I peopled this weekend.
I’ll pause for a moment to let you all bask in the nimbus of my magnificence. *****
I am a solitary creature, boosted and energized and filled by alone time. Something odd has been happening to me recently, however. I’ve been feeling the need, the desire even, to go outside. Where the people are. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t completely gone off the deep end…there is still nothing short of global armageddon or, god forbid, exposure to gluten, that would get me to go to Costco on the weekend. But the gym? I can do the gym.
I had so much fun being back, getting lots of hugs from sweet friends, doing my usual award winning impression of a flamingo on ritalin in Dance Jam, revelling in the sweat and endorphins and beautiful energy of community. It was so good for me, I decided to double down and purchase a ticket to attend a special cardio dance event scheduled for two days later.
Hearing that they were importing some dance guru for this event, I decided to check out some of his Youtube vids. I was not disappointed. So fun, and such great energy…go look him up…The Fitness Marshall. I even tried a few of his moves in my living room. (I’m pretty sure Hank is still recovering from this experience. Nothing takes the curl out of a malamute’s tail faster than the shock of witnessing his usually sedentary Person suddenly and inexplicably moving in ways the are illegal in 62% of the countries in the Middle East, and 87% of the counties in the American South.) Mostly I just enjoyed watching the Gumbyesque movement and listening to the cheerful chatter of this Marshall of Fitness (during one song he compared movement to everything from the speed of Windows 95, to the process of harvesting potatoes. Just my kind of fantabulous weird!!)
Undaunted by the rumor that they had sold over 350 tickets for the event, and not even discouraged to see the reality of the line snaking out of the door, I met up with a group of friends and we etched out a small section of real estate amongst the lycra clad hordes. We danced our hearts out to the first couple of songs, just starting to work up a good sweat. Everything was great and I was having fun. And then suddenly, from one moment to the next, it wasn’t. And I wasn’t.
My hearing seemed to be muted…I could barely hear the music. I looked around at those around me, dancing and having fun, and I suddenly felt an abyss of disconnect with these precious souls. I fought it. I tried to stay present and find a thread of connection with these people I love dearly. When I felt my throat start to tighten and close up, I knew I had to get out of there. I grabbed my stuff, mumbling something about “too many people” to a friend, and I fled, just trying to hold my shit together until I got out of the building. By the time I got to my car I could barely breath, and then I started crying…and didn’t stop for 2 days.
As I sit writing this, I am nearly recovered. The weeps have passed, mostly; breathing, swallowing, heart rate…check, check, check. My body still feels a bit hit-by-a-bus-ish, with lots of knots in my back and neck. But I’m ok. I’ve dealt with anxiety for a really long time, and have had many of these attacks. Maybe it’s just because it’s still fresh and I’m still raw, but this felt like the worst one yet. A dear friend recently experienced her first panic attack, and it was heartbreaking listening to her describe every frightening, debilitating detail. I know that she now understands what I go through, but I so desperately wish she didn’t. I wish the same for those countless souls out there who wrestle with anxiety on a daily basis. But here’s the truth: you are strong enough, my friend is strong enough, I am strong enough, not just to survive moments like these, but to*****************
Sorry. I caught myself just in time. I was going to say something about overcoming, but then I felt like I was going to break out in a rash of inspirational cat posters…
Let’s just all give anxiety a big salute (you can use whichever finger you desire, I’m gonna go with my middle one), and tell it “Fuck you very much!”
Now I’m going to go dance.