I Never Watched a Movie
I remember all the events I missed out on.
I remember skipping birthday dinners and graduation parties.
I remember making excuses to not go to the movies or leaving early from sleepovers because I was too anxious or concerned about what the morning would bring.
I remember lying to my friends that I was busy or that my family was making me stay in tonight for the third time this week.
I remember feeling as if I had failed every time I made plans and canceled.
Yet, I felt a sense of calm when I would cancel.
My mind would spiral.
I would worry about the plans, the numbers, the friends, the hangout.
I would question if I was going to be too tired or if I was going to be too hungry.
I would contemplate the things that could go wrong.
I never focused on the things that could go right.
I would lie awake and plan my plans for the next day completely ignoring my present life.
I would hang out with friends, but was I really hanging out with them?
Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no.
Sometimes, I would sit there and fill my mind with lists.
Things to do later.
Things to do way later.
I would stress about the weekend on a Monday.
I would stress about the following weekend on a Tuesday.
I never stressed about the present because I was never in it.
I would try to perfect my life.
I would try to start anew each morning.
I would ‘fail’ each evening.
I was happy.
But, I didn’t understand how much happier I could be.
If you suffer from anxiety you know what all of these words mean above.
You also probably skimmed this blog post.
You probably read it haphazardly.
You were probably pre-occupied.
You were probably rushing.
You were probably tapping your foot.
Your mind was wandering and your heart could be racing.
I feel that way writing this blog right now.
I struggle with anxiety.
However, it makes me no less of an incredible human being.
It makes you no less of an incredible human being.
Anxiety can rid you of today and eventually steal tomorrow, as well.
It can make you live in fear of the future and complete disconnect of the now.
I missed out on a lot.
I worried a lot.
But the days I worried away never changed anything except missing out on the present more.
Anxiety is nothing to be embarrassed by.
It has no hold on you.
It has only the power you give it.
I gave it a lot of power.
I gave it all my power.
What made me finally stop feeding it, you ask?
I started to breathe.
I started to try to stay present and not live in the future.
I cannot control the future and for someone who loves to have total control, that is the biggest headache you can imagine.
But, I can’t.
Therefore, it does no good to rob me of my present life.
I started to cherish time with others.
Not the time I was planning to cherish with others.
I began to focus on how I felt now.
Not how I thought I would feel down the line.
I lost track of time.
For me, I was a planner.
I planned each and every breath I took on this Earth.
I planned every meal, every move, every choice, and every make-believe worry.
But then, I tried to not plan.
Have you ever sat down and watched a movie with a friend?
I had not for probably six years.
Sure, I sat down in front of the TV.
Sure, I stared at the screen.
Sure, I talked to my friend and listened to the actors.
I may have laughed, cried, hid under the blankets.
But, I never watched a movie with a friend.
My mind was reeling.
The entire time, my energy was focused elsewhere.
What did I need to do tomorrow?
What time was it?
How soon did I need to leave for home?
What homework did I have for the weekend?
I never watched a movie.
Try watching a movie.
Try really sitting there with a friend and encapsulating your senses with a good film.
No phone, clock, plan, or worry in your brain.
And catch yourself.
Monitor your mind.
If you begin to slip into the ‘worry wormhole’ slip on right out.
Try to stay present.
Try to stay calm.
Try to breathe.
If I could give my old self one piece of advice about her anxiety, about the anxiety she used to face, about the anxiety I still face now, it would be, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” Your worrying will get you nowhere except far from the joys of today.
So, practice, dedicate, strive, and fight for your life without it.
Remember to breathe because you can only breathe in the present, you cannot breathe in the future. Therefore, you cannot plan your breaths, you cannot stress about them, you can only enjoy them, welcome them, and experience them in the here and now.
Your anxiety cannot live within your breath for anxiety can only be found in our future thoughts.
And allow your anxious soul to melt away.