What Anxiety Means to Me


Can I confess to having a heaping share of anxiety lately? It comes and goes like LA traffic. Sometimes you’re cruising right along on the 405 and then suddenly, often for no fathomable reason, the cars all back up on each other and tension seems to rise palpably. Other times, you know traffic’s going to be a snarl and you just take a deep breath, grit your teeth and merge anyway. Seeing my credit card bills come due is like merging onto the 10 at rush hour. The anxiety hits, you know you can’t really avoid it and you just keep going.

So anxiety is both certain and unpredictable. I know it’s hanging around because of big life events going on. I’m not generally an anxious person. Worry, sure (I’m a mother). Obsessive, on occasion. And sometimes I can be a little perfectionistic. The anxiety is specific to this time and won’t last forever. In the meantime, I try to breathe, call girlfriends and my mom and listen to guided mindfulness meditations from an app called Headspace. The 10 minute bits on Headspace are led by Andy Puddicombe, one of the company’s founders. I feel a little bad for what I’m about to say since Andy is a fully ordained Tibetan Buddhist monk, but here goes.  Andy’s hot and he’s got a great voice.  Love the English accent. Let’s just say that I’m mindful of why I chose Headspace over other sites. But the meditations do help. I’m reminded of techniques I learned years ago that just sort of fell away.

I’m freelancing and it’s going pretty well.  New opportunities are turning up all the time, but this is still unfamiliar for me. Working full time, being single, co-parenting and having the financial responsibility in this way are all new to me. I get scared. I feel strong. I want to feel sorry for myself sometimes. I get angry, sad, hurt, happy. I feel terribly competent and then terribly anxious.

Anxiety = Fear. Fear is primal which means you can’t reason with it. You just have to recognize the bastