Monday, March 23, 2015

The words that come out of our mouths

The other night I was talking yoga with a friend of Jordan's, and said I did my yoga routine alone in the sunroom. My neighbor walked up and said, "Why don't you go to class?" I retorted, "You know I don't like to go out!" The minute I said it, the words echoed in my head. They weren't exactly what I meant--I don't like to do yoga with a lot of other people, and I don't want to deliberately take the chunk out of my day that it takes to come and go.
But did I really mean it? I love people, I feed on company, and too much time alone makes me a tad depressed. But as a friend said to me, "You don't go out. You bring people to you." I've long been aware of a tendency toward reclusiveness that lurks in me, even though I love to go to small parties, restaurants with friends, etc. Increasingly I don't like to go out alone.
Almost forty years ago I was housebound by agoraphobia--sometimes defined as a fear of open spaces but best defined by me as a fear of fear. Phobics gradually draw the circle more tightly around them--the limits of where they'll go get closer and closer until one day you just don't go. If you don't understand panic, you'll have to trust me on this one--I  understand it too well. I spent years pushing back that circle, enlarging it.
But recently I've felt it closing in a bit, and especially during the two weeks I had whatever I had. I stayed home--and pretty much liked it. So when I heard those words--at a party significantly in my own comfortable "safe" house--I knew it was time to start pushing back again. Jacob got caught in my push and we went to church yesterday (once you're out of the habit of going, skipping church gets easier and easier). He tried mightily to talk me into leaving before the sermon, but I insisted and he went grumpily off to the children's sermon. I was glad I stayed because the sermon was good and the music glorious.
Today I had errands to run but found myself contemplating putting them off. That's when I got high behind, dressed and set off to Goodwill, liquor store, grocery and cosmetics store. A bit conscious of myself as I did those things (am I anxious or not?) but I did them. And each small step is a victory. This week, I will make it a point to get out of the house every day.
I'll get my balance back, and my circle will grow. Many people have problems so much worse. How can I complain?

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