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Hey Infinity is 6 years old now – being just have had a birthday this month. And no, no one sent it or me birthday cake. Yes, we are offended.

This means I created this little space on the internet when I was 20. Back when I wasn’t legally allowed to drink – one year before I bought my first (and only yet) bottle of adorably pink, strawberry Boone’s Farm wine, and tiny rainbow-sprinkled cupcakes for the crazy 21st celebration I had with my friend and her cat. One year after I voted in my first Presidential election, smiling as I colored in the tiny bubble with a pencil to support Barack Obama, thinking to myself that much-younger me would have been shocked to know that my Republican parents’ opinions hadn’t stuck with me to adulthood.

When it was a new infinity and not a 6-year infinity veteran, I ordered some tiny business cards that have the website on one side and “I think you’re beautiful” on the other.The idea was, I am pretty sure, to give those away to people so they knew this place existed, or forcefully leave them on cars, or stick them in random places wherever I found myself – all of which I never did. When they arrived in the mail, I opened my package to find someone else’s cards, listing actual helpful information like a contact email. I emailed the lady, told her I had gotten her cards by mistake, and suggested the following: She would probably get my cards in the mail soon, and when she did, we would swap, and also report the error to the printer, thereby getting another order for free from them. And she agreed! It worked out well in the end. And so, yes, I have two tiny boxes of tiny business cards that I still am planning on someday giving away. Probably. Maybe in 6 more years.

I’ve been thinking about that statement a lot recently. “I think you’re beautiful.” Six years ago, I was infatuated with newness. With people. With places and all that they held. The world was magical to me. I wanted to see all of it. I wanted to tell everyone that they were a beautiful story. I wanted to write them all poems about the sky.

Right now, it is so hard to feel that way. Is it not? There seems to be so much more hatred and violence and sadness and fear and global warming. Our planet is dying, and we are dying, and our teeth are falling out.

I know it is all still there, everything I used to see. I am searching for it, still. I want to feel all of those things again, and just as deeply. It was a wonderful way to be.

There is goodness and beauty. There will be safety and logic. We will keep going, together. Please send cake next year.

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1. You must earn respect again and again. It is not a birthright. It doesn’t come from a title, even if you think it comes from a title, even if it seems to. You have to prove yourself, always, forever, until you die. And then maybe the respect or the disrespect people held for you will live on.

2. Everyone’s already finished the new season of Orange is the New Black. So, now that you’ve got some free time, you should binge watch Grace and Frankie!

3. I love so many people so much and it’s so wonderful.

4. “I can dig it.”

5. Hey guys, maybe we should be more concerned about the planet than like, kim kardashian, whoever that is? Just a thought.

6. Why are you not internet stalking me enough?!

7. Breaking News: White boys white girl dance, too! I’ve seen it! With my very own eyes! Now excuse me, I have to go flail my arms around to this music.

8. Go outside!

9. He has a selfie stick but I still like him. Which is impressive. Although, selfie sticks are becoming more acceptable generally. I think it all started in Asia and then maybe someone flew one over to the States and the rest is, um, selfie history! I could really talk about this forever. Shall I go on?! I won’t. #selfiesticks

10. I am not afraid of many things, but, expressway construction is terrifying. Please stop making me drive in pretend lanes you basically drew with sidewalk chalk and built solid concrete walls around! Thanks!

Speaking in front of large (or small) groups of people? Presentations? Oh god no.

I now present to you, my seven stages of presentation anxiety:

1. The excited, naive Jenni.

Oh, yay! This presentation topic sounds interesting. 

Oh, look – I can use that picture on my powerpoint slide! I’m sure the audience will think it’s as hilarious as I do!

What color scheme should I use? Blue? Red? Black and White?

This is going to be so great. They are going to love this! I am so funny. They are going to think I’m so funny!

2. The increasingly shaky Jenni.

Oh, god. My presentation is in an hour!

Are my hands shaking? My hands are shaking.

This sucks. I don’t want to do this. Can I get out of doing this, in any way possible? No. I have to do this. Crap.

Are my hands shaking? Yep, still shaking.

Ok, You’re going to do fine. Calm down. Calm down.

3. The inner peace Jenni.

Ok, deep breaths.

What does this online article say to do to relax?

Ok, deep breath in. Hold for 3 seconds. Exhale.

Yep, this is working. Calm down… It’s all gonna be OK.

Maybe this weird yoga pose in this bathroom stall will help. Ah, yes. Calm. I am calm.

4. The incredibly un-calm Jenni.

Oh, god. Oh, crap. No. Please, no. Why?!

My heart is beating so fast. Sheesh, why is my heart beating so fast? Am I getting a good cardio workout out of this?

My hands are shaking. I’m not even going to look at them. I’m going to pretend this is all perfectly normal body behavior. Yup.

Deep breaths? Is that a joke? Yeah right. Crap. Only 15 minutes until my presentation. 

5. The deathly calm Jenni. 

Calm. So Calm. Was I ever worried? I feel fine. 

My presentation is going to be fine. I know every word I’m going to say. I have my notes right here – they’ll be right in front of me while I’m talking.

So calm. Deadly calm. 

This will be fine. I’ve got this.

Calm.

6. The presenting Jenni.

Am I talking too loud? I don’t know how loud I’m talking.

Did I pause too long just then? Crap.

Am I going too fast? 

Did I just stare blankly into the audience? What does my face look like right now?

Am I turning red? I’m turning red, aren’t I? Crap. Every time, man.

7. The I-am-super-great-at-presenting Jenni.

I did so good. Look, they’re clapping for me. Yeah.

Did I talk too loud? I don’t know if I was talking too loud.

Ok, my face feels really warm. How red did it get up there, anyway?

Are my hands shaking? Yep, still shaking. But, it’s OK because I’m done!

Until next time…