So I'm kind of freaking out right now because [reasons]. I've [method of attempted resolution], but got voicemail.[1. I'm not sure whether it would actually matter, talking about what's wrong in as vague a way as I had before I decided to cut them. But I'm anxious, and I'd prefer to err on the side of not doing things that will make me more anxious.] To try and calm down, I grabbed a pen and started writing this list:
Things that make me feel in control of my life
- Scheduled blog posts
- Completing well-defined work tasks
- Taking my pills on time
- Drinking plenty of water
- Reading books regularly
- Doing my homework
- Being showered and shaved
- Brushing my teeth
(There are more, including some I thought of while I was typing that, but I'm being faithful to the content of the notebook.)
Sometimes, I think about the fact that, according to pop culture and my own experience, children and teenagers simply cannot be compelled to take these kinds of self-care tasks seriously. Thinking about them in the context of feeling in control, it seems to me to make a lot of sense. When I was a kid, I never felt like there was any hope of feeling in control of my life. And, all those things above, all the things I could be doing that might have constituted positive control over my experience of the world, were undermined. Authority figures like my parents and school administrators (not teachers, they were awesome) were constantly attempting to co-opt autonomously constructive behavior and make it about their success and control, not mine.
Like -- I realize that's a juvenile way of thinking about control, but that doesn't make the experience not real, and it doesn't make it reasonable for people with power over kids to try to make them feel like they've lost some sort of contest when they engage in healthy behavior.
Anyway, regardless of the anxiety, I'm glad I've made my way to a place in life where taking care of myself doesn't feel like a kind of self-destruction.