Thursday, May 10, 2018

Fear of agoraphobia

"Through your eyes the strains of battle like a brooding storm
You're up and down these pristine velvet walls like focus never forms."

I had a little emotional setback.

When we first moved here I rarely went more than a day without tears.

In fact, in the months leading up to the move, I cried on a regular basis as well.

When people asked about the move, I said I felt conflicted. I agreed to move, and part of me wanted to go.

But I also loved my home and my life and I was worried about leaving all the familiar things, my small group of friends, my doctors, dentists, hairstylist, masseuse, nail salon. Most of all I feared the physical and psychological distance from my children.

Having gone my rounds with depression a time or two, I didn't know what to expect. Would I lose my appetite? Would I have trouble getting out of bed?

And for the first few months it was a hard adjustment. I didn't have any routines, we didn't have any comfortable furniture, and oft times I just didn't know where to put myself.

But things got better, especially once I had my studio set up and furniture was delivered and I was able to finish unpacking and getting settled. I didn't miss Texas and I started to like it here. I stopped missing my former home and started loving this one. I missed my friends, no getting around that one. But getting my life set up here was easier than I expected. I found a doctor, a dentist, an optometrist, a vet, a dermatologist, all without too much trouble. I changed my address on my bank accounts and credit cards, got my North Carolina drivers license, traded in my car.

I had some challenges this winter. Neil was away several times. He spent almost two weeks in New Jersey, helping his mom, who was undergoing chemo and radiation. He played softball tournaments in Myrtle Beach and Virginia Beach, which meant he left on Thursday and got home late Sunday. He also spent almost a week visiting his kids and his friends in Texas.

And I did OK while he was away. I stayed busy. I shopped, I made beads, I went for walks, I walked on the treadmill, I read and I watched a lot of series on Amazon and Netflix. I had a massage and a manicure. I attended an HOA board meeting because I agreed to become secretary. I figured it was a way to meet some people and do something civic-minded.

I didn't cry once. I didn't need to take any extra anxiety medicine. I felt lonely but I coped.

The one thing I could have done, but didn't do, was to call either of the two people here that I have made a friendly connection with and plan a lunch date. I'm not sure why I didn't, I had plenty of time, but each day I put it off.

And then Neil got home, on the Tuesday, and we had a couple of nice laid-back days. And then he played in another three-day tournament.

This one was local. We talked about me going out to watch and meet his team mates and any of the spouses who might have come out to the field. But it didn't happen.

I'm not sure how much I'd have in common with the team members and mates. After the games, they all go to a tavern and order wings and drink beer, or they go someplace to eat like Hooter's. None of that is really Neil's thing either. He came right home after the games on the Friday. On the Saturday he went to the tavern with the team and had some chips and cokes, but came home to have dinner with me.

And that sounds nice. But someone was hosting a party and Neil did not want to go. And I felt sad because here was a chance to be out in the world with other people. I know it's not Neil's job to organize my social life. And deep down, I always would rather stay home with him, if I'm honest.

On the Sunday, the day I was going to come to the field. There was some question whether they'd play two games or three. After the first game, Neil texted that they'd won. I texted back, asking if I should come then. An hour or so later Neil texted that they'd won the last game too, and he was headed home.

I really got the sense that he didn't want me to come. He said it was really warm, there was no shade, and I'd have hated it. Which is probably true.

But it's become really easy to stay home in my soft pants. It's become so very easy not to leave the house for days in a row. And I felt sad about that.

Sad enough to shed tears.

To make it up to me, I think, Neil talked me into going out to dinner on Sunday. So I did put on some real clothes and some jewelry, and we went to a local barbecue place, and had a nice meal.

And I've been trying to feel better since then. I got out and did some errands one day, had a key made for our housekeeper, dropped off an Amazon return at UPS, got bagels. The next day we did some errands together, took my car in for a recall repair, dropped off an old VCR for recycling, picked up some coffee pods, got smoothies, stopped in at a local consignment shop and checked out the current offerings.

We were home by midday, including picking up my car, but it felt good to be out and about.

I'm trying to be more relaxed about my days. I'm trying to be less obsessive about making beads for one thing, especially since I have so much inventory right now. I've been selling some things, mostly to my core customers, but also a few new ones, and I've had a few custom orders too.

But I'm also trying to be more still and present. I'm trying to give myself permission to sit out on the porch and enjoy the sunshine and watch the birds and smell the new growth and listen to the frogs and just be.

