The holidays-a bit of therapy for Kim

The anxiety that eats at my soul is gnawing on me again. I am not sure whether this phenomena is related to culture, astronomy, physiology or psychology, but it is clear that there are triggers that manifest themselves, and cause me great embarrassment, discomfort and disappointment.

I frequently tell people, “Guilt is a useless emotion.” It does nothing to improve your life. It only causes you to look in the rear view mirror and obsess about the should haves, the would haves, and the could haves. You can’t change anything so why feel bad about it? Yet, in my own personal life, at this time of year. I am riddled with it. It consumes me. It is a tightness in my chest that is so intense, that I worry that my shoulders are going to spring together and snap shut like an old fashioned coin purse.

I have a magnificent life. I am so very grateful for it. I have a husband, who I know loves me, who accepts my quirks (no matter who points them out to him), and who can see me for who I really am. He has also given me the greatest gift of all, which is pride in myself. I have spent decades of my life, hoping someone would just “like me for me”. One would think that family is supposed to automatically do that, but in my case, not so. Through arduous discussions and endless work, my husband has showed me, that even though no one else in the world has seen it, I am a worthwhile human being. To be able to recognize that, and embrace it, is such a powerful thing. We are all worthwhile, but from the moment we are born, the world around us tells us we aren’t. My wonderful husband took the time and effort to show me what I needed “self respect”. With that self respect, I have been able to achieve dreams, one after the other. No matter what hill I have had to climb, I have looked within and seen the possibilities. I know I can do it. I know I can achieve. I know I can go far, and I will always make him proud. I have wonderful friends who have helped mold me, and for some reason or another, despite that fact that I have made the comments to them that I, “really don’t like people”; they have managed to stay in my life, and show me the beauty of the human spirit around me all the time.

So with all of these tremendous gifts surrounding me, why do I have such anxiety? I think the biggest is, I feel that I let my husband down. The world wants Norman Rockwell at the holidays, and I can’t provide that (did I mention, I’m not the biggest fan of people?). I battle with my feelings-full on warfare. It’s really ugly. Do I share my feelings? Do I not share my feelings? If I share my feelings the swirling abyss of negativity will be out in the open and will let him see the darkness that lives within me. If I don’t share my feelings my shoulders will slam together in the middle of my chest. If I do share my feelings does it accomplish anything? If I don’t share my feelings what if I completely collapse under the pressure? It is an endless loop that wraps around my neck and tightens until I can barely breathe. When I throw in, the fact that if I do share my feelings the next day the guilt is so heavy that it crushes me under its gravitational force.

Some may say, “Kim it’s 5 weeks of your life, and really it’s only just 2 days if you look at actual time spent with people, you can ‘suck it up’ and deal with that.” One would think that that is entirely possible. I have spent time on the couch trying to figure that one out. But, I find myself in a hostel environment, perhaps under my own creation. An environment where I can’t be me. An environment where I have to stifle, and try desperately not to release any feelings, any thoughts, or any sign of the real Kim that lives within. If I dare show who I really am, the vulnerability will crack through and as seen in the past that hole will be used, manipulated and attacked robbing me of the precious self esteem that I have only in recent past found and recognized. The real Kim, is terrified of this time of year.

Where are the holidays of my youth? When we would all go over to Grandma’s house and sit at a giant table; where even though my family pushed judgments at me, and teased me, and hurt me, there was still the powerful force of my Grandma to make it all better; who saw me for who I was and embraced me. Just knowing that I had the support of someone who had the whole world in her hands made the difference. No one messed with her, she never swayed. She never let guilt change her mind. No matter how strong my husband is, he cannot protect me from the pain and agony that eats me on the inside. He has his own obligations to uphold. I once thought I could expect him to do what my grandmother used to, but I now know that I cannot. That force has to come within me; and in certain situations, I cannot use that force.

I would give anything in the world to overcome this evil anxiety. No, the answer isn’t it in a pill. The answer is out there yet, I’m not sure where to find it. Somewhere…Somehow…