Lately I’ve been waking up at 3 in the morning to worry. Not on purpose of course. It’s probably that I’ve gotten back in the habit of drinking a few cups of coffee in the afternoon AND having a glass of wine when I’m cooking dinner at night. This is not good for me. Coffee and wine mess with my sleep but sadly, I’m not always on my best behavior and sometimes these vices, disguised as treats, sneak in. Sometimes might be all the time.
Super early yesterday morning, after ruminating in the dark for what seemed like hours, I finally just got up and decided to walk the dogs at dawn. I love doing this because there are less people out and lately it seems like there are people everywhere. Running into people with three not-so-well-behaved dogs (I still have my mom’s dog, Spreckles) AND navigating social distancing etiquette is challenging. I’m always finding myself taking weird routes I had no intention of taking just to avoid people. Hello, stranger. I guess I’ll just take a right turn here to avoid you! Doesn’t it seem like everyone is always out these days? Not that I blame anyone. I’m sick of my house too and sunshine and space are all that’s keeping us sane these days.
I often listen to books on Audible while I walk. I also listen to podcasts and I call my dad regularly. This is a good thing and a bad thing. The books I’m reading are often stories about social injustice and while they are super educational and meaningful, they often make my habit of over-worrying even worse. Podcasts are great too but the health and wellness spectrum that I often find myself in also tends to make me over-worry. And even though I love my dad to pieces, sometimes talking to him and absorbing his problems ALSO makes me worry too much. I am just the worriest worry wart there ever was.
This worrying tendency makes me think of my grandma who passed away forever ago. She was known as the worry wart of the family. I miss her so much. I wish we could talk about this worrying habit. But maybe it’s good she’s not around today to see all the things that are going down. It is not a good time to be a worrier.
The other day, I walked out into the orange light of mid day (due to all the fires burning in California) and there on the wall of our entryway was the biggest green bug I have ever seen. I looked it up and I think it’s a green Katydid. I’ve seen small bugs like this a lot. Small finger-nail sized versions but this thing was HUGE! It was as big as my palm. And then later I walked out into the backyard and there in the track of our sliding glass door was the hugest slug I have ever seen. All I could think was, it’s the end of the world! Giant bugs, heat waves, weird orange light, pandemics, crazy political scenes, the country on the brink of a civil war… I just wanted to hide like Chicken Little.
I decided books and podcasts and phone calls were just too much for my poor stressed-out brain. (I know. Eye-roll-worthy.) I often walk without listening to anything but I decided to turn on my favorite “chill” playlist and a Moby song came on. I don’t know why I don’t use music to calm myself more often. I don’t remember which song it was but as the softly repeating base line echoed around the inside of my head, I felt my cortisol levels lower. I gazed up at the trees that line the sidewalk path and I started to notice how they were pruned.
Every tree was pruned differently. I know a lot of this is dependent on the tree and how it grows but the more I examined the branches of each tree, the more I thought they looked like individual works of art! Some were trimmed to flay out symmetrically in all directions. Other trees were pruned to turn in on themselves in spirals. Some were weirdly pruned to grow over the sidewalk…It got me to thinking about who pruned them. I bet there is a tree-trimmer on our neighborhood route who decided to create his own masterpieces on every tree he comes across! How cool is that?!
I’ve always thought our neighborhood was a little over-aggressive with their gardening (seriously, it seems like every day is a new and different very loud gardening task: blowing, edging, trimming, mowing…) but today I actually appreciated it. In a community where everything looks the same, I thought, how cool that it actually isn’t!
Then I started to imagine the cool animated graphic I would create with long willowy purple trunks and branches spiraling around each other to pretty music and wished I was an animator with 3d graphics skills. But that’s just a typical Brenda rabbit hole to fall down.
But let me tell you, it’s a whole lot better than all the other worry rabbit holes I’ve been falling down lately! A whole lot better than worrying about civil war!!!
I really don’t have anything to say today, not that that has ever stopped me from rambling… I’m good at filling up space. I’m good at small talk too. Who says that? Everyone usually says they hate small talk. I just think of it as using small talk to get to big talk. I never use small talk as a shield or fakery. I love being a journalist and I just start asking questions and before I know it there’s a story! Everyone has a story. Even me. Duh. Of course I have a story.
I have a few big stories.
My first big story is that trip I went on with my family and my aunt’s family when I was sixteen and we drove across the country in a rented a 32-food RV called The Executive, which we soon renamed “The Execute,” and we broke down in every state. I’ve probably talked about that before. That was a big deal. It was traumatic. I think I might write a whole memoir about that trip someday.
Then there’s the fornication story and how I left my conservative religious background to be excommunicated twice over until I wised up and decided it just wasn’t for me anymore. I’m still living out that story. It’s a hard one.
Then there’s my divorce story and fleeing to the sticks in a rented U-haul truck, just me and Bug. That was a crazy Thelma and Louise story. And then the traumatic two years after that, living in poverty in a broken down mobile home that I loved so much. Oh, remember that huge backyard and the tomatoes? That was so awesome and yet so scary most of the time because I was so afraid of my neighbors. It taught me so much about poverty. But I escaped and I am so much stronger for it. Sometimes Bug and I talk about those years and I treasure our memories that only we two have.
Then of course there is my love story with Payam. That will always go down in my book as the summer sleeper hit that is still unfolding to this day.
Ho hum. I don’t really want to expand on those stories today. Someday.
Don’t you wish we could go on a long long walk and I could listen to your stories? Can you sum up one of your stories in three sentences in the comments? I know that’s a challenge. I’m curious though!