Wow, so that was a rough start! I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be to find a name for this here blog. But, Phew!!!! An hour later, after trying more than a handful of quirky, cutesy names that were taken, here I am. Rerouting Life. Because “Life Rerouted” was taken. That was up there with trying to think of the perfect band name. Even though you are not even a member of a band.
Anyway, rant over. Here I am. Typing with one hand on my phone because I’m too lazy to get out of bed and get to an actual keyboard. But that’s me…comfort over practicality.
I used to write. Like, a lot. I’d fill up notebooks and notebooks of stories and poems as easily as people breathe. It was my escape, my outlet, my life line. It was one of a few things I actually took pride in. When you write a story in third grade and your teacher loves it so much she wants to read it to the class, you start to think you’re on to something. You get a little nudge in the right direction and you go with it. Plus, you LOVE it. It frees you from the dark,lonely times. It becomes a friend.
And then, life happens. The journals fill with adolescent woes and dreams. Love happens, and the pen really gets going again, but then settles down. Heart break happens, and it gets quite the workout. Then you find “the one”, and the pen feverishly jots down vows and wedding plans. You fill a honeymoon journal, and not too long after, a pregnancy journal. You write a letter to your newborn baby and fill a baby book with quotes and sweet milestones. And then, real life. You trade in your pen for a glass of wine and some “me” time staring at a tv. Your second child comes along and you can’t even find a pen to save your life.
Fast-forward a few more years and here I am. No pen needed, thanks to this snazzy technology thing. But certainly a need. As a person with self esteem just about at sea level, writing is like a super power. I always feel like it’s the real, authentic me that can’t seem to make it’s way out verbally. I am a pretty awkward, distracted, nervous person, who tries with everything in me to present the exact opposite of this, which can be a bit exhausting. To other people, I am the nicest, calmest most patient person they’ve ever met. Which assures me that I am indeed presenting myself correctly. Ok, so I do think I am genuinely a nice, good person. But calm I am not. In fact, I have this fun little thing called an Anxiety Disorder.
I almost hate to give it a title, because that gives it more power. I HATE giving it power. But anyway I have been diagnosed with Panic Disorder w/agoraphobia. Sounds scary, right? I have a mental illness…awesome. Until you accept this fact, it is pretty isolating and embarrassing. Which, it still can be, but to a lesser degree now. For example: a “normal brained” person would go about their day say, driving to work on the interstate, maybe taking a subway or a business trip on an airplane, but a person with my specific mental issue has to find another way (or take lots of anti-anxiety medication) because even thinking about doing these things scares the crap out of them, and actually being in these situations makes their body go into a physical panic attack in which they feel like they are dying. This has happened to me in grocery stores, malls, loud restaurants, movie theaters, churches, carpool lines, and on Disney World rides. And no, not like, Space Mountain, like, the Little Mermaid. Thank goodness for my Xanax on that hellish journey.
Blah, blah, poor me, yada yada sob story…I sound like another victimized soul with a chip on my shoulder. But that is not what this is about. I am a lover of life that has what my homie Glennon Doyle (of Momastery genius) calls an “a-hole brain”. It’s like there’s me, and then there’s that little part of my brain that’s trying to sabotage me. I hate, HATE my a-hole brain. Sometimes it’s louder than other times. I do like parts of my brain, really. Although she’s a bit of a distracted one, bless her heart. When I think of what’s going on inside my head, I often envision a ping-pong ball just letting loose up in there. But that little voice in there; that doubt, that fear, that terror…I live frequently trying to hold it back from bursting the door down. Because when that happens, Lord help me.
Ironic literary transition…the Lord has, in fact, helped tremendously with this process. But that’s a whole other topic. Whew, I could go on and on. Save it, sister.
So, I almost completely forgot to get the the point of this first post; why I chose this title. I mentioned that my anxiety has put me in the position to be petrified to drive on the interstate. I’ve made some progress in the 10 years since this all went down, but my #1 on my anxiety list is driving on the interstate with my children. Ok, so there’s a few other scary things up there with that. But that’s a biggie. Awesomely enough, (and I’m horrible at giving myself credit, so I’m working on that) I have managed to do this, although in small measured amounts. But it’s just terrifying. I think I’d rather sit and pull all my teeth out. Usually, when I have to go somewhere far, I plug it into good old google maps, and praise Jesus, they have an option that says, “avoid freeways”. When I discovered this, I literally heard angels singing. Ok so not really, but that’s how dang excited I was. Sure, it adds an extra hour (or 3) to the journey, and the beach is out of the question, but I am the queen of some back roads.
You see, “rerouting” is something I’m a bit of an expert at. Avoiding the hard way is something I’ve managed to perfect. I avoid my fears, my triggers, my challenges. It’s just easier. Safer. But it’s also debilitating, isolating, and lonely. It’s letting the “a-hole brain” win. It’s like being imprisoned by your own mind. When you get down to it, it’s infuriating.
Rerouting Life is about changing this current path; rerouting THROUGH the hard stuff, the scary stuff, the things I avoid. I’m tired of living life halfway. I have been robbed of so many good things in life for too long. I’ve missed out on close friendships, events, and memories due to a false sense of fear. It’s time to reroute from the path of avoidance, and start walking the hard road. It may take me a lifetime to do it, but I’m going to try. I just want to ride the Little Mermaid ride without being medicated, dammit.
So, whether no one reads this or everyone, I am beyond elated just to get the words out. This expulsion of words is my therapy. And way, way cheaper, mind you. Life is good, all issues aside. I am a work in progress, and I know I was made this way for good reason. Good will, and has, come out of this. I know more good and bad is to come. Life is not meant for quick and easy answers. But when needed, we can always reroute.