Carrying on a conversation has never been something that is difficult for me. I love talking, I love having in-depth conversations about Real Things with new friends and old. I have a pretty low tolerance for small talk. There have been a few times this year that I’ve been tongue tied. Blocked. Unable to express all the thoughts and feels and fears that are running around inside my head. The feeling of choking on consonants and gagging on vowels, literally swallowing my words instead of letting them out can bring me literal physical pain. It’s like a smoldering in my chest, a tightness I cannot loosen, threatening to cut off my air supply. Going through days and weeks feeling like I’m slowly suffocating ramps up my anxiety and soon I’m caught–again–in the middle of a hurricane that is gaining momentum.
Deep breaths. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat.
It seems that every time I have to go back to my own basic building blocks–things like remembering how to breathe–I get better at refreshing and moving forward. I don’t know if that’s some kind of defense mechanism where the internal warrior draws her sword and throws up the defense walls quicker; or if my armor is stronger so the blows don’t do as much damage? Or maybe my expectations for life are finally being trimmed down to size? I don’t know. I think, like all of us, I am just waiting for 2016 to be over. I am well aware that January 1 does not hold any magically fantastic solutions for moving forward, but even so, I’m looking forward to the new year.
I am working on my lists, I live and die by lists these days, I am determined to attack 2017 with a gusto not seen for many many years. I’m not talking about one particular thing, or a neat list of resolutions, I am making plans to improve my work life, my personal life, my relationships, the works. I am getting better at keeping my lists manageable and in order, and getting better at seeing a long-term plan and drawing in the building blocks to get there. This is all still a work in progress, the plans and the lists, but I’m hoping in a few weeks I’ll be able to start sharing. For me, getting it all out in the open is the only way to break the gag.
So. That’s how I’ve been*. How are you?
*This speechless, voiceless feeling is not something just from the last few days; it’s been lurking and growing for months, tightening it’s grasp with long weasely fingers sneaking into many areas of my mind and heart. However, I was finally able to give it a name, and naming the monster has, in a small way, helped me break free from it.