Anxiety Cakes

Life. Motherhood. Liquor. Baked to Imperfection.

Archive for the category “The XanaX Files”

Life only sucks if you let It

I am not a strong believer when it comes to certain things – but last night while talking through my reasons for wanting to make another life change, it occurred to me that I have been given so many signs that I have chosen to ignore. So many it’s ridiculous. But I guess the reason they were so easily overlooked is because it would have meant “big” change, and “big” change brings on the kind of anxiety that I choose not to deal with. This time it feels different. As I sit here with my deteriorating spine and crippled fingers, I realize that NOT making this change could eventually wreck me both mentally and physically. (Please note that while I am no longer in denial over my anxiety, I still haven’t learned how to fully manage it. I had moved onto the stage of acknowledging it then politely ignoring it, but now it seems I’m moving onto another stage – we’ll call it the “revelation” stage – the whole process is exhausting – and whoever said that ‘admitting you have a problem is the hardest part’ was full of shit.) I guess part of it is, at 40 years young I am finally realizing that there is always an end to the destructive behaviors that we choose to ignore, and it’s never good. There is nothing wrong with realizing and accepting your weaknesses and limitations. The real tragedy is when you keep doing things that make them worse.

So after 22 years of sitting at a desk, I have made the decision to find another way to help support my family by doing something that keeps me active. Something that will allow me to earn a paycheck while improving my conditions and challenging my flaws – rather than helping me down the wrong path to the point of no return. I desire the support of my friends and family in my new ventures, but the hard work and courage it will take to make this happen is solely on me. I’ve got to own this one all by myself.

And now that I finally like beans, the idea of eating them out of a can no longer scares me.



Rainy Days and Mania Always Get Me Down


Rainy days. Some people love them. I am not one of them.

But today was going to be different. I was going to make the most of being stuck indoors. I would make this rained-out weekend a productive one. I’d work on one of my many, long overdue projects. I decided to start with my disastrous recipe book – something that’s been mismanaged for years. My friend has a nice, neat one that I would model mine after. I would start with a trip to Staples. I would buy a binder and plastic sleeves. I would go home and type up the recipes that are scribbled on paper. I would print them out and neatly assemble my new recipe book. Piece of cake. Let’s get started!

While I’m roaming the aisles at Staples, I notice that charcoal pencils are on sale. That reminds me that I want to start sketching again. I think of my first new sketch – a picture I took of my daughter a few years ago. She was sitting at a booth in a restaurant, and the way the light came through the window and shone on her face made for an amazing photo. Did I still have my pencils? Should I buy more just in case I don’t have any (or can’t find them)? I see they have composition notebooks on sales for ten cents! I should probably pick some of these up too because my kid always needs them for her Math class. But I’ve already bought them for this year. And she won’t have the same teacher next year. And where would I store these? That reminds me that I had planned to start a school supply bin at home. I would buy standard supplies when they’re on sale and store them for the future. I should check the website for good deals and buy everything on-line. I’m sure I can find a code for free shipping. And I should buy a bin. But really, I already have so many bins! I could condense my two picture bins down to one, and use one of those. That reminds me that I need to sit and sort through those bins that I brought in from the garage two months ago. I will get started on that tonight – right after I finish my new recipe book. How fun! I’m finally getting organized!

I arrive home with my binder, plastic sleeves, 10 composition notebooks and a bottle of wine (for my picture project later). I tend to the dog, check my e-mail, and remind myself to stay FOCUSED. I’m ready to go! I sit down with my recipe book and open it slowly. Papers fall everywhere. Publix recipes that my daughter brings home, recipes from Doctor’s office magazines that I scribbled on the back of receipts, print-outs from the computer, etc. What a mess. I come across a recipe my Mom finally gave me for a bundt cake she made when I was a kid. That was the whole reason I went out and purchased that bundt pan months ago, and I still haven’t made the damn cake. I start reading the ingredients and realize I need at least half of these things. I remember that I really need to make a shopping list. And I need to plan meals for next week. I really wish I had gone to the market yesterday for fresh veggies. I promised myself that I would start going to the market every Friday morning. Or maybe on Saturday mornings, because that’s when the fish lady is there. And I really need to start getting fresh fish from her again. Okay, FOCUS. I grab a piece of paper and write down the ingredients for the cake. I’ll get to the rest of the grocery list later when I am done with my new, state-of-the-art recipe book. And the picture bins. But first I have to get some lunch because so far today I’ve only had coffee and I am starving.

By the time I am done with lunch, it’s time to take my daughter to the dance studio. A quick 30 minute round-trip and I’ll get back to my recipe book. I can’t wait to get to it!

I get back from taxi-Mom duties, respond to a few text messages and decide to start a load of laundry. That reminds me that there is still a load in the dryer. I turn that on to reheat and fluff the clothes (possibly for the 4th time in two days). I’ve got ten minutes or so to kill. I’ll get started on my recipe book again after I fold clothes. I see I have a missed call from a friend that I haven’t spoken to in months. I’ll call her back when I am done with the laundry. Ten minutes isn’t enough time to catch up.

