Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On Turning Molehills Into Mountains

This morning I stuck my foot in my mouth a bit. I was on a walk with a friend and we ran into an acquaintance. Turns out all three of us have lived in Brooklyn and we got to talking about it. The acquaintance moved up here last year and she lived around the corner from our last apartment in the fine Borough of Kings and I replied, "Oh the apartment we owned was at the south east corner of Prospect Park!". As soon as the words left my mouth I knew it sounded like I was bragging about owning an apartment in Brooklyn. And it is not what I meant to do. Z and I lived in three apartments together during our near decade in Brooklyn. And in my mind they are the apartment we were priced out of, the apartment in Bed Stuy, and the apartment we owned. I forgot the name of the street it was on (Winthrop! Why couldn't I remember Winthrop!), so I described it in the way I think of it. In the scheme of things this was a little mistake. I sounded like an asshole. But I guess we all sound like assholes every once in a while.

If I didn't have an anxiety disorder this wouldn't even be a story worth telling, hell it's not terribly interesting even with the disorder. But I've had that swollen burn-y feeling in the back of my throat all day. The one that means I'm fighting off tears. The minute the sentence was out of my mouth I wanted to apologize. But I thought I'd sound even more stupid if I made a thing about it. After we left the acquaintance I wanted to explain what happened to my friend, but the further away we got from the conversation the weirder it would have been to bring it up.

So here I am six hours later worrying that two women I like think I'm a bragging gross person. They probably found my remark very off putting, but I doubt I have crossed their minds since the morning. And here is where the chronic insecurity turns to narcissism. Because it is narcissistic to think that I constantly occupy the thoughts of people in my life even when I'm sure those thoughts are all negative.

Really and truly it has been a great fall mental health wise. But my insecurity has experienced a marked increase. I am constantly worried that I have offended my friends. I replay moments over again and again, filled with shame over things I have said. If there is a touchy subject in someone's life I am sure to bring it up accidentally. I am convinced people only put up with me because they are friends with Zeke, I think friends are avoiding me even if I can't figure out what I've done to offend. I feel unlikeable, unloveable, an embarrassment, someone only to be tolerated. Even when I try to do something nice I screw it up and become simply an annoyance. I think if I met myself I wouldn't want to be friends.

This fall I have been making a tremendous effort not to give in to my agoraphobic tendencies. Not only have we been leaving the house, we've done some entertaining at home. When Z wants to do something I try my damnedest to make it happen. My anxiety is largely situational and putting myself out there guarantees it will increase. I am trying not to give in to the voice in my head that tells me I am pathetic and no one wants me around. So the progress is being social despite my insecurities and being able to understand it is ridiculous to think people spend all that much time and energy hating or feeling sorry for me. I'm glad about the progress, but I'm also pissed off. I'm tired of feeling like a piece of shit, I'm tired of taking chill pills, I want to be fucking normal. I hope the anger will keep me going, I want it to keep me from giving in. I'm cool with being angry if it will get the damn voice in my head to shut up.

Time for a little levity. The awesome Ellie Leonardsmith did a little photo shoot while she was here for Thanksgiving. This was a test shot, she told us we didn't have to smile. Oh my lord, I adore it so much.  

  Another test shot. Z is doing a fantastic job miming baby-holding.

      And look at these absolutely adorable gals. They started a blog with some friends recently. It's about their efforts to start a family and their friends impending nuptials. Check it out


  1. Karen- I do that turning-over-the-thought a zillion times too, especially living in a new place without a ton of friends. I snickered in both recognition, and because your acquaintance probably just thinks you slumber on a mattress stuffed with money. Hang in there pallie!

  2. Oh wonderful Britt, thank you for rocking. And the thing is the story of us acquiring said apartment for less that the cost of an SUV is such an awesome miracles-do-happen one. Oh well. Maybe I will (self consciously and awkwardly) try to slip that in the next time I see them.

    And I wish you luck finding friends out in CA, though you don't need it. You are one of the most charming and delightful people I've ever shared a drink with!

  3. That's exactly how I feel when I smoke pot. Which is why I don't smoke it.

    PS: There's nothing uncomfortable or weird about owning an apt in Brooklyn. I wish I was as smart as you to buy 10 years ago and get out at the top of the market and buy a dream house. Nice work!

  4. Ha! I don't smoke pot because I fall asleep within 5 minutes. Life of the party over here.

    And I was super proud to be an apartment owner in Brooklyn. The funny thing was we were flat broke and a friend told us about this one bedroom in his building that was under foreclosure with an asking price of the remainder of the mortgage. Which was $35,000. Seriously. We couldn't have done it otherwise. And selling it did totally make it possible for us to buy our house up here. Luckiest thing that has ever happened to me.