridiculous. I needed an action plan, a way to help myself fall asleep at night and a way to decompress before starting the day.
In my second year of university I started waking up extra early so I’d have “me time” before having to give my time to someone else. This was a simple and yet surprisingly helpful discovery. Even one hour, one hour of personal reflection, reading, music or journaling could help prep me for the day and send me on my way feeling confident and energized.
This morning, apart from writing this post, I have picked up one of my favourite collections of poems. The Madness Vase, by Andrea Gibson is absolutely exquisite and I find myself falling in love with the collection over and over again.
The nutritionist said I should eat root vegetables.
Said if I could get down thirteen turnips a day
I would be grounded, rooted.
Said my head would not keep flying away
to where the darkness lives.
-Excerpt from The Madness Vase
And I guess when it comes down to it, we’re all looking for what grounds us. For some it’s music or running or boxing. For others perhaps it’s painting or cooking or drinking. We’re all looking. I know I am, and it’s a long, tired search for some elusive uncertainty. But I suppose the most we can do is indulge ourselves. Perhaps we cannot figure out why, but we might figure out how.
I’ll probably always get anxious about mundane, time-related issues. There’s no logical answer as to why I feel the way I do and for years I fought against myself, told myself I needed to “get over it.” But the reality of the situation is that anxiety isn’t a ball you kick out the door, a ball that rolls down the street and never comes back. No, it’s a ball that bounces and sometimes we score and sometimes we send it flying out of bounds but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s a game to play. A game that sometimes has rules. Rules that are there to be followed but sometimes get broken. Rules that assume we’re all on the same page but still, the ref calls “fault.”
So I’ve come to recognize that working with myself is the most I can do. We are, after all, our own best friend. Meanwhile, we are told to love others despite their faults and yet we are forever told to better ourselves, to grow and change and move forward, and while I second this, I have to wonder why we so often treat others with a patience and compassion we rarely apply to ourselves?
This said, work is calling my name so I wish everyone a peaceful Saturday. If you’d like to share your thoughts, please do so by commenting in the bar below!