So, I'm doing better. I'm up to #49, but I still need for you all to vote -- so go ahead and get it out of the way by clicking on that button. (If you're on your phone, scroll to the bottom and click "View Web Version" so you can see the button and THEN click on it.)
I don't really have a post in my head today, so I have no idea what I am about to write. I hope that you all have your coffee because there is no telling where this is going....
I was told recently that I have an amazing imagination. A friend who has known me for more than 2 decades told me that she wished that she had an imagination like mine. I told her that she didn't know what she was wishing for. My imagination gets me into trouble. I've been thinking a lot lately about the many things that drive me crazy, give me gray hairs, and make me paranoid -- besides my kids, I mean. Here is what I have discovered: I am unreasonably paranoid about things that are beyond impossible, and it is because I have an awesome imagination. I have a number of completely irrational fears. I do not sit around obsessing over these, but when I have too much time on my hands, or if faced with certain situations, or if I am trying to make myself fall asleep…they crawl out of the corners of my subconscious mind and I can’t stop thinking about them.
For example, I am afraid of forgetting something important. I don't mean something like a PIN number or a password. Those can be reset. I mean like, I sign up for a class and forget to go. Or I forget to pick my kids up somewhere. Or I'll get invited somewhere like a State Dinner at the Governor's mansion and I'll forget about it until I see the pictures in the morning paper the day after.
I am afraid of sharks. I live in Texas, no where near the coast, and I haven't been to the beach since 2007. Yet, at least once every couple of weeks, I have a nightmare about sharks.
I have a fear of picking things up that require me to curl my fingers under an unseen edge. I am certain that there is a brown recluse, a black widow, a tarantula, or a roach hiding on the underside and that I will put my hand right on top of it.
I am also afraid of contracting a weird disease. I am afraid that I will get some kind of undiscovered disease and all of the doctors will think I am a hypochondriac because they have never seen it before and won't recognize it. Or worse, I will be dying of something that I don’t recognize as a reason to go to the doctor until it is too late. (Seriously, the kid in Kindergarten Cop that said “Maybe it’s a tumor?” Yeah, this fear is completely his fault. I cannot have a headache without a whisper of the thought of tumors and aneurisms and tiny alien robots attached to my brain stem).
I am afraid that I will throw my gum away by wadding it up in a winning lottery ticket, or that I’ll be in the shower when the Publisher’s Clearing House people come to the door.
I am afraid that I will forget to put on a vital article of clothing before leaving the house. I mean, I am not (by anyone's definition) a "fashionista", and I don't care if I match, but I do constantly have to make sure that I am wearing a bra and shoes when I hit the front door.
Every time that I am driving and get stuck on a bridge or overpass in traffic, I have a fear that some catastrophic event will cause the structure that I am sitting on to collapse and I will plummet to my death in my mini-van. Similarly, if I am UNDER a bridge or overpass, I am convinced that it will fall on top of me.
If I am in a public place, specifically alone, and it is NOT crowded, but a stranger positions themselves close to me, I am certain that they are there to kill me. Like, if I go to a movie alone and there is virtually no one else in the theater but this random guy walks in and sits directly behind ME? Yeah, I gotta move. He’s quite obviously a serial killer and has a piano wire coiled up in that tub of popcorn.
One of my fears is that I am crazy….no, I mean REALLY crazy, like “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest” -- NUTS. Sometimes I will be out with a friend -- laughing and talking -- and all of a sudden a wave of anxiety will sweep through me. I will catch a weird look from a complete stranger, and have a momentary panic. The thing is; I wonder if my friend is real. Am I just standing here by myself, laughing and joking around with a phantom? I immediately start looking for a reflective surface just to make sure that I am not standing alone. (I blame this one on “The Sixth Sense.”)
Along these same lines, I sometimes fear that I will wake up one morning and discover that I am only about 13 years old and that the past 24 years that I thought I have lived were just a very vivid dream I was having because I ate bad Chinese food or something. Or that I will wake up and find myself in a hospital and discover that I am an old woman who has spent the past quarter of a century in a coma, and that I was never married or had kids.
On the flipside of that, I am afraid that my entire life is being broadcast somewhere and that people are watching me (like the movie “The Truman Show”).
I am afraid that in another dimension, there is a better version of me. Her kids are all perfect and she is at her ideal weight, she has been published multiple times, her laundry is done, her house is clean -- she is everything I wish I was sometimes.
I have watched enough cop shows to have a fear of home invasion. It is not like I live in a fancy neighborhood, own anything anyone would want to steal, or have aggravated any mob bosses or drug cartels, but I still make sure that all of the doors are locked even in the middle of the day. (Someone might get the wrong address).
The sad thing is, these aren’t even all of the things I fear. There are other things that I am afraid to mention out loud to anyone because you will all think I am completely nuts (if you don’t already). Not to mention the fact that I have enough completely rational fears without imagining all of this. I am afraid of something happening to my kids, of being a bad wife or mother, of becoming THAT mom, of getting stung by a bee and not having my epi-pen, or that my kids will turn out just. Like. Me.
So, be careful what you wish for. My imagination is awesome….most of the time it is fun. I can make it through boring parent/teacher conferences by imagining that the teacher I am talking with has purple skin and that my kid is in an alien academy for the extremely gifted. I can stand in line at the grocery store and imagine that the items the person in front of me is purchasing are for the family of Oompah Loompahs she keeps captive in her basement. It makes the ordinary, the mundane, and the boring parts of my life far more interesting. However, when lying in the dark trying to go to sleep, or when left alone too long, my imagination concocts the irrational, the paranoid, and the crazy.