Anxiety

The Secret Shaver’s Society

In this week’s podcast, we are discussing The Vajayjay and in the course of that discussion, this old blog post was mentioned… reposting here for fun 😉  If you haven’t checked out The Tales From The Chicks podcast, you can find us on itunes 🙂
Originally posted August 30, 2005
It all started with a hair.
A hair is such a tiny little thing, but you get one that is ingrown and it can make your life a living hell while it sorts out its issues with its little hair therapist. We females tend to get these a couple of times a year, give or take. So, Thursday I got one. Being females, this came up in conversation between Jennifer and I. We, somehow or another, came to the conclusion that it would be best for the hair if I shaved off all the other hair. You know, so it wouldn’t be so scared to come out. So, all of it. As in bald.
Yeah, some of you are like “so what?” but I haven’t ever done that before so I was like “uh, no.” Jennifer assured me that many many many females out there are doing this and expressed some serious curiosity at how I could have made it twenty five years without ever having shaved down there. If I remember correctly, she said “I can’t believe you have never shaved your kooch!” That’s such a lovely word… I explained that it was really quite simple, I just don’t do that. I am, what I like to call, a trimmer. I keep everything trimmed and neat and am perfectly happy to do so. I have never felt the urge or need to just make it all go away. Just shave it all…
Anyway, I figured what the hell right? I mean, what harm can there be in it? Apparently everyone’s doing it. So Friday, it all went. All of it. And oh.my.god – WEIRD. I was immediately pissed that I had done it and didn’t dig it all. But, I shrugged it off and figured it was no big deal… it would grow back in a few days and all would be right in my world pants again.
Until he called Saturday on his way to my place. I was like yeah, ok, I’ll see you in what? Fifteen minutes? Ok, cool.
Then I hang up.
And then it hits me.
OH. FUCK. Oh fuck, no, fuck fuck fuck. I immediately call Jennifer (who doesn’t answer until the second time I call!!) In between her fits of laughing, she assures me that this is really not that big of a deal and that I shouldn’t be freaking out about it! Oh, I wasn’t freaking out about it all. I was trying to barter my soul for a little crotch toupee, but I wasn’t freaking out or anything…
“Well, what do I tell him?” I asked her as I paced up and down my hallway. “He’s going to notice that something is different Jenn-if-er!”
There is a two minute break in conversation here while she laughs and then dries her eyes while catching her breath.
“Don’t tell him anything, he’ll figure it out by himself.”
Another minute and a half while I am aghast at this entire thought process.
“Are you fucking kidding me? I can’t just sit back and not tell him! I can’t believe this! This is your fault you know??? You were the one who said it was normal! Ohmygod…”
More laughing followed by the promise to relay this entire story to her brother in a few minutes.
“Seriously, Heather, it is nothing. Maybe he’ll like it.”
“Like it? Like it? Are you fucking serious? Have you seen it? I mean, not mine. But have you ever looked at yours? I mean, have you really looked? Who does this anyway? Why would he like it…. Oh… he had better not like it! I am so not doing it again, even if he does like it!”
She can’t even respond. She is a nifty little fit of giggles and can’t even answer me. I had to go anyway. I had like ten minutes to find some way to fix this problem.
Ten minutes later…
Yeah, I couldn’t barter anything I had for hair. Turns out that your soul? Yup, pretty much useless in the grand scheme of things. He got there and we stood outside and talked but I can’t hear anything he is saying because there is the constant There isn’t any hair down there! How do you bring that up in conversation? Hey, so, um, just thought I would let you know, I shaved. Yup. Just shaved it all off. God – I can’t fucking say that! What the fuck do you say? Can you say anything or does this violate some law somewhere?
“Heather? Heather? Hey, are you ok?”
“What? Oh yeah, I am fine. Sorry, was just -er- thinking about some thing… anyway, you were saying?”
So I manage to keep myself distracted enough to concentrate on our conversations with out obsessing. I mean, it isn’t that big of a deal right? I mean, he isn’t going to just freak out and run to his car screaming right? Oh god.
So, some time passes and we end up in bed. Ok, shut up, I know we always end up in be, ok? I knew it was going to happen, it wasn’t shocking or anything. But then I am thinking about how to work it into the kissing and groping and… well you know. So, I stalled. Instead of just getting it over with, I instead stayed dressed and went down on him. (Ok, keep in mind that I am still trying to overcome this problem. It will happen, ok??) I stayed there… for a long time. Well, I kind of went from kissing, back down, to kissing and back down. And I was actually having a pretty fucking good time.
He, however, wanted to get my pants off. So he tries to and I am all like “no, um.. no.” He looks at me like I have lost my goddamned mind. Which is pretty much the same way I would have looked at him. He’s all like “are you serious?” So, resume making out and he tries again and I say “hey, uh, I need to tell you something…” and he says “right now?” And I say “yeah.” But neither of us are really stopping to talk, because really, who wants to talk just then? I mean, any talking you want to be doing isn’t about the weather or your taxes, it is more directive or encouragement or… well you know, stuff relating to the sex you are having. So, he tries a third time and I pull my head out of the spin cycle and tell him I need to tell him something. He must have realized I was serious or he realized that if he didn’t stop and let me say what I needed to say that he may never get into my pants. Either way, he stopped. “Ok, what is it?” Now, I could have said like five words here and gotten it over with… but when have you guys ever known me to say only five words when several hundred will suffice?
So, I say “ok, see the thing is… I had this like… ingrown hair. So, I was talking to Jennifer and we sort of thought that it would be a good idea to just… shave it all… since that might help… but, the thing is now that it is all gone. And… um… I’ve never done that before, so I’m kind of weird about it.”
He is just looking at me like that’s it? And kind of doing that thing where you are just waiting to see if the other person is done so you can move on. But, was I done? No siree.
“Ok, and I am pretty uncomfortable with all of this so if you could kind of not make a big deal out of it then I would really appreciate it.”
I would have went on you know? I would have made sure to clarify that later on I would like to know the effect this particular aspect had on the outcome (sorry, lol – no pun, lmao) of the entire evening. But, that was pretty much shot to hell because I think he was just done waiting.

