When Supergirl Becomes Her Own Kryptonite : Learning to Accept Life with Anxiety

This is what I’ve learned from my journey so far with anxiety. No one’s journey is exactly the same, but maybe someone can relate and take comfort that we’re not alone in this sometimes silent struggle. Talking about it takes away some of its power and the stigma will continue until more of us speak up for ourselves.

Let’s get one thing straight— anxiety is not a choice. Anxiety is a cruel bitch and she does not discriminate. People may look at someone like me and think I have nothing to whine about. I’m lucky. I had a great childhood, awesome family (parents are still together after 40 plus years), good education and great career opportunities. But anxiety doesn’t care about that. If she’s going to get you, there’s no hiding. So until you have been in my head and stared down the darkness I battle every day, please don’t add to the stigma that anxiety is a choice and it’s mind over matter.

Anxiety leads to fear. Fear leads to anger. And I was so angry at myself all the time. How dare I give in to this nonsense? Why can’t I just shake it off? Pink was quoted as saying, “If there was one thing I’d change about me it’s the voices in my head. They don’t like me.” Those who suffer with anxiety may relate. I saw myself as weak. I perceived myself as broken. I became my own mental bully on my own mental playground. I stopped liking myself when honestly, I needed myself the most. Ultimately, no one could help me if I wasn’t willing to help myself.

Like a mere shadow of my former kick-ass self, I couldn’t see the girl I was once was. Once you stop yearning to be someone who doesn’t exist anymore, the self-loathing subsides a little. Now that I have stopped looking back and am accepting who I am now, I feel I can finally move forward. And that decreases some of the hold my demons have over me. Like the scarlet “A”, I felt like everyone saw it and it weighed me down daily. Moreover, I realized it was always part of me. Even as a child, I would worry about things. I was always a worrier and a perfectionist. I still believe that my anxiety partly ended a long term relationship because my ex couldn’t handle my meltdowns. In addition, I have had career problems as a result. And then there’s the anxiety over having anxiety. “No one will ever love me. I’m crazy. No one will put up with this. I’m going to die alone.” And so the spiral continues. But now I realize it is part of the package deal. Take it or leave it, the menu is not a la carte.

With therapy and medication, anxiety can be kept under control but I have finally accepted that it’s part of who I am. It’s not the flu. Most likely, I will not “get over it “. I have good days. I have bad days. Sometimes I can laugh it off as what I like to call “the ‘xiety” for short.

I am still coping every day with anxiety and I don’t have answers for questions that I’m constantly asking, but I’m optimistic that I will find a way to co-exist with my brain’s way of thinking. Sometimes I best it and sometimes it gets the best of me.

My only advice for fellow anxiety suffers is to learn to be your own best friend. Take it easy on yourself. It’s almost like being an addict. Recovery means letting go and taking one day at a time while recognizing you may always have to work at it.

Anxiety is just another thing to add to the list of quirks that make me, well, me. Even Supergirl had weaknesses, so if it’s good enough for her it’s good enough for me. Maybe I’ll look in the mirror one day and see Supergirl again. Maybe a wiser version with more scars and a few grays, but with the most ass-kicking weapon of all in my arsenal…hope.

And the Award for Best Comeback Goes To. . .

Nothing is more of a letdown than thinking of a good comeback too little too late. I’ve only experienced one moment where I even came close to victory. I’ll talk more about that later. First, I’d like to share the best comeback I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing.

The setting was Wildwood, NJ. I was 18 years old, hanging “down the shore” for the weekend with a group of girlfriends. We got all gussied up and proceeded toward the boardwalk. We passed a frat house of sorts, replete with drunken guys hanging out on the porch waving their red solo cups with pride. One of these prizes called out to us, “Hey, ladies, there’s a party in my pants!” Without skipping a beat, one of our girls calmly replied, “Sorry, guys, we’re not into small gatherings.” Bam! All the rest of the guys started laughing at their friend’s damaged ego. It was truly a magical moment for comebacks.

With that, I have only channeled one moment that has even come close to my friend’s aforementioned quick-witted response. The year was 2003. At 30 years old, I had just obtained my driver’s license. Living in the city, I really didn’t need it until then. With my new to me 87’ Pontiac Grand Am, I proceeded to joyride to my happy place, Target. Lacking experience with pulling into spots, it took me a little while to straighten out the car. A car waited impatiently behind me. I have to point out that there were plenty of spots and this driver could have easily gone around me. Instead, she chose to stalk the spot next to me. Finally, we both park and get out of our cars. I was wearing pigtails so she must have mistaken me for a younger woman. With attitude that only a South Philly woman can spit out, she says, “If I was your mother, I’d take away your license.” She seemed pretty proud of herself until I quickly responded, “If you were my mother, I’d be ugly.” In silence, she stormed away. Yes, my moment of victory was sweet and triumphant; however, never to be replicated. But I can dream of the day. . .

Cherry Water Ice Causes Brain Damage: Lies My Father Told Me for His Own Amusement

Let me start by saying my dad is a great person and a great father. I am lucky that I had an amazing childhood thanks to my parents; however. . .

