The fear is bigger than my birthday, the economy, and ADHD. This about reining in my mind so that it doesn't wander, so I can stay focused enough to survive.
by Jane D.
The sister came to visit the other day. She sees the apartment that I am subletting and is clearly impressed. On the surface, the place looks great. Hey, it's a high-rise and has a doorman. "How much are you paying for this?" she asks. "Enough," I tell her, but I'm getting a bargain because it's a friend of a friend. The apartment is something from the pages of Architectural Digest, and for years it's been neglected, collecting dust, mold, and the technology is outdated, no place for a DVD plug in the television, which is lost in the VCR days. If you stand far away, you can't see the holes, but when you move closer, you realize that some things are not only dirty, but broken beyond repair.
Lately I have transformed into the Critic -- unconsciously finding holes in myself, in life, in the boyfriend, in the family, in the hustle and bustle and rat race of daily life that defines Gotham. Around the corner, too, is the birthday, a reminder that time only marches forward. It has been almost a year since the layoff, and now there is always the fear that it will happen again. This is bigger than the economy; this is about reining in my mind so that it doesn't wander, so I can stay focused enough to survive. This is an added challenge along with everything else, and to this day, a secret that I carry. So far, the bosses haven't seen the holes. Sure, there was the day I missed a meeting, the day that I totally forgot to follow up on the expenses that are owed to me, but overall distance shields them from the day to day ADHD reality. Why is it that every few days the desk is once again buried in paper? I want to burn it all.
Perhaps the biggest emotional battle lies with The Boyfriend who comes on the weekends. Overall he is wonderful, physically fit, over six feet tall, a professional with a promise of a stable future. We have fun when I am not afraid. Take note of the latter. Despite all of this, unhappiness hangs over like a gray cloud that spells "storm." The root of the problem is an overall restlessness and unhappiness when he comes and goes, and the phrase "plug and play" keeps popping up. I think back to the mother who left me as a teenager; she made many promises, all of which were unfulfilled, and she was never there for me at major milestones, such as graduation. I have said that I could forgive, but maybe I can't. Maybe I hold on to resentment in the same way an alcoholic does alcohol or an overeater does food. It's easier to stick with what we know, sometimes.
My response to uncertainty and fear of abandonment is building a wall and pushing people away. I don't need it or want it. I also can't help it. Every few weeks and increasingly so, I am angry at the boyfriend for leaving me here, leaving me to wait for his return, his text, his phone call. I feel like I am being more of a woman if I wait. I keep reminding myself: patience, patience. I will swallow my emotions and feelings, and then, like a Jack in the Box, it pops out again and I will whine and complain and push him away. "That's okay," "Forget it," "Whatever," "Nevermind." This is the vocabulary of someone who has clearly been rejected and hurt, and does not want to feel the sting of rejection again.
Ultimately, I know that fear will ruin things, but I can't help it and I'm not sure how to solve it so I sit with it on a bench called "fear, anxiety, and resentment," knowing very well that no amount of money, no job title and no home or even, yes, no man will slay this demon. All I can do is wait until it passes.