When faced with life’s evil pink robots, I don’t just carry a gun and a sword, I wield metaphorical weapons too.
I was reminded in that moment I stood in Home Depot confidently reassuring the kind gentleman selling me dryer ducts for the creation and battling of an army of evil robots, not to worry because “I have a sword AND a gun so I’ll be okay.” It’s one thing to be prepared for a physical battle, especially one in which you are armed with weapons and a trusty sidekick. Standing there with robot arms in my hands I thought, How do I arm myself for life’s metaphorical robots? Worse, how do I arm myself for those times when I am my own evil robot?
My life has often been interrupted by anxiety. It likes to follow me around, repeatedly poking at me like an obnoxious child until I am left flustered and squirming in an attempt to crawl out of my own skin and eventually crash into a free fall. Anxiety relentlessly stalks my fears and insecurities.
It took me a long time to figure out how to arm myself against this unwelcome emotional intruder. I learned to put a lot of stock in sleep, a long walk somewhere away from things, good friends, Cooper, writing, and vigilantly reminding myself that I am bigger and stronger than any anxiety. These are my weapons. At first I armed myself with them because I had no other choice. I needed a way out of the void, so I grabbed ahold of anything I could find. I didn’t even necessarily believe everything I said, but I took naps and walks and wrote and hoped that if I kept reminding myself how strong I am, that eventually it would become true.
It did. The more I faced my evil pink robots, the truer those things became. It was attending parties and concerts alone and discovering that it’s not at all awkward because people are awesome and being out and meeting them means I can make them all my friends. It was moving to a new city and realizing that I can handle it. It was asking questions and trying new things even if they were scary. And each time I won one of these battles, I became more confident and I started taking even more new risks. I began to seek out adventure with determination. Anxiety couldn’t keep up with me! It was awesome.
Except sometimes it isn’t awesome. Adventure means that sometimes new things aren’t fun. Not all people turn out to be great. Sometimes risks don’t work out in my favor and it’s in those moments anxiety catches up to me. Most of the time I see it coming and I brace myself. I am ready. Sometimes it is a sneaky bastard and it blindsides me. Except even in those times when I am falling into the void, I remember my weapons because now I am always armed. I call a good friend like I did this past weekend and I cry and ask for help. I go for a long walk and take a nap with my dog. I write in this space and I repeat my mantra. I am badass. All of this is what makes adventure great. I will get through this.
And I do.