Since that night, I have spoken to two other girl friends who thought my entire little episode was rather hilarious. I have also been made privy to such things as what style to shave! STYLE! Are you fucking joking? Oh, no… apparently there is The Triangle, The Hitler and the one where you shave everything on the bottom, but leave the top. I am three for three! All three girls I spoke to about this couldn’t believe I wasn’t in their little Bald Club. That is the only reason I am blogging about this because this was officially the first time I was too embarrassed to post about something on here. But, knowing that I am apparently odd for not doing this regularly has made it a lot easier.
So spill it people. Give up your secret shaving stories.

Grandmother?

I’ve been sitting on this secret since July!
My oldest daughter, the one who has moved off to Connecticut with her Navy husband, is pregnant!
Pregnant!
This is so wild to me. The idea that my baby is having a baby. I can’t even wrap my head around that. And I should be able to as this is my kid who has wanted to be mom pretty much since she was born.
I think part of the reason that it’s strange for me is that I had her when I was very young and so now, while she will be 20 when her little baby is born, I will only be 36! But also, I think because there was always such a stigma attached to my pregnancies, I get hyper defensive about her being pregnant. I had all three of my biological children by the time I was 22 and I never really had my shit together during that time. Back to back teenage pregnancies and then a relationship change, and not a good one, and another kid that was born after I had already left him. My pregnancies weren’t exciting nor celebrated in the way a traditional married couple’s might be. And that’s fine, I’m not all butthurt about it now – but I did realize how much it affected me when my daughter was about to announce her pregnancy. Like I was waiting for people to give her a hard time, because that was my experience. Luckily, it hasn’t been the case. And why should it be? She did all the stuff in the traditional sense. She dated, got married, got pregnant and when she posted on facebook that she was pregnant, she got congratulated and everyone is genuinely excited for her. Myself included.
And now it’s been a few days and everyone pretty much knows and I realized I had been holding my breath, waiting for there to be some kind of reaction that never came. And I’m so glad. I’m so very glad that she will never have to experience what it feels like to admit, rather than announce, a pregnancy to those closest to you and have them look at you with pity or fear rather than joy and excitement.
And so now we move onto the planning of the baby shower and the buying of teeny tiny clothes and I get to tell my daughter all the wonderful things about bringing her little baby into this world. About becoming a mother. As I am having these conversations with her, I imagine skipping forward another twenty years and seeing her having the same ones with her daughter. Twenty years is such a very long time, you learn so much, you change in so many ways… and yet, it happens in the blink of an eye.

almost time…

This past weekend, my daughter and I packed all of the stuff she is taking to college and then we laid down on her bed together and created an amazon wish list for all of the random stuff she’d love to receive in the mail while she is there. Washi tape, post it notes, index cards, relatively healthy snacks, mint tea… As we were working on that, The GingerBeard Man brought us a tray of chips and queso he had made. We snacked and clicked “add to list” and chatted about our upcoming trip to Minnesota. A few hours later, we were done and I went off to do my normal Sunday chores. I packed lunchboxes and did laundry and mopped the floors. It was just a normal weekend.
Yesterday I woke up riddled with anxiety. I couldn’t take enough deep breaths. I just walked around work taking deep breath after deep breath, trying to calm my nerves. Trying to figure out why they were buzzing so much. I hadn’t slept well the night before and I was so distracted that morning making breakfast and packing lunches for the little girls that one of them asked me if I was ok. In response to a message from The GingerBeard Man asking how my day was going, I admitted that I felt really anxious and I wasn’t sure why. He responded with “your daughter is moving away in two days.”
Today I woke up with some different feelings. I am still super anxious, but I am also so very emotional. Thinking about anything makes tears sting my eyes. I’ve had a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat since I opened my eyes this morning. Today, I can see more clearly how much moving my daughter away to college is affecting me. I can tell that any thought process about her in any way is making me teary eyed.
It doesn’t change the fact that I am so happy for her and even more proud of her. But my very logical thought processes about all of this are failing to convince my heart today. Today all I can seem to do is worry about her and think about how much I will miss her.

