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06:00 - Friday, Mar. 06, 2015
something destructive and shaking it
I'm writing this entry in the air. I used to love to journal in the air because I wanted to have a moment-by-moment reel of what a section of high anxiety looked like. It looked like a lot of overreaching, redirecting positive statements, as I recall. I remember feeling terrified and simultaneously writing stuff like 'and as we rose, the houses becoming pinpoint-sized, I felt a moment of camaraderie with those around me, those people wearing their Mickey Mouse ears, all ready for Disneyland - we were on our first rollercoaster ride together'. This was, I think, when I was flying out to Orange County in 2010 to look at grad schools.

Flying doesn't really provoke too much anxiety anymore, not after two flight-heavy summer trips to Asia and the realization that you can pretty much always get an aisle seat if you walk up to gate check looking sufficiently tall and miserable at the prospect of squashing your knees into a window for 4 hours. My stomach still goes crazy, but my brain doesn't really get involved. It sits there and thinks, 'well, you go ahead and do whatever you want down there, I'm just going to read this book up here'.

I guess the brain not getting overly involved is one of the end goals of meditation, so it's nice to see that daily (read: not daily, but valiant attempts to be) practice is getting me somewhere. I haven't noticed any less anxiety, just less tolerance on my part for getting swept up in it. I notice it, I dislike it, but I accept that it is happening and don't get mad at myself or ask why or try to identify a pattern in all of its occurrences or try to predict when the next time will be, or, worst of all, get into the black spiral of how many physical ills anxiety is capable of giving me (answer: all of them, if I choose to go down that road, and I've only recently realized it's a choice).

My obsessive detail-pickery is, I think, something that made it attractive for me to write, and I'm trying not to lose it by going all Zen (luckily, there is no chance of me actually going all Zen). I think I can try to notice the small things without grabbing onto something destructive and shaking it. I think.


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