I have been having a pretty rough time of it lately. Put simply, I'm a wreck.
This is annoying, because I am generally as stable and buoyant as a noble gas, and so I have few coping mechanisms in place for the alternative. My general flash-flood method of tension dispersal--cry hysterically for five minutes, wash face, exhale, get on with life--worked a lot better when there was somebody around to make comforting noises, and I am much too proud to do this to my friends. (This is a failing on my part, not theirs, I hasten to add--they've generally been super-supportive. I just can't shake the feeling that such things are the emotional equivalent of a mugging.)
It would be nice if knowing why one feels things allowed one to then opt out of feeling them. (Actually, that would be seriously awesome.) Unfortunately, you still tend to be stuck with it, you just get impatient with yourself. "Oh, god, are we still on THAT? Can't we get a new neurosis for a change?"
Me, I'm terrified. It's almost all fear. The move has been on the horizon for too long, I've had too long to mull it over, and while I suspect I'll be fine once I'm actually underway--"Yarr! Adventure! Look out, world!"--at the moment I am pacing the floors, running through the same terrors in my head, over and over again. What if I fail? What if I flounder? What if I have no friends? What if I make an idiot of myself? What if no one will ever love me again? What if I get rejected? What if I can never trust my instincts again? What if my career crashes and burns for no apparent reason? What if I can't get into a gallery/sell another book? What if I can't get health insurance? What if the cat explodes? What if, what if, what if?
Needless to say, this is not constructive. Or restful. I'm still losing weight, but now it's because the thought of food makes me queasy, which is a sure sign of misery. I'm down to a low size twelve and heading south. Nice, sure, but I generally would rather get there in less self-destructive fashion, and goddamnit, I just bought that pair of jeans...
My friends are long-suffering, some of them because I've built up pretty good credit, most of them probably because they realize this is an ultimately self-limiting masochism and will end in about ten days (or at least, I won't have internet for a few weeks, and thus cannot ambush them in the wee hours of the night.)
This, too, shall pass. Even if I make an idiot of myself and the cat explodes, I've still got another forty-odd years to make peace with it, and if my career crashes and burns tomorrow, I can always join the Peace Corps and go plant penguins in Africa or something. Or go stay with my parents for a bit and get a real job. Or...whatever.
I got through my divorce really quite well, if I do say so myself--there's plenty of emotional landmines lurking, I'm sure, but I was not destroyed by it, I did not unmake myself, and I reconstructed my life quite effectively on the other side. Thanks to some lovely friends--one in particular--I feel quite good about myself in general. And I know that this sort of feeling passes off soon enough. (In about ten days, actually.) It's almost silly to panic so brutally on the eve of the move, when it's the one thing that I am sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is absolutely the correct thing to be doing.
This, too, shall pass.
If it doesn't, I can always bloody well move back--I know I've got friends here, and if I'm miserable in California after six months (I'll give it six months minimum) I can always slink back here and slither back into the remnants of my old life. (Actually, I'll be back here at some point ANYWAY, since I have stuff here.) I doubt I'll have to. I'm sure before long, California will be a wild adventure and I'll wonder what the hell I was ever scared of.
Obviously it's the unknown. Lovecraft knew what he was talking about.
My grandmother would have handled this fine. She walked through life in the assurance that everyone loved her, and perhaps as a result, everyone did. She plowed ahead through love and terror and more marriages than a Vegas chapel and she was down and out any number of times, and she just kept on going. She was never afraid to throw herself into anything--moves, love, road trips, whatever. I have to be like that. (Okay, possibly without the marriages bit, although I admire her enthusiasm there.) I wish that I could do that, but I have not yet found the trigger for that particular latent DNA. (Or for that insane charisma, either. THAT I'd like to be able to get at. Sheesh.)
Oh, well. In a few months, I will look back and go "What was I ever scared of?" I know this. I know that you cannot fly without first jumping off a cliff, and this is merely--to mix my metaphors badly--my neurotic attempts to tie and retie the knots on the bungie cord before I jump.
This, too, shall pass.