Last week my companions, Worry, Anxiety, Depression, and Fear, got together and threw a party in my brain. In addition to my usual stress-inducing thoughts, I started wondering what the purpose of life was. Specifically, my life, naturally, but also, just our lives in general. But mostly mine. I got stuck thinking – wondering – why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? With my life? Am I supposed to be trying to do something GREAT? And if I am, how come I haven't figured it out yet? Should I have majored in something different in college? After I've been dead a generation or two, will anyone remember me? And for what? At my worst, I imagine I'd be remembered as that one who never figured out what to do with herself and FAILED AT LIVING.
Yes, that's what I was immersed in. The belief that I've done everything WRONG and I'm running out of time to do things right. To leave a mark – a good one. To matter.
It was a fun party, I tell you. It went on for days, swirling around in my mind, creating a giant rock (Anxiety's work) in my chest and leading me at one point to make a list in my phone of all the things I was worrying about at that moment one day at work. I just had to get it out of my head for a minute. And yes, writing (typing) it down kind of helped. I just made a list of items, each one starting with "I worry that – " and after I downloaded all that mess I went back to work and my day improved.
Later, at home, I re-read the list. And amid my list of all sorts of fears and worries about me and family members and me again, and areas where I fall short, and belief that I'm a failure a lot of the time, and even more miserable stuff I just don't feel like sharing because it sounds TOO melodramatic when it's not actually going on in my head, I read this:
"I'm worried my Judas don't eat enough vegetables"
I don't write like that. I'd have used "doesn't" instead of "don't."
And who is Judas? MY Judas? (I ran through the list of our pets' names, just to be sure, though they're all carnivores so vegetables aren't high on any of their dietary needs)
WHO TYPED THIS IN MY PHONE???
And then, oh yeah! In among all the giant towering fears was my motherly concern that my teen-aged CHILDREN don't eat enough vegetables. Somehow Autocorrect decided to change that, and Autocorrect has a very weird alternate-word selection process.
And – best of all – it made me laugh.
That's my favorite thing. The unexpected laugh.
(Side note: I know, double spacing after the end of a sentence is so outdated even dinosaurs didn't do it, but it's how I learned to type and it's just a really, really hard habit to break, so please forgive me forever.)
Anyway, here's the other story I wanted to tell you.
During all the "I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing!!!!" stuff going on in my head recently, I got a larger than business sized envelope in the mail with something in it. The Wells Fargo Wagon song naturally began to play in my head, complete with Ron Howard's young lisp, because hey, whatever was in the envelope COULD be something special just for me.
I made sure it was for me – and yes, there was my name, right there. But the line below my name was Barefoot Kitchen Witch, and that was unexpected. My writing here has been sporadic at best over the past bunch of years, so why anything should come with the name of my cobwebby site on it was puzzling.
And then I looked at the corner of the envelope – and it was from The National Pen Company. ?
So I opened it and there was a blue pen with BAREFOOT KITCHEN WITCH on the side and my town and state and zip code below it.
Also in the envelope was an order form so I could order a hundred or five hundred or a thousand of these pens – for my clients – at 39 cents a pen. I would only get this special price for the initial order, mind you. Any subsequent orders would cost me a whopping 99 cents per pen. So I should ACT NOW!
Julia wanted me to order a bunch of them because like me she is made happy by office supplies. I told her I'm not ordering a bunch of pens, and she tried to get Alex to go along with her plan – "Alex, you need pens, right???" and he didn't even look at her when he said "No, Julia, I don't need any pens."
So I'm not ordering a bunch of pens for 39 cents each, and I'm not giving Julia that one pen, even though she really really likes it. I'm keeping it.
And here's why. I think my mom sent it. I know it came from The National Pen Company in Shelbyville, TN. She had to do that so the post office would process it. I don't think they process stuff from The Afterlife, or The Spirit Realm, or Heaven, or places like that, because who could they charge for postage?
Anyway, my mom was always supportive of anything I wrote. So I think she saw me spinning around in my fears and worries and wanted to give me a bit of a nudge so I'd at least stop spinning and do SOMETHING, rather then spend all my time worrying that if I did X, it would be the wrong thing, so maybe I should do Y, or Z, but what if I did, and it turned out X was really the right thing all along?
I have the same problem choosing my meals at restaurants. It would be so much simpler if I was a picky eater.
Anyway, thanks, Mom, for the nudge and the pen. And if you can figure out a way to send Julia a special pen of her own, she'd be really happy. But I guess that'll be my job one day.