Anxiety and I
To have a childhood friend is a goal not everyone is privileged with. Its a dream, a desire. Its the purest, most intimate friendship. A childhood friend is a bond like no other.
I myself have a childhood friend, but I admit this with no pride.
She has been at my side as far back my memory reaches. No, not quite at my side…behind me — lurking in every shadow and hiding behind every tree. Sometimes, she sits promptly on my shoulder, that way, she is closer to whisper things.
She is always whispering things, and let me say, my childhood friend is not a positive being. I wouldn’t say she is cruel, horrendous, or criminal, but she is unkind; she is daunting.
I’ve picked up on habits she encouraged: chewing and biting my lips till they are raw and bleeding, picking and scraping the skin alongside my nails, unrhythmically popping my knuckles, and balding my once neatly shaped eyebrows.
Her touch makes me shudder; Her whispers make me jumpy. My mind is a mess; it is chaotic and disorganized, and she consistently clutters it up. She especially loves questions. She has taught me to question.
The worst questions are the ones about me…
She is not supporting, nor is she loving. But I cannot shake her. She has latched on like a leech. She is quite literally a part of me. My life is hers, and she is my life.
We have sleep-overs, and she is quite the chatter box. Her awful stories and taunts keep my eyes wide open at night, and her impending stress causes me to toss and turn, devastating my bed. Each morning, she is there to greet me and she loves to comment on the darkness under my eyes, on the heaviness of my shoulders, and on the exhaustion of my molding smile.
She has friends other than me, and she proudly shares them. One is hormonal — moody in nature and difficult to understand. The other is emotionless, sunken, and dark. These two come and they go, but they aren’t my childhood friend — even though those two are almost as close.
I scream at her to go away; I throw things at her and say awful things, but she never bats an eye. She never leaves. Despite her clashing relationship with my other friend, who heightens my awareness of the world’s emotions and turbulence, she stubbornly stays.
Despite her presence being very clear, no one acknowledges her. It is like she doesn’t exist; it is like I am crazy. Am I only imagining her? People laugh; people think she is a joke. So I have become a terrible friend, and ignore her; I pretend she doesn’t exist. I suppose this makes me the cruel one…
She does have name, I just feel self-conscious when I say it. It makes her real; it reminds me I am crazy and hysterical. Still…she is my longest standing friend, and for that I owe her a respect.
So let me introduce her to you:
World, meet Anxiety,
and anxiety, meet world.