You probably haven’t read about it on Twitter, but Melbourne is putting on some stunning early spring weather at the moment. To celebrate, and because men impregnate women sometimes, my family came around for lunch yesterday.
I’m a nervous wreck on the weekends–it’s something about the combination of everyone retreating to their own spaces and the lack of structure and the fear that someone is going to yell at me to clean my room. So usually I stay inside and put my fists in my eye sockets for 48 hours.
But yesterday afternoon the breeze was so beautiful and the sky was so blue and my niece was shouting “HI NANNA!” at me through my study window. That wasn’t quite enough on its own, but my sister bribed me with cheesecake and my dad bribed me with a scratchie and that was enough. I sat outside with my family and we laughed and I won $10 and the cheesecake was excellent. For a while I was terrified. But then I was relieved. Relieved that I had done it despite my fear, relieved that it had been better than I had anticipated. Relieved and functional.
For me, the opposite of anxiety is fresh air, one heaving moment after the other.
After they had left, I stayed there in the outside, and the world moved around me. Gaz set up his paints across the table and talked to me about painting techniques. Lily wore a high-vis t-shirt and drew pictures of anatomically correct horses. Georgia played on her iPad with her feet on the table. And the breeze was like warm hands on my skin, holding me there in the moment, in the gentle rocking of a Sunday afternoon, without fear. I told Gaz every thought I’d had about anything; it flowed out of me like a story I’d been meaning to tell him. He stared at me because I’m a crazy person, but he is patient and understanding so he held my hand as well.
This morning I woke up feeling like I could do anything, which for me means going to the supermarket without crying or brushing my hair without an existential crisis. So I took some deep breaths while I could still feel them there in front of me, and I put them in storage for another time, when they seem further away.