When the topic of Anxiety came up, I was completely sympathetic, and  grateful to have dodged that particular bullet. I have several friends who have struggled with Anxiety Disorder over the years; one of whom who recently described her anxiety as a gigantic monster she battles.

This friend and I chatted recently, and I expressed my admiration of her ability to accomplish so much when she deals with such an oppressive condition. (I should mention at this point that my friend is super-smart, as are all of my friends.  Additionally,  she exhibits a scary level of self-discipline, as well as a relentlessly clear-eyed view of the world.  In short, she is a Queen, not a “princess.”) As I should have expected, she told me that when she is focused on the task at hand, she does not feel anxious. The beast seems to creep in when she is not occupied.

Over the last few months, I have been examining  the question of why I have not made more progress toward the goals I set for myself when I moved here. I am not really lazy, as much as I enjoy a little down time. So what then? Fear of Rejection? Fear of Failure? The dreaded “Low Self Esteem?”

On Rejection: I have spent decades at work at a job that involved the probability of rejection on a near daily basis. I was responsible for trying to talking about unpleasant things with strangers who were under no obligation to speak with me. I got rejected plenty, and came back for more every day.

On Failure: see Rejection, above. Failure at what? What is the worst thing that could happen, any way?  I am by no means the first to note that failure to try = failure.

On Low Self Esteem: Meh. On good days, I know I have family and friends who love me. I can think of ways I have helped people, and remember colleagues who valued me at work. On bad days, I think about how I never could seem to please my mother. (Hopping off the couch now, and pushing it  under the window. Looks better over there, don’t you think?)

When I follow these threads back to their logical origin, I keep arriving at anxiety. Not the big, horrifying kind that you can spot from across the room, but a little, insidious parasite that has managed to sneak into my pocket and travel with me everywhere. I am bigger than it is; and I am probably smarter, too. I don’t need to kill it, just attempt to domesticate it. I can allow it to stay in my pocket, as long as it doesn’t get in my way.  And I refuse to feed it.

When I first considered writing, the pest in my pocket was still undetected, and feral. I worried about my not-yet-written blog: “What if it’s no good?”  I spotted the pest, and began training it.  “What if no one reads my blog?”  More training. “What if my domain name is taken? I’ve got to get on this!”  Thank you, Pest. Now help me find a job.

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