I sit down and start going through my recipes. I come to the baking section and see a recipe for snickerdoodle cookies. Shit. I have to make those for an upcoming bake sale that the dance studio is having. I can’t remember what day it is scheduled for, so I start going through my e-mails. I notice that my inbox is overloaded with old e-mails, so I start deleting some. I spend the next twenty minutes deleting e-mails, and when I am done, I am disappointed to see that I still have over 5,000 emails to go through. Obviously this is another project that will have to wait. I go back to my recipe book. I flip the page and see two recipes for oatmeal raisin cookies. This reminds me that I promised a friend – a new Mom with a craving for oatmeal cookies – that I would bake her some cookies. But I need to get the recipe from another friend, and I know she’s not home right now. So I search Google for the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe. Looks like I have most of what I need – except for the rolled oats. I’ll stop at the store later when I am out again. I text my friend and inform her of my intent to make her cookies. She asks if I’d like to come over on Sunday, and I accept. She informs me that, coincidentally, the friend that called me earlier will also be there. I’m reminded again that I need to call her back. But first I need to restart the dryer. But not now, because I have to go pick up my daughter.

I arrive home with my kid after stopping to pick up some oats. She reminds me that we have to leave in an hour to go back to the studio for her second rehearsal. I restart the dryer and take the dog out. I slam myself down on the couch with my recipe book, pissed that I have so much crap stuffed into this little book. I don’t know where to start with this mess. I guess I’ll start by typing up all the recipes that are handwritten. I flip through the book, pulling out recipes as I go, and come across the instruction manual for my pizzelle maker. What’s this doing in here? I flip to the back, and there’s a half dozen more instruction manuals! That reminds me that I have a folder in the the file cabinet full of instruction manuals for all of our electronics. Clearly that’s where these should go. I go to the office to retrieve the folder. I start sorting through an assortment of manuals and find one for the first computer we ever bought – a Gateway desktop that we purchased in the year 2000. The next manual is for a television we purchased in 2001. Obviously I need to clean this folder out. And there’s no time like the present.

“Mom, it’s time to go!” my daughter yells from the living room while jingling my car keys. I am sitting on my office floor, surrounded by piles – a pile to keep, a pile to shred, a pile to throw away, and a pile to look through again and redistribute to other folders. Some folders I already have labelled, and some I will have to create. Which reminds me that I need more folder tabs. I wish I would’ve started this before I went to Staples.

Back home again. I have 30 minutes to kill before I have to go back to the studio. I realize now that I should of just sat in the parking lot and waited. I decide to call my friend and remove my nail polish. And now it’s time to go again.

So glad I am home once and for all. No more trips for the day. I start the dryer, feed the dog, and put dinner in the oven. I pour myself a glass of wine, and decide to relax on the couch until the oven timer goes off. And then I see it. That goddamn recipe book.

Fast forward to an hour and a half later. Dinner was served and the dishes are done. I grabbed a quick shower and finally folded the clothes. I’m settling down to write this blog, and then I’m going to read a little David Sedaris and sip some more wine. Meanwhile, there are still piles of manuals on the floor in the office, the picture bins remain untouched, I have cookies to bake, and my old, overflowing recipe book has been moved to the dining room table – right next to the pretty new binder and a package of plastic sleeves. There’s always tomorrow. But probably not, because now I have plans.

And when my husband finally gets a break from his work out west, he’ll call home and ask me what I did today and how I’m feeling. And I’ll let out a big sigh and respond dramatically with “everything” and “exhausted”, because after all, my brain has been super busy multitasking and procrastinating all day, and I really am quite tired. It truly seems like a perfectly reasonable and truthful response to me, and I am certain that someone, somewhere out there will read this and understand completely.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse…

Apparently there are two kinds of claustrophobia – and I’m lucky enough to suffer from both of them.

You Don’t Have to be Crazy to be My Friend, but it Helps

Did you ever have one of those days where you feel like the whole world is against you and nothing makes you happy? I hate them. They don’t happen very often, but when they do, I am acutely aware of what I am feeling and that there is nothing I can do to stop it. It usually has to run its course. And I can’t wait for it to end.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have a friend or two that can help you through these episodes (if you let them). I’ve been through enough of these to know that wallowing in self-pity and being a reclusive never helps, so instead I try to stay active and reach out to people. Sometimes it doesn’t work out as planned, and I am stuck with myself. My ugly, miserable self.

But when all else fails, the one thing that keeps me going is experience – I know it will pass. And throughout these dreadful days, I remind myself of all the things I have to be grateful for. And how much I am loved. And how lucky I am to have my health. And how much worse it could be. And I get through it. (And now matter how cliché this sounds, these constant reminders really do work.)

And when it’s all done, and the sun comes out again, I look back on it and accept that most of it was in my head.

Most of it.

The other part of it is a normal human belief that exists within all of us. It’s called expectation. Expectation is cruel. Expectation is the root of all disappointment. My husband told me years ago that one of my biggest problems is that my expectation of others is too high – that I expect others to feel as much and care as much as I do. That’s mostly true, and he’s partly right, but only to a certain degree. I believe that when you stop expecting human compassion and reciprocated love and friendship from others, you are compromising who you are and what you deserve. So instead of giving up on all, give your time and attention to just a few. The few that support you and help you get through all things, real or imaginary, without judgment or betrayal. The few that love you on your worst days. These are your people. These are your true and unconditional friends.

Post Navigation