I want to read more and write more and write more meaningfully. I want to try to cook more, specifically more healthily, more vegetables and less hot dogs, more homemade soups and fewer frozen meals. I want to learn to knit or crochet, or more accurately relearn, since I once knew the basics of both.

I want to explore Charlotte and more of North Carolina. I want to plan more trips, travel more. Neil and I sat down and made a list of the places we'd most like to travel, and tried to prioritize them. Bryce National Park wound up high on the list, and I took a look at the lodge there to see if we could sandwich something in this year, either before or after out big trip to Alaska in July.

Of course the lodge was booked through every month until October, when there were four days available, but not sequentially. So on a whim I looked at next summer and we wound up booking a random week next June, almost 14 months in the future. I think that's just how we have to do it. Because once it's on the calendar, we can work around it to make it happen. And chances are we will wind up going, whereas if we'd waited to plan it until next year, we'd be looking at sold out lodging again.

Now I'm thinking about what else we might want to put on the calendar. Acadia National Park is on our list, as are the upper peninsula of Michigan, the Badlands area, Death Valley, Lake Tahoe, a return to both Lassen and Yellowstone and Great Sand Dunes. I'd love to go to the Virgin Islands National Park, but that would be another huge splurge, much like Alaska.

In the near term, I have to decide if I'm going to go with Neil to any of his upcoming softball tournaments. The next one I think is in Knoxville, in June, and that may be a good one for several reasons. It's a reasonable drive, through beautiful countryside, and I've always liked Tennessee. In the even nearer term, I think I will go to one of Neil's weekly league games.

It's time for me to step out of my comfort zone, and by comfort zone, I mean this house. Which is harder than you'd think, harder than it should be.

In other news, I made 6 pairs of beads for a customer who wanted more of my encased black with dots in bright colors.

I sent her the photos and she responded, "Hello, my friend...not the color combos I was hoping for...please don't hate me!!!"

I wasn't happy. I said, "Brighter dots, more primary colors. I tried."

She said, "I know, honey....I know it was a lot of work....I am looking for them in Mary Engelbreit colors...with bright yellow, true red with white on black..."

I said, "My fault. I should have asked for more specific guidance. I thought there’d at least be one or two pairs that you'd like."

She said, "I'm terribly sorry, Elizabeth"

And I said, "It‘s OK. Someone else will buy them."

I thought that was the end of the matter.

I also made a couple of sets for another customer, who wanted me to match a dress.

Photo fabric swatch.

She redeemed my morning with her reaction. She said, " Oh. My. Dog. I knew you’d knock it out of the park! These are simply stunning. May I have them all? I would love to make two necklaces and wear them together. I am just amazed!!!"

And then that evening my first customer decided to buy two of the encased black dot pairs after all. I felt like I guilted her into it, but she said she was sure.

Lastly, it seems the universe does not want me to have red sandals. The first pair I ordered from Amazon were more brown than red and didn't fit well. I sent them back.

The I ordered a pair from another online retailer. I had to order two pairs to get an advertised discount and free shipping. I got a shipping notice that my order was shipped, with this little caveat. "Because we utilize warehouses across the country to better serve you, items may ship separately."

Two days later I got a notice that my order had been cancelled. "We regret to inform you that one or more of your items has been cancelled from your order." And of course it was the red sandals.

Since then I've been to both ends of the Internet without finding a pair of red sandals that I like, in my size, at a price I want to pay.

I've gobbled up way too much time searching, and I may just pay a lot more for the same ones, just so I can stop obsessing about it and put my time to better use.

Like reading more, writing more, writing more meaningfully. And all those other more lofty goals.

But first things first. Because red sandals.

In the desert of my dreams I saw you there
And I'm walking towards the water steaming body cold and bare
But your words cut loose the fire and you left my soul to bleed
And the pain that's in your truth deceiving me has got me scared

Oh why
Oh why

Through your eyes the strains of battle like a brooding storm
You're up and down these pristine velvet walls like focus never forms
My walls are getting wider and my eyes are drawn astray
I see you now a vague deception of a dying day

Oh why
Oh why

I fall into the water and once more I turn to you
And the crowds were standing staring faceless cutting off my view to you
They start to limply flail their bodies in a twisted mime
And I'm lost inside this tangled web in which I'm lain entwined
You're gone and I'm lost inside this tangled web in which I'm lain entwined

Oh why
Oh why

(Sarah Mclachlan, © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz