i had a split-screen panic attack last night.
i was on a break at work when it started. sitting there at the small wooden table, noshing on my squash salad, looking around at the sunday evening dinners being shared between families and wondering where my own family was and feeling the farness of them. and i thought, i am between families. which quickly became i am without a family, which is untrue, but this is how the mind works, you know?
and then i was cleaning the oreck silent vaccuum when my boss commented how everytime he looks he sees me doing this and thanks for that, which in my mind became, really, everytime you look this is what i am doing? oh brother, this is what my life is reduced to? cleaning other people's shit out of a plastic trash receptacle?
my father called me later in the evening. and he listened as i, through tears, listed all of my fears. this silly, little job and the future and work and where my life will go and what i can accomplish and what i’m capable of accomplishing and on and on and on. and somewhere in that on and on and on it came out. my greatest fear. a fear that i don’t think I’d ever even spoken aloud. a fear that while i am certain others must feel the same way, seemed the most shameful, the most unspeakable. remember last week when jasmine featured my fun with proust and i said my greatest fear was "dying before i've ever truly been loved"? well, that's not quite right. my greatest fear? my greatest fear is that i'll never fall in love with a man who will love me back. i know that i can fall in love. and i am reasonably certain that a man can fall in love with me. i just can’t imagine it happening at the same time. that the person i choose would choose me as well.
and this is when my father in his infinite wisdom said, you have to work on loving yourself. and i said, but dad, i do, i am working on it, i’ve come so far.
and then he said the next really important thing, guys are not perfect and even the right guy, won’t change everything.
and that’s when it hit me. i’ve been daydreaming of this new crush now. and I find myself dreaming of the little things—the things that would make a life—not the week-long-love-affairs-in-rome (which, don’t get me wrong, will be amazing) but the first moment he puts his hand on my pregnant stomach and realizes he’s going to be a father. or the moment in the department store when we choose a new set of sheets or a new pillow. these daydreams are different than my past daydreams of men—they’re not quite so exotic and dangerous, they’re comfortable and familiar in a really thrilling way. i thought it was this guy who was making the difference. but dad, you’re right, the daydreams are different because I am different. i can now envision a future—a life of countless important moments because I now know i deserve that. and those dreams are not contingent upon any one man. the man does not make the difference, i do. and maybe that’s truly the beginning of everything—that’s the beginning of my love story.
turns out panic attacks can be moments of great personal growth.