How Fast I Forget


Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that I was thrilled to have any work, let alone the promise, literally the promise, that full-time work would soon follow?

I think it was.

In fact, when I think back a few more weeks I can recall the thought that I would be beyond the moon over the rainbow grateful for any work.

Cue this afternoon, early, pushing my bicycle up Noe towards 19th.

“This is fucking bullshit, this is too much work.”

Thanks brain.

Chill out.

It’s just one hill.

Two blocks long, there’s a wee little road in between 19th and 18th on Noe, just to let you know you’re at the half-way point, and then you’re there.

At another house in the Castro doing the nanny.

It was the culmination of an uncomfortable morning as I felt a little emotionally hung over and not ready to face the day, the putting on a bright smiling face, and the nanny pants.

I was in tears this morning as I wrote and felt all discombobulated and, well, out of my fucking head, is what i felt.


It was like the dirty dregs of terror were left rinsed out in my brain and I, despite having written what I thought was a decent blog, I had not addressed my brain.

Sometimes that monkey needs a little extra action before bed and I had not taken the corrective measures to assure a calm morning.

Pretty calm.

You could have looked at me sitting at the dining room table eating my oatmeal with apple and drinking my big mug of coffee spiked with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, pen scratching across the page, and thought, there’s Carmen, happy in her morning routine.

But my brain was eating me alive.

It was having me for breakfast.

By the time I had made it half way through my pages my brain was satiated and burping fear.

I tried to stifle it.

It’s not becoming to cry in your morning oatmeal.

But that’s about what I did.

The shine of tears shimmered in my eyes, then drifted down my cheeks.

I heard my room-mate stir from his bedroom and I briskly wiped off my face.

I was sitting in a puddle of financial insecurity.

It comes back it does.

What I recognize though, is that it passes faster and faster and as I get closer and closer to having more full-time hours, I know it will dissipate and go away.

I was having fear about not being able to pay the rent.

Which is such an old fear I wonder why I bother with it anymore.

I suppose because I still get fuel for the fear train from it.

The longer I do this, this living, this way of being, in this kind of awareness, the more I see that I am climbing up the steps with a yo-yo in my hand.

It may feel like I am descending at times, which it did this morning, but the reality is that I am steady and slow, sure-footed and gracefully (well I like to tell myself that) rising up.

Once I catch my breath, literally, I pause and look out over the hills and see this beautiful vista that I get to be a part of again. The climb might feel exhausting, but that feeling fades, and the sun shines and the air lifts the hair off the nape of my neck and I am split asunder again by the beauty of my life.

I have had this thought, it is not a nice thought and it has some diseased thinking in it, that what was the point, went to Paris to write, and came back broke and oh, look, I am a nanny again.

But that is just the silly biting voice of all that wants me to not be happy.

Safe, breathless, and still, I propped my bike across my leg, got out my water bottle, took a huge swig of water, and calmed down.

Even with people I know, even with situations I have some familiarity with, I have anxiety.

I forget this all the time.

I have clinical anxiety and clinical depression and I am not currently medicated.

I have worked really hard to stay off the meds, but I forget my naturally tendency is to live in a state of anxiety.

First day at a new job is anxiety inducing.


“You can always go back on a small dosage if you need to,” my psychiatrist said, her face, demeanor, all of it relaxed and at ease.

“Well, I have to say I do have some anxiety about feeling anxious,” I laughed and tried to not wring my hands.

This is a sure-fire tip-off, when I wring my hands.

When I am calm and can sit still and hold my hands lightly in my lap it is a sign to myself that I am fine, and a reminder that I used to incessantly, without pause, especially in early sobriety, wring the fuck out of my hands.

“That is a legitimate anxiety disorder as well,” she said.

Oh stop.

Which I had, I have stopped being on meds for almost two and a half years.

This is amazing.

Yet, I will forget.

I will forget the work I have done, the therapy, the medications, the anxiety, the debilitating depression, oh all the fucking work I have done to just get “normal”.

Not to say that I am special.


I know loads of people who have had it far worse than I.

What it is though, is a soft, gentle reminder to myself that I need to cut myself some slack.

This has been a tumultuous time for me.

Moving back, time changes and jet lag, getting into a new place to live, acknowledging the East Bay as my home now, re-acquainting myself with friends and family, shit, I still haven’t managed to see everybody and I get overwhelmed with figuring out my own schedule let alone this person there or that person here that wants to hang out.

Hell, grocery shopping is hard.

I realized that today as I was walking through Rainbow at 8:45pm on a Sunday.

I had forgotten where things are and what I needed.

I had gone shopping with Joanie last night but forgotten to pick up coffee.  I had gotten overwhelmed in Whole Foods.

This is better than having panic attacks at SafeWay or Costco.

I have only managed Costco twice and once I literally bounced and left the cart in the line, I had to get out that bad.

So, sure, there are going to be moments of fear or struggle, but there are also these bright clear moments when I run into a friend at Herbivore, FROG! And get to see another friend, RONNIE! And then I am having a wonderful meal with a darling and I am alright, the world is alright and there is nothing to be afraid of.

Not even the fear itself.


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