Veils of Anxiety


“To read fiction means to play a game by which we give sense to the immensity of things that happened, are happening, or will happen in the actual world. By reading narrative, we escape the anxiety that attacks us when we try to say something true about the world. This is the consoling function of narrative — the reason people tell stories, and have told stories from the beginning of time.” ~ Umberto Eco

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.” ~ Graham Green

“Once upon a time,’ is code for ‘I’m lying to you.’ We experience stories as lies and truth at the same time. We learn to empathize with real people via made-up people. The most important thing that fiction does is it lets us look out through other eyes, and that teaches us empathy—that behind every pair of eyes is somebody like us.”  ~ Neil Gaiman

Just a few minutes ago, maybe ten, there was a brief spattering of coyotes calls. This made me smile. It always does, though sometimes the song they cast out into the night first stirs a rush of wonder, before I get around to the smile. It almost always sets me to wondering still at there being any life at all. Regardless of species or kingdom, we all share a beautiful world, if we can only see it that way. The animals pretty much stay plugged in to that Beauty Way. We humans – the civilized ones anyway – swaddle ourselves in veils of anxiety. Some of get it worse than others. I’ve heard it suggested that those of us with chronic mental illness, mental disorder, whatever, serve as canaries in a coal mine for those with lesser levels of stress and cortisol-laced anxiety. Yeh, maybe. I can see the sense in that worldview. The thing is that, for me, that doesn’t matter much at all. Not to me. I feel pretty much engulfed in self-preservation, under the persistent and omnipresent rattlings of the PTSD, and the vibes it smears across my spiritual eyes. If my survival is of some use . . . . ummmm, maybe I shouldn’t go there, it sounds too fatalistic, which is not something I see in myself. I think . . . . oh, never mind. I feel optimistic a good part of the time. Let’s leave it at that, k? It’s Monday morning, and my Sunday was so filled with a feeling of freedom and escape from the pressures of society that going back to work today will likely feel like it does to folks who always have weekends off. I almost always have Sundays off, but I usually sit here is the shadows of this room and mope. I went for a long drive yesterday. The vastness and beauty of the San Luis Valley is good medicine. Even at 60 mph I still feel small, and that feels good. Anyone who goes for a drive and spends their time admiring their vehicle is missing the point, I think. My car is a fine machine. I simply take it with me and it complies with my needs. Whatever, right? At a stop along the way I fell into conversation with a hipster fella, and it turned out he spent some time in my old island hometown. He worked at the brewery there, canning beer and ale. Wait, what? Brewery? WTF. There was no brewery when I stilled lived there. But as soon as I turn my back? Geez. Again, whatever. My writing time is short and I’ll have to have a shower, after I slip past the skunk under the deck and go have a look at the sky. Sunrise is in about 20 minutes. I almost always take at least a few minutes to check it out. But I gotta get myself scrubbed up because I go to see my Nurse Practitioner at 8:20, to have her check out this mysterious lump on my right hand. I found it about two months ago. I didn’t recall it being there, and I am 90% certain it wasn’t there around New Year. Just saying. The thing doesn’t generate any sensations that suggest it might be an intruder; no itching, no burning, no aching. My massage therapist, when I showed it to her, did not recall it ever being there either, and she knows my body quite well. I’m feeling concern but no panic is evident. There for a while I did feel panic, as I looked at the lump and took it straight on into an urgent need for surgery. I was successful in walking back that unfounded fear. Calm down. That’s what I say.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.


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