Yesterday, at my regular Saturday meeting downtown I was reminded of how truly lucky I am to have such an amazing support system surrounding me, particularly my loving husband. So many relationship stories full of frustrated ultimatums, stubborn responses and eventual separations surround me and here I sit, next to the man who wouldn’t give up on me, safe in our home. I have dodged an avalanche of pain and suffering thanks to the protection that has come from the love, strength, hope and help my husband, family, and friends have built up around me. The puzzle as to why I have been awarded these treasures is one I have yet to find all the pieces to. Guilt and overwhelming gratitude swim simultaneously in my heart as I listen to the lonely hardships of others. I have no idea how I got so lucky. I am truly humbled, and I will go on with my days never forgetting all I have been afforded.
Today, I will keep all these thoughts close to the forefront as I begin getting us all ready for our upcoming trip. My anxiety is always incredibly high before a big venture away from home. It’s always been hard for me to leave the comfort zone I have created with dogs, friends, co-workers and family. I feel guilty leaving work because others will have to pick up my slack, and I hate knowing I am putting others out. Leaving my dogs is like leaving my kids, I cry every time. It’s not a cute ‘Awe!’ sorta cry either, it’s an ugly ‘Make that girls face stop doing that’ cry. Also, being away from family and friends always feels awkward and uncomfortable to me, even with the magical tech world we live in. Before I learned all these new ways to deal with my feelings I would have said these are all ridiculous and wrong. But now, I am going to acknowledge them and allow them to be there. Allow myself to feel them without me adding more guilt on for feeling them. The key, I think, is to not sit and stew in these feelings, because it is a waste of my energy and won’t produce any positivity. With the incredible fear I have for flying, I really don’t need to weigh myself down with all of these other things as well. So, today, as I allow these feelings to wash over me for a bit, I will work on getting our home and family ready for the adventures to come. Being more prepared helps slow my heart rate a bit.
I am also practicing my DBT flicks as well any time my mind wanders too far ahead of right now. With each panicked thought of the airport I am adding to the flicking with thoughts of how much easier this trip will be. There will be so much less energy and worry put into ensuring I constantly have a drink within reach. My routine for a plane ride used to go as follows: Fill a couple mini bottles at home and put them in a ziploc in the carry on so they can go through security. Drink a MINIMUM of 4 drinks before heading out. Purchase an incredibly overpriced juice in the airport and head to the nearest bathroom stall to fill it with the liquor I brought so I wouldn’t have to wait for the ever so crucial cruising altitude of 10,000 ft. and the attendant can bring the cart around. Purchase a double. Map my way to the closest ABC, CVS, or liquor store the second I am off the plane. Stock up. These are a lot of stressful steps I no longer will have to deal with. Not to mention all the stress, hiding and guilt a vacation with family entails. I will actually be able to be 100% present the whole time. It is no exaggeration when I say that the thoughts of ‘When can I sneak my drink next?’, ‘What excuse can I use this time to run and grab another bottle and where should I hide this one?’, or ‘Can they smell it on me?’ consumed me on every trip. They were all I would be thinking about sometimes. These stressful, heavy, distracting thoughts won’t be there to hold me down this time. So with every ping of angst, I will remind myself of the freedom I will have this go around.
This afternoon I met up with one of my most favorite people for a walk. Adventures with her are always so meaningful and heartfelt. I love them. Today she took me down a path I didn’t know existed that led us to a zebra, a couple emu’s and some horses we could visit across the fence. It was magical. To add to the unexpected gems of the day, there was a pop up petting zoo in the park that some bible church had set up for a get together. Teeny tiny piglets, pigmy goats, alpaca, pony, sheep, chickens, huge bunnies, a tortoise and, wait for it, a fox cub. Yeah, a fox cub that they were walking around like a puppy. It was like we walked into a little bit of heaven. This was a great way to fill my reservoir and prepare me for a very full week ahead. Thank you dear friend. I love you.