My dad possesses what we’ll call a “unique” sense of humor–one that I have inherited for sure. When I was five, I was just getting into picking out my own albums. Dad told me that if it was a boy singer, it was called an “album.” If it was a girl singer, it was an “al-blum.” Imagine my chagrin when I ran outside and asked my friends, “Hey, did you hear the new Pat Benatar Al-Blum?” 

When I was three years old, my dad worked on the weekend evenings. When I asked why he wasn’t home at those times, he replied, “Because I’m Superman on the weekends. Don’t tell your friends.” He went on to show me a picture of him on the beach with his button down shirt opening to reveal a superman shirt underneath. Wow! This had to be true! So, of course, I ran and told my friends. Don’t think they bought it but I did. I really can’t say how long it was until I figured out it was a second job. Still to this day, I like to think it’s true.

And my all-time favorite. . . When we were kids, my dad had a white Pontiac with white interior. It was the 70s and I’m sure that was considered practical and stylish at the time. We often would go to the playground “down the lakes” (for you Philly folks). On the way home, we always stopped at Italiano’s to get water ice. My flavor of choice was cherry. White interior. I was a messy kid. See where I’m going here? The red water ice stains started accumulating in the car’s precious snow white interior. My dad’s keen sense of problem-solving thought up a solution. Since lemon obviously doesn’t stain as bad as cherry, he went with this. “Hey, I heard on the news that cherry water ice causes brain damage.” Panicked, I stammered, “What flavor doesn’t cause brain damage, Daddy?” “Lemon.” To this day, I still don’t think I’ve had a cherry water ice. But of course, cherry water ice doesn’t cause brain damage. It really doesn’t, right?

Clueless Featured Incest and Other Movie Points That Bother Me If I Stop to Think About It.

[Warning: Contains Spoilers of Movies that You’ve Probably Seen. I’m Being Courteous.]

Clueless (1995). Paul Rudd and Alicia Silverstone’s characters hook up at the end. “Hello?” They establish their relationship at the beginning of the movie as step siblings. I get that their parents were only married briefly but still kinda gross.

Harry Potter Series (2001-2011). I have to thank a good friend for pointing this out, but this whole mega-franchise revolves around a grown man trying to kill, essentially, a child. Grow up and pick on someone your own age, Voldemort.

Titanic (1997). It was a big boat. Plenty of debris to go around in that ocean. ‘Nuff said. Leo just wanted to die in time to avoid suffering through Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.”

The Goonies (1985). They all stand on the beach and watch the pirate ship slowly sail away. “Holy Mary, Mother of God.” Yeah, Holy Mary, Mother of God, get your asses in a boat and get that treasure. Plenty of money for everyone to go around. Let’s think bigger than saving the goon docks, people. These kids need college money.

Home Alone (1990-1992). Haha. Child neglect is funny maybe once if you go with the plot’s suspension of disbelief. But to leave him alone again, and then go for a third, fourth time in tv movies? Where’s DHS?

Fargo (1996). A major character is pregnant through the whole movie but never gives birth. Don’t think that’s happened in any other movie. Actually, that’s pretty damn awesome.

The Golden Ticket: What Charlie Bucket Continues to Teach Me About Life

I’m about to get all sentimental and flowery. Bear with me, and you may

agree. Hands down, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) is my favorite

movie. (Yeah, me and a large army, I know, I know.) As I approach 40 it’s

starting to take on new meaning, and I realize why it’s resonated so

strongly with me all these years.

 

Basically, Charlie Bucket in his purest form is determined, hopeful and a

survivor. He never gave up and kept reaching for that Golden Ticket.  He

always believed something better awaited him.  Through triumphs and

letdowns, Charlie found his way. And that’s no joke.

 

When I look around at so many people, it breaks my heart to see wasted

potential.  People let things get the better of them, and somewhere along

the way ambition diminishes. It happens to the best of us.  We lose sight of

the Golden Ticket. For some, the Golden Ticket may be a house, career,

family or even a soulmate.  For others, it may be a cure for

illnesses, happiness or just one day with peace of mind. If everyone

took the time to figure out what their Golden Ticket is, I think we

would all be better off.  When we cease to better ourselves, hope dies

and that’s just not a good place to be.

 

Through my own life experiences, I’ve had what I thought was the Golden

Ticket. It’s been ripped out of my hands many times, and replaced only to

be lost again.  It’s taken me a while to realize I’m probably still looking

for it. But, like Charlie Bucket, I won’t stop trying. And when I find

myself in trouble, I’ll just tell myself, “Burp, Charlie! It’s the only way

down.”

Pet Peeves: 30s vs. 20s

Things That Bothered Me In My 20s That Don’t So Much In My 30s.

As I near the end of my 30s, I realize a lot of things that invoked ire in my 20s are no big deal now.  Here’s my top three:

1.  Friends canceling plans last minute.  Hey, chances are I didn’t feel like going anyway.  Once I’m comfy and in my pjs, you weren’t getting me out anyway. . .

2. Not being liked by everyone.  I’m secure in myself. Take it or leave it. Not all personalities integrate and get along.  If you don’t like me, that’s ok.  I’m blessed with enough friends and have more important things to worry about.

3. Being excluded from weddings, showers, vacation, general plans, etc. If it saved me money, or having to “ooh” and “ahh” for no good reason, then thank you! Besides, if I really was meant to be there, I’d weasel my way in somehow.