Archives for posts with tag: Anxiety

Although I don’t really do live music, I saw Ingrid Michaelson in Des Moines some years ago. I shouldn’t be allowed at concerts. That many people in such a small space makes me anxious. I end up drinking too much and taking pictures I’ll regret.

Like this:

ingrid1

And this:

ingrid2

Oh the coping skills of youth..

Anyways, her new video for the song Girls Chase Boys is amazing. It’s visually (and beautifully) an homage to Robert Palmer’s Simply Irresistible. If you haven’t seen it, go do that now. I’ll wait:

Amazing right?

Ingrid’s interpretation/remake says as much about music’s double standards as it does about the public’s expectations of fame. While the dancers wear heavy stage makeup and form fitting tank tops, Ingrid’s looks is subtler (other than that cleavage). She has the power here. Above all that, it’s a damn catchy song.

Atta girl.

All the Oscar buzz and critical commentary bouncing around the interwebs finally convinced us to see Spike Jonze’s new film, Her, this weekend:

her

Her played out as many other romance tales before. Meet our boy, Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore. Theodore is in the midst of a midlife crisis. His job does not fulfill him. His marriage is over. A steady depression has alienated him from his friends. Enter our girl – in this case an OS – Samantha voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Together they find joy… until they don’t.

Beneath the standard romantic plot there lies something a bit terrifying. An anxiousness rose in my chest as the film progressed. I’m still trying to put my finger on what that was and where it came from, so bear with me here and feel free to disagree.

The terror doesn’t come from the growth of artificial intelligence. It doesn’t come from the way technological tentacles of dependence reach into every aspect of our lives – work, play, love. No, this movies shies away from that kind of commentary. I think the terror is rooted in the rather stable relationship between Samantha and Theodore. This human-OS relationship isn’t revolutionary, it’s dull. Theodore gets everything he needs from Samantha. Everything.

Yep that’s it. I find that complete satisfaction terrifying. Done.

*Added bonus – that my beautiful, nerdy wife pointed out – conversations about the movie can result in the most delightful grammatical missteps. Technically not errors since Her is a noun in this situation. “Her is really good. Her had a great plot and soundtrack. Her was just the right length.”
Nerdful giggles commence.

The wife watched a video on her phone while we waited for the potatoes to finish baking. A little dog yelped from within the phone. Our poodle jumped into action – to save us from the invaders, of course.

We still can’t convince her that her worry is for naught:

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Today arrived and the girlfriend photographed me to prove it:

Other than being unable to let go of the poodle, the anxiety was for naught. Shocking, right? I arrived on time. My alarm didn’t fail. My head didn’t explode. I didn’t make a fool of myself – I don’t think – and the other new folks seem nice enough. What can I say? It’s a job.

I’ll let you know in a few months if the folks are so still nice.

My dog has never played well with others. She is that snotty kid who won’t share her toys and doesn’t like people touching her stuff. And she really doesn’t like another dog cuddling up to her moms. With friends in town (with their shih tzu) this weekend, she’s struggling.

That’s not a smile on her face.

Did I raise her to be like this? Will my kids be this snotty? Will they bite their friends? Shit, I hope not. I calm myself from these thoughts with the idea that I will be able to talk to my kids. I can tell them, “look, if you’re good here we can eat ice cream later.” Yes, my plan is to bribe them. That’s as far as I’ve thought.

I mean, it’s working for the poodle.

Pending a background check, I start my new job next month. Benefits. A solid, steady check. It’s not a teaching or writing-related job but, in short, it is stability. Yet, as always, I’m conflicted.

Who will keep this regal poodle company?

Though I’ve been out of the military for almost two years now, this will be my first real big-kid civilian job. What if I don’t know how to be a civilian? My swearing still rivals that of a long-haul truck driver. What if haven’t used this time to write and be a writer to its full potential? What the hell do I wear?! What if I hate it?

Oh, fuck the what ifs.

I need this job and WANT this job in order for my life to move forward. House. Family. Kids. A real goddamn garden. Maybe this book will happen and maybe it won’t. I’m ok either way but I know if let my other life goals wait I will regret it.

That sounds pretty convincing, right?

My brother turned 17 yesterday. We ate his ice cream cake today.

Yes, there’s a bit of an age gap. That gap means I will always think of him as a five year old. Even as he applies for college. Even though he’s almost six foot tall. When I think of him I think of a little freckled kid who memorized more movie lines than I’ve ever heard.

Also, my mom’s dog heard something scary outside.

She can’t deal with thunderstorms, fireworks, car horns, distant gunshots, chainsaws, and any new loud noise. Poor girl can’t be soothed. We tried a thunder-jacket to no avail. She has something from the vet for the worst storms. But most of the time her coping technique – if my mother isn’t nearby to knock over – is to shimmy into a corner. Small spaces. It’s sad and cute all at once.

The poodle has always been a little spoiled, a little possessive. Both traits are amplified by the presence of other beloved animals. Today the cat has decided to stay in the newspaper basket instead of dealing with the dumb dog crashing at her house.

The ultimate rivalry.

It works until the dog remembers she is there and terrorizes her from above. Poor cat. We’ll be off soon – after this successful family-meeting adventure. Then, when we’re home, the dog can go back to not protecting us and sleeping through the night.

God… I talk about my dog like she is a baby. Sorry, guys.

Growing up, I thought I was an anxious person. I was shy and deathly afraid of heights. Turns out I’m just normal and anxiety is a normal part of the human condition. Who knew?! Daniel Smith’s anxiety, however, is outside that normal range. In his memoir Monkey Mind Smith tells how his extreme anxiety impacted his family, friends, school, employment, travels and condiment choosing abilities.

 

Overall I liked the book. Smith has a strong voice and keen sense of humor. If you know anyone with real anxiety issues (or perhaps that someone is you), give this book a try. It’s got the right amount of heart and a nice sense of confession, as all memoirs should. The downside for me came in the scientific/diagnostic asides. Smith doesn’t seem to trust that we, his dear readers, are smart enough to understand the basics of psychological care. I hate when writers talk down to me. I know it’s a fine line to walk but I’d rather close a book feeling like I learned something instead of feeling like I just slept through a Freshman Psych class.

A large woman entered the pottery studio after I’d been there for about an hour. She looked at my wheel, sighed loudly then sat next to me. With no one else in at the wheels she sat RIGHT NEXT to me. Obviously she wanted my wheel. That nice corner wheel where one can feel calm and safe. So what’s a girl to do? I left. I ran away from the woman and the polite Midwestern small talk we might have had if I’d stayed.

But at home I made these elephant bookends that the dog wants to eat

– so things worked out.

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