I am fully vaccinated. I felt like it was the least I could do in a pandemic that has been so large, so overwhelming, and so…much. I thought that with vaccination, I would regain my confidence to step back into the world. Silly me.
I had anxiety before the pandemic started. I’m not sure why I thought it would now be magically lifted. (Let’s hear it for optimism, I guess.)
My kids are out of school for summer break. Last week, they each had an in-person, end-of-the-year party to attend. As a parent, I naturally want to see my kids happy. I wanted them to attend and finally get a sense of normalcy after a year of virtual school. However, as a parent with anxiety, the very thought of taking them stressed me out for weeks!
I did end up taking them, and they had a blast (and wore their masks). Here’s a picture of me having my usual “everything is fine” internal dialogue.
So what does that have to do with eggs? Within days, I received a friendly invitation from a neighbor to come over and see her chickens. External-“Sure, I’ll let you know when.” Internal-“Wayment, I’m supposed to be social AGAIN? So soon?!” Bring on the week of anxiety!
No amount of internal reassurance helped. What really helped was my son. He was excitedly telling me about a dream he had where he faced something that usually scares him awake. This time, he didn’t wake up. This time, he faced it. I asked him if he had still been afraid. His response: “Yeah, it was still scary! I just did it scared.” The animated joy on his face was contagious. It also made me think.
I live with anxiety. I will always overthink things. I will sometimes be too afraid to start things. However, I have to keep in mind that there’s always the option to do something scared. I mean, I do scary things all the time. Staring at a blank page and believing I’ll have the right words to tell a good story is scary. Parenting can be scary at any given moment. As with anything, all I can do is try my best. And sometimes that means I will have to do things scared.
Did I find my courage? I did! In the middle of doing chores, I sent my neighbor a text. I asked my kids if they wanted a break, and we were out the door in less than five minutes. They had a great time! What will an invitation to our next outing bring? Who knows? But for now, at least we have eggs.