I’m sitting on the train down into Salt Lake City, eating a turkey sandwich and feeling terribly, terribly nervous. The sandwich is fine, the train is fine, the sky is blue, I look cute today, everything is great, but where I’m going, every time I think about it–it’s like I’ve been nailed with the tiniest slivers of dread all along my spine, and they are trembling with every breath I take and sending shivers of anxiety through my skin.
I wish this were a dopey exaggeration, that I wasn’t so nervous about something that isn’t really all that nerve wracking, that I didn’t experience anxiety in such a physical way. That I could sit back and read my book and occasionally look up and admire the countryside sloping by and be getting off the train, in a half hour, to do some shopping. I need to go buy a dress for a wedding. Before that, I need to make this appointment with a therapist. The kind who fixes your head and makes you stop being crazy. Or tries to, anyway.
Why am I so nervous? Because it’s like tearing off a butterfly bandage,
and the sides of the wound are going to gape open and start with the
oozing again and it’s going to hurt and not be pretty and I am not a
fan of blood. I am a fan of hyperbole and imagining
worst-case scenarios, however. But what I mean is this: it’s so much
easier to not think about your problems, am I right? Out of sight, out
of mind is how that saying goes and it is one of my favorites. Once I
start thinking about them, they are real and true and I have to think
about all the times I have messed up and all the unhappinesses I have,
both real and imagined. Both real and imagined, they’re unpleasant to
think about and unpleasant to deal with and just generally unpleasant.
And so I’m sitting on this train, finishing up my turkey sandwich and
shivering in the air conditioning and with nerves, on my way to talk to
someone about everything that is wrong with me. One of my defining
characteristics is that I don’t want anyone to know that there is
anything wrong with me. I want people to think I am just fine, thank
you. And now I am going to go tell a lady I’ve never met before that I
am so far from fine, I come back all the way around and smack myself in
the head. And then hope she’ll tell me, you’re finer than you think;
or, it can be fixed, and please don’t despair. And, this session is
free because you are so pretty!
But I need to talk to someone about the eating–the emotional kind, the
mindless kind. I need to figure out why I keep hurting myself when I
know better. I want to know why I don’t ever do the things I am
supposed to do, why everything seems hard, so often, how to let things
go, how to be who I am–whoever the hell that is–and how to raise my
voice, in all senses of the phrase, because that is something I’ve
forgotten how to do.