I don’t think I qualify for “social anxiety disorder” but my dials are certainly set a few clicks beyond “introvert” compared to most people. If I can’t have days of solitude every week, I start to snap and growl, productivity drops, and sleep suffers. For the past week, I’ve been in the office until all hours, getting ready for an audit of my foster care files by the State of Maryland.
This kind of detail/paper work drives me round the bend. My contracts are also up for re-competition, and the proposals are due in about ten days. Fortunately, I love to write, but unfortunately, the proposal requires a lot more than creative writing–it requires details, documents, references, insurance certificates, budgets, affidavits… Oh, bring me my hartshorn!
BUT I’m not entirely without the self-care clue. I scheduled a massage for Thursday afternoon, the day before the Big Audit. I was mostly ready for the State, and I’d been looking forward to the massage.
Except, I have a condition called restless leg syndrome, and it often rears it’s oggly head (or foot, as the case may be), toward the end of the day, when I’m tired. Halfway through the massage–my big, soul-sustaining treat–I start to twitch and jump and jiggle.
Restless leg doesn’t hurt, I tell myself. It’s a just a nuisance, like thyroid disease, Lyme disease, taxes, loneliness, state auditors, post-travel credit card balances… I’m in the lobby, writing the check, making the next appointment, and onto the Muzak comes a quiet, classical piece.
The Barbara Adagio for Strings has be to be the most sad, honest, wrenching composition I have ever heard, and I hadn’t heard it for years. (If you want to break your heart, watch this version, which is set to images of 911.) My busy, competent, highly functional, has-an-answer-for-everything self just started bawling. Stumbled out to the truck, and went Pathetic for the next half hour.
I HATE being a lawyer sometimes. It’s hard, it’s not a good fit for me, and I don’t have the type and volume of energy to do it as well as I’d like to. I miss my dukes and ladies, I want to go for a ride on Sir Regis, and figuratively offer a rose to a small child. I want my mom, and my daughter with me, not thousands of miles away. I want to rest, thoroughly, not just until the dogs have to go out.
All of those real, understandable, human needs, would probably still be duct-taped into silence by my deadlines and duties, but for Mr. Barber giving me a tap on the emotional shoulder. I called my daughter yesterday, I talked to my mom and my dad, I scheduled lunch with a writin’ buddy for Wednesday, I called another writin’ buddy last night.
Solitude is fine, but solitary confinement is wrong, even for me. I needed Mr. Barber’s reminder, though it landed with the force of a blow on my to-do list and on my heart.
When was the last time music, art, dance, a sermon, a book, a poem, a flower garden, brought you home to yourself?