Muse is fickle. (Yours, too? How ’bout that!) Sometimes, she visits for long stretches then disappears. When she does, I’m not sure when she’ll return. I know she’ll be back. She always comes back. She just likes to wander, and, like today’s millennials, doesn’t RSVP if invited and sometimes still doesn’t show up if she says she’s going to stop by (p.s. GET OFF MY LAWN!).
Muse’s visits have been consistent lately, but I wasn’t sure how long she’d stay this time ’round. Then she sent a sign during a recent chat about anxiety with the same person who suggested I might be right for roller derby.
“You know, there’s something else you could try,” Roller Derby said. I waited, expecting not to be impressed (especially after the tackling people on skates suggestion). “Hypnotherapy.”
I was skeptical (to say the least).
I’m friends (frenemies?) with anxiety. There’s the accident from when I was three, plus just the way my wires cross. It just is, and I learned that lesson long ago. It’s also what I make it, and sometimes, I make it non-existent. Other times, not so much. I deal the best way I can (you see I did call it my friend there) and sometimes I deal better than others.
In one of its incarnations, it’s agoraphobia (which I haven’t told many people about). She who previously sat in rush hour traffic without a thought and took public transportation now struggles with those things, usually during times of stress or transition. I have to really want to go into the city and by that, I mean barely into the city, not even the downtown area, because of the amount of traffic, the constant jams. (My goal is to live where there are no radio or TV traffic reports, for the peace and quiet — to fuel my introversion, but also because of this issue.) There are so many people here and I don’t want to get stuck. You in the anxiety-know will read that as trapped, which I reframe as delayed, though anxiety doesn’t always shift with me to that definition freely… or at all.
In another incarnation, it’s claustrophobia. An explanation conversation went like this once. Picture it: Starbucks employees gather in the back of the closed store for a team meeting. The tables are pushed together near the back wall seat creating a booth-like area.
“You go first,” J says to me.
“No, that’s OK,” I say. “I need to sit on the end.”
“Are you claustrophobic?”
“Only in small spaces.”
So Roller Derby now suggests hypnotherapy. Like that could cure all of this and make me wish I did it years ago. My mind’s eye smirked at her. Hey, wait… am I starting to feel sleepy?
“I have a friend who does it,” she said, and don’t we all, I think. “She swears by it. It helped her quit smoking and it works pretty quickly.”
“I bet,” Anxiety said in my head. “Maybe we should just take up smoking. What if it we can’t be hypnotized? What if we never emerge from being hypnotized? What if...”
“Shut up and listen,” Muse said.
“You’re so bossy.”
“Here’s the hypnotist’s name and number,” Roller Derby said to me three. “Give her a call. Maybe try something new.”
Anxiety disappeared into the background while Muse reached out her hand and took the Post-It note of information.
“I don’t know if it will work,” Muse said through me, “but I’ll give it a try.”
We all got up to leave.
“It’ll give us something different to write about,” Muse said in my head.
Anxiety’s sucking up now. If she didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have met Roller Derby and therefore wouldn’t be contemplating hypnotherapy, ergo Muse wouldn’t be excited and sticking around so much. I shush her, then remind her that she and Muse will duke it out to see if we actually try it.
Regardless, I got excited — Muse is not only back, but she’s apparently staying a while and wants to try new things. OK, I guess I’ll tag along… (yes, Anxiety, you, too).