I think redeeming my neuroticism into something glorious is my true vocation. Finding beauty in my anxiety disorder will take a lifetime, but it started the other day.
I walked out of my Spanish class with a women who walked quickly and heavily and kept touching her face. We had just gotten our grades back from our first test and I asked her how she did.
“Oh, you know just terrible. That’s all. Just fucking terrible.”
I kept walking beside her. It was hard to keep up with her long legged stride; despite her towering heels she could have kept pace with a cheetah.
“It just sucks,” she said, “the way I work and work and work, and I still barely get by. You know it’s taken me eight years to finish my four year plan? I’m forty four now, and not getting any younger.”
“Woah, that sucks,” I said.
“Yeah, it does,” she said. “And you know what else sucks? The schools don’t set it up for people like us either. Not us working class women, no the system is set up against us. Unless you’re some Colonel Sanders look alike , you get shit. Nada.”
“Girl, I feel ya,” I said.
“But who even cares?” She picked up her pace, and raised her hands by the sides of her head. “I mean, the world is gonna end in the next few centuries anyway. Look at the environment! Look at the way we run things. I mean, why do I even try?” She let her arms fall limp to her side, stopped in her tracks and looked at me. “Sorry I’m spewing all this out. You probably think I’m crazy.”
And it hit me that some people would think she is crazy. But me? No, not at all. No, this is the way my mind processes existence. A shitty test grade leading to apocalyptic rants and confronting my own mortality is the way thoughts work for everyone, right? Such is the cyclical thinking of anxiety both this woman and I deal with on the daily.
This woman and I shared a tender moment really, one we would have never shared unless we were both a weighted towards the crazy end of the continuum of sanity.
Here is another thought about my generalized anxiety. I may not accomplish as much as the average person, but I have more victories every day. How does the saying go? Ah yes, courage isn’t the absence of fear, but doing what you are afraid to do. Well hot diggity damn, by that standard I’m the bravest little bugger I know. By gum, every time I go through a tunnel without passing out or drive a car, I’m reminded of all I can do. And us humans are capable of a lot.
And that, my friend is the work of God. Making beauty from ashes. Taking my bat-shit insanity and building human connection and victory from it. I have no faith that God will ever alleviate my anxiety. I do however believe God will make something good from it.
After all, they asked if anything good could come from Nazareth, and we all know how that story ended.