Growing Pains

Was a sitcom in the 80’s starring, among others Kirk Cameron. Later his sister Candace was on Full House. And now I have both dated and embarrassed myself with those pieces of television arcana. So be it.

Growing pains are also real physiological challenges and real psychological challenges. I’ve got a little case of them right now, and ibuprofen ain’t gonna touch it. I know that someday in the not totally distant future I am going to feel better. I will stop grinding my mental teeth (thankfully I am grinding my actual teeth a lot less than I would have expected), the tension in my neck will release and my stress cravings will return to background levels. Right now however, I spend several hours of most days wanting throw things that will splinter satisfyingly at brick walls. I’m sad. I’m scared. I’m confused. I’m frustrated. I’m deeply, sickeningly anxious. The supportive kindness of my friends makes me bristle (because they ask me every single day if the shoe has dropped yet). I’m annoyed because I hate feeling like this and wanting and needing in this angry, insatiable way. At work my job is to caringly, carefully, shepherd people who are desperately sick of all we are doing even though I’m gagging on it myself. This is reality. This is the soft, gentle darkness that laps at toes with its warm current, cloying and growing with the tide until you’re up to your neck with your head crushed against the ceiling in this cheeky devil of emotional morass.

I’ve been here before. It used to sneak up on me like drone attacks on ninjas. Now I can feel it coming like animals sense bad weather. And truly this is a mild case. More like an annoying, lingering cold than the emo pneumonia I used to get. But it’s not immunity. There’s no inoculation for this neurotic disease. It’s practice. I am inured. I am a fucking pro at this sort of gut stripping worry. Multi-season MVP at raging against some machine.

Life is this complicated knotty beast. It is as inviting as a worn, weathered, broken-and-regrown, knobbly, scarred tree. There are no stories without this kind of pain and fear. There is no history. I no longer resent the emotion. I am learning to soothe my body through the worst of it. But I hate the theft: the time and concentration it takes from me. The hours spent talking myself out of going on a junk food bender. The coaxing, cajoling and bribery I have to do to get my work done. The time I can’t take to just relax and balm these harried, jittery, fiery sores because I wasted so much time begging me to let me do something (a little) self-destructive. Or write a blog post about it.

I have been thinking this might be over next week. But I realized today that might not be true. I don’t have it in me to weep.

If I didn’t care, if I wasn’t nigh-to-drowning in a sincere effort to shape my life into and around what has value and importance to me, I would not be so full of this grating, impatient and metaphoric violence. I would also have a life that was a ghost of the stunning beauty and success that this one is. Even though I don’t know how, I am going to try to be less bothered by my truly lucky position. I am going to hope that next Tuesday I am in a more comfortable position. I am going to anticipate that only the best possible outcome for all my wondering, fears, and hopes will occur. I am going to believe it. And if it turns out I was wrong, at least I had faith in myself which is a great foundation for moving on.

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