An effort to stay afloat while determining which way is up

Posts tagged ‘Fear’

Happiness Put on Hold

I had it.  For one joyous hour it was mine. I celebrated with wine (which I’m trying to learn not to hate), called all my family members, and rejoiced in telling everyone the news about moving to France.  A teaching position was offered to me somewhere in Lille, sometime next October, and for the one hour after I heard the news, nothing was going to get in the way of that romanticized quintessentially French lifestyle I had dreamed of since high school.

Enter: my nemesis, the telephone.

"You're mine now, bitch."

The phone and I have always had something of an animosity toward each other.  Apart from the fact that the interface on this phone is horrible and nonsensical, I have always, upon hearing any telephone ring, been gripped by apprehension.  The two main subterranean roots at the foundation of this apprehension seem to be 1) my professional grade awkwardness concerning all forms of social interaction; and 2) the fact that (apart from family calls) bad-news telephone calls hold a majority over good-news telephone calls.  This particular phone call was not from my family; it was from my doctor.

Apparently, the routine check-up that I got as a part of my Let’s-Take-Advantage-of-Our-Health-Care-Before-It-Runs-Out-in-Two-Months spree turned up some “abnormalities” which need to be tested; abnormalities which could be essentially nothing, but could also be something frightening enough that I am reluctant to say it out loud.  Suddenly day-dreams of croissant-filled mornings and leisurely bicycle rides and day-trips to Belgium are rudely invaded by hypothetical scenarios where my savings has turned to crippling debt while I struggle endlessly to pay for  treatments worse than the disease which roots me to this spot and keeps me from accomplishing in life the things I have set out to do.

I just came back from a colposcopy, which is just as painful, uncomfortable, and shudder-inducing as those consonant clusters make it sound.  I know chances are good that this turns out to be nothing bad at all.  Given my age and history, I’m sure the statistics can tell me that I have nothing to worry about.  But despite all the reasons I shouldn’t be worrying, there’s nothing that can stop me from doing just that.  Fear never listens to logic, no matter how rational the mind in which it is contained.  It is an unruly, spoiled child running rampant in the recesses of the brain, messing everything up, moving things around where they’re not supposed to be, and generally running the place whenever it feels like as it screams all the while at the top of its annoying little lungs.  Unruly, spoiled children never give in to reason.  This fear will be my house guest in the coming weeks as I wait for results, and once again I will defer my celebration of my new opportunity, and put my happiness on hold until I am certain that this teaching position isn’t just another addition to the long list of “almosts” in my life.

Contingency Plans

I’m terrified.  I’m the kind of terrified where you’re afraid to move at all because for some reason it feels like all your inner organs in your abdominal cavity are no longer attached to anything, and if you move they’ll all just tumble out somehow.  The kind of terrified that dissolves all mesentery tissue.  The kind of terrified that places a small nuclear warhead just behind your collarbone when you’re not looking.

I’ve never been without a contingency plan until now.

One week from Sunday my doom will be sealed.  Acceptance emails for the French teaching assistant program will be delivered in the first week of April, and as the deadline approaches, I am becoming ever surer that none of those emails will be delivered to me.

It’s not that I hope to define my whole life through this one particular program.  It looks like a hell of a lot of fun, but missing out on fun is not what paralyzes me with that flash-bolt of terror.  If I am not accepted to this program, I will be completely directionless.  I won’t be working toward any kind of goal.  I’ll just be adrift here in the north, with all family members and friends located many hundreds of miles away.

I desperately need a backup plan.  So far, the best one I’ve come up with is to go to Disneyland and develop a scheme to steal the Indiana Jones robot located in the Temple of the Forbidden Eye ride.  Beyond living the dream of having my own robot who looks exactly like Harrison Ford to do my bidding, I’m not entirely sure what the long-term advantages to this plan are.

I never said I worked well under pressure.

Other plans involve hiding in small, dark spaces and pretending the world ended about 16 months ago.  Or maybe I could collect a bunch of lizards.  I really have no idea.

I don’t know why I’m so insanely petrified by being directionless for a while.  Other people seem to accomplish it all right.  It just seems to me that if you choose to simply exist, like an inanimate object or a machine, without moving yourself toward some kind of greater goal, there would be nothing keeping you alive.  To live is to grow and change and move.  I can’t already be out of possibilities by age 23.  I can’t stagnate yet.

If, on the other hand, I can gain possession of Robot-Indy and a rag-tag crew of lizards, our possibilities together could be endless.