And we’re back to school….

Yesterday was the first day back to school. My youngest kiddo has been super nauseous lately, so much so that she has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow to find out what the heck is going on… that plus knowing that both of the girls were starting new schools where they don’t know their way around had me pretty nervous most of the day. Lots of fretting about stuff I can’t do anything about. I finally broke down and called the nurse at lunch to make sure my youngest wasn’t barfing in the hallways.
And of course, as it is when you trust life to just be life, everything was fine.
Despite having forgotten her schedule and being nauseated and not knowing where anything was, she made it through the day just fine. She has always been so brave and that really showed yesterday when she sucked up the fact that she felt terrible and marched into a school she’s never attended and made it through the whole day. When I asked her on the way to school if she was nervous, she said she was excited. That kid loves her some right of passage. 6th grade? CHECK. Now she can start checking off the days until her age ends in “teen” and she can claim that one.
My little freshman said she gave her first day of school a solid 6.5/10. Looking back at the kid she once was, the kid who has so much anxiety about going to school at all, I am so proud of her. She was super confident walking into the hallways of high school and so brave signing up for Academic Decathlon and Debate. She also was one of the few freshmen to qualify for Varsity Choir. She says her goal is to graduate in the top ten percent of her grade. I love that attitude.
It was so strange taking the first of school photo with only two kids in it and knowing that it won’t be long before it’s only one kid and then none. It’s good. It’s a job well done. But it’s surreal and a little sad too.

anxiety

I’ve had anxiety issues all of my life. I believe they originated in childhood. Growing up with parents who had physical fights after loud and long screaming arguments and who would move you from one state to another at the drop of a hat probably created some of my insecurity issues. My childhood wasn’t built on anything solid. It was built on fear. My younger brother and I spent a fair amount of time wondering when the shit would hit the fan next time and trying to plan out what our strategy would be for handling that. Would we call the police and risk getting into trouble? Or would he handle trying to keep them from killing each other while I took our little sister somewhere so she wouldn’t hear? Or would we just all run away?
At one point or another, we tried them all.
Flash forward to Hawaii, where we moved when I was a chubby, frizzy haired, freckle faced, redheaded ten year old. Hawaii is beautiful and I know so many people there who are also beautiful, both inside and out – but going to school in Hawaii as a little white girl is scary. You’re a haole and it brings out the bullies. Going to school every day was about survival. It was about knowing when to go to the bathroom, where to hide during lunch and which girls not to make eye contact with. And no sooner than my mother decided to “home school” us, our house burned down and we lost literally everything we owned.
Are you catching the theme of instability?
By the time I was in my late teens, I trusted absolutely nothing. I didn’t trust employment or people and the idea that I was ever safe from anything was ridiculous. Going to the grocery store I would check my wallet a half a dozen times to make sure my card was in there. And then checking out, I’d break out in a sweat thinking that it would be denied even though I had checked the balance right before I got there. Anyone I dated was cheating on me, would hit me, and eventually would leave me. I was never relaxed, never believed anything would last. I was terrified that I would lose my job and the girls and I would be homeless. It kept me up at night, planning out what I would pack, what I would abandon, what I would tell the children. Even social outings would render me so full of anxiety that I would sit in my car staring at the door and trying to work up the nerve to just walk in. Sometimes I couldn’t.
One day, in my twenties, I decided I was done. I was done being afraid. I was done living every single day wondering when the bottom would fall out. I was done. This was my life. I was reclaiming it. I was not going to be in a prison of fear anymore. Starting right then and there, I would look that anxiety in the face and walk right past it. It was the bravest I’d ever been. It took absolutely everything I had in me. And slowly, oh my god so very fucking slowly, I was able to climb up and out of that hole. It was like I had to show my brain that each thing wasn’t scary by doing it a dozen times before it was removed from the terror list. It was awful and it took years. And even now, in my mid thirties I still run into times where anxiety will creep in and consume me, occasionally for seemingly no reason at all.
One of my guilty pleasures now is being able to laugh at myself. I forgot my credit card in the car? I’m sorry, how crazy. Please go ahead and suspend my grocery transaction and I’ll go get it. Falling down in front of everyone? Ha! SO WHAT? Forgetting my badge for work. So annoying but not the end of the world. Small things. Small drops in a bucket and they can only take the amount of attention that I give them. Some things deserve a little bit of concern and I have to give them that or become entirely numb, but not everything. So when I feel like I am being apprehensive about something, like the drive to Connecticut that begins in the morning, I have to forgive myself a little bit. Being nervous is ok. I am allowed to be worried. The Ginger Chick from ten years ago could not have done it. She wouldn’t have been able to sleep for all of the freaking out about every single possible scenario. She would have needed so much xanax. But this Ginger Chick? She can.