elevated levels

I am sitting here at work, after a long day of not doing
much and then having to do everything at once, torn between the idea of going
home and getting my ass in gear to start purging and packing, and going out and
getting a fucking drink. I feel like I need a fucking drink. I do not leave for
another two and a half weeks, but I am already starting to panic. Panic does
not feel good at all. It feels, in fact, like hell. I am dizzy, and nauseous,
and irritable, and everything makes me want to cry. "I like your
shoes!" a coworker says, and I want to burst into tears.

There is plenty of time to go through all my junk, to throw
out what I do not need and sort what I will need. There is a week and a half of
time, complete with an entire weekend, to do everything I need to do, to gather
boxes and make lists and plans and get myself psyched up to take care of things
after work; then, I have an entire work-free week to get my shit together, to
get up every morning and steadily pack a room a day and then have a night to
see the people I’m going to miss. And yet I feel like the icy blade of the
unforgiving pendulum is swinging ever lower and lower, and being
incredibly melodramatic is a perfectly natural and reasonable way to be.

When I moved across the country the last time, from New York (fine, New Jersey.
But practically New York) to San Francisco, I was escaping some terrible
things—a lousy relationship that I was too stupid to extract myself from in any
other way, being laid off after September 11th and having no job
prospects at all, being in a city that had been terribly wounded and was
limping, having very few friends left. I was looking for a brand-new life in
which everything would be perfect and wonderful, because my current life was
everything that was imperfect and awful. I was packing and crying and drinking
water glasses of whiskey to get to sleep at night, to wake up at three in
the morning absolutely unable to breathe, convinced that expiring right
there in my pillow would be better than having to deal with the next month, oh

This time, it should be better, right? I love my life here,
and I have a good job, and a nice apartment and I’m in a city that loves me
back and my life is pretty damn good, but I’ve made this conscious choice to have
an adventure and do something terrifying for a lot of reasons that feel a
little more sensible (if also a little more fucking crazy) than that last time
I upturned my life. I am not running away from something; I’m heading toward
something at right angles from me, and it is good. It’s a good thing I’m doing,
I think. I’m making the right choice, I think. So why is this feeling of panic
and terror so familiar? It should be excitement and impatience, here in my
heart, instead of dread and woe and stress. I do not approve of this. I do not.

Of course, I know that moving is one of the top three
stressors, if you sit down and make a list of things that are stressful (death,
moving, rabid unicorn babies on a deadly rampage—something like that). And that
even though I’m heading toward something that could be very good for me, I’m
also leaving something that’s always been good for me, and that is stress. And
it could not work out, and there’s a source of stress. And also, moving fucking
sucks. I cannot adequately express the suck of moving, and how my house is a
complete and total nightmare disaster area and that won’t change anytime soon
over the next few weeks and disasters like this make me twitch. They make me
totally, absolutely batshit fucking nuts and unhinged and of course that is
going to not help my already elevated levels of cortisol and crazy. I cannot
think or function properly in a mess. What the hell am I doing, trying to move
like this?

What the hell am I doing? It’s a good question. The
reasonable answer isn’t helping. Reminding myself that I’m doing this on
purpose isn’t helping. Whiskey? Isn’t helping. It helps for a little while,
though. So I might get that drink, and go home, and look at the kitchen I
promised myself I’d start sorting, and instead make myself some tuna fish and
crawl into bed with my book and try to believe that 15 days is just as good as
16 days to pack, if not better. Because motivation! I work well under pressure!
I am tired of pressure, and looking forward to this being done.

5 Replies to “elevated levels”

  1. Anne,
    How about if I come out there and pack and sort for you, and you can come out here and clean out my office and sort my doll collection and book collection–then, we’ll fly back to our respective homes and you can go to Utah with all your stuff packed and I can come home to the perfectly weeded office, book and doll collections! Deal?

  2. Seriously, girl. Ask a friend for help! It is so much easier to pack up someone else’s stuff than your own!

  3. Honestly, it almost doesn’t make sense just HOW stressful moving is. Under ANY circumnstances.

    Case in point: two moves ago, I left my husband. Talk about stressful. Holy shit. BUT, my last move was when I moved in with my love. That should be so sweet, no? Well, yeah, my life with him is. Every day. But the packing up of all my crap and the physical moving? Sucked just as much as the move before it. Which makes no sense, you might say, but there you go. Moving sucks. It’s that simple.

    But remember: it’s temporary. Soon it will be over and you’ll be facing your new adventure (which, duh, is adding to the stress. It’s damn exciting but also scary as all hell).

    Pack your whiskey bottle, kid. I think you’re in for a fantastically wild ride. Remember this too: you have to be able to Embrace the Suck to also be able to fully appreciate the Wheeeee! in life.

  4. Anne,
    Reminds of the time when I left everything I knew and loved to move to London — sold my apartment (and everything in it), stashed my animals with my mother in California and just tripped on over there. Why? Because I had always wanted to and an opportunity presented itself and I believed it was something I had to do. My training analyst said I must have something inside me that he didn’t have because he could never leave everything comfortable and familiar (and supportive) to leap out into the unknown like that. After arriving in London, I realized what I had that he didn’t have — ignorance! I had no idea what I was doing! But, you know what, that was a defining moment in my life and I can say with all honesty that in the 10 years since I did that my life has just gotten better and better. I stepped off the safe ledge and instead of falling into the abyss I found a great, ever present block of solidity within me. I wish the same or better for you! Good luck!

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