I remember being age five and preparing for my first day of kindergarten. It was bath time and my mother was telling me about my teacher. Her name was Mrs. Williamson. In all of my five years of living I had never heard that last name. I was only familiar with the last name Williams so that is what I called her.
Mother: No, it’s Williamson.
Me: Ms. Williams
Me: I can’t say that.
Mother: Yes, you can. Williamson.
By the end of the night I got the hang of it, but not before having a total meltdown in the bathtub. Alas, I was five.
Fast forward to age 18. I was a senior in high school and my mom came home one day to find me in tears. I had gotten accepted to five of the six schools to which I applied. I hadn’t decided which school I would attend. Everyone else around me knew where they were going. I quite overwhelmed and I felt inadequate because I didn’t know what to do.
I didn’t realize that, in both of those instances and in countless other experiences, I was dealing with anxiety. Experiencing anxiety is a normal part of the human experience. I am not diagnosing myself with an anxiety disorder which is different and much more severe. I also don’t want to trivialize that because anxiety disorders are real. I’m just saying that I realize now the way I react to certain things is a product of anxiousness and for a long time I did not realize it.
I get anxious at the onset of a new thing, when I face a challenge that I have never encountered before, or when I have to make a big decision. Wait a minute…isn’t that just called life? Well yeah, but for me some things in life bring on lots of feels and tears. Change is one of those things. So much so that in an attempt to preserve myself sometimes I put off doing the new things, accepting the new challenges, and/or making the big decisions. It took almost a year for me to actually quit playing basketball in college. Even after I decided to quit my coach had to coax me in to actually quitting. She knew I didn’t have a real passion for the game. I marinated on this whole blog idea for almost two years before setting up a wordpress account and waited another 8 months before I published anything. I still get jitters about every piece I write. On Tuesdays I have to make myself publish something. Then, I close my laptop and walk away. Kind of like throwing your phone across the room after you send that text to a crush. At the onset of my last relationship I felt a great deal of angst. I thought about all of the reasons why it was not a good idea and all of the reasons why it would not work. I literally felt nauseous until I called it off.
Interestingly enough, one of my favorite scriptures is Phil 4:6-7. Be anxious about nothing, but through prayer and supplication make your request known to God. and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard you hears and your minds in Christ Jesus. I’m still learning to really trust God and cast my cares onto him. When I am feeling especially pressed about life reflecting on this verse and going into a deep, ugly cry of a prayer really helps me to regain my footing. I call those cleansing cries. I’m still figuring out where I want to go and what I want to do with this gift of life. I expect to have a few more of those cleansing, ugly cries as I continue on this journey because I believe it is healthy to cry through some stuff. In addition to reflection and prayer, I think the key to me feeling less anxious about the future is to start being more present in the here and now. And to make decisions unapologetically without any concern for who may be watching and/or judging. That’s a major key for me. I’m still learning.
Happy Hump Day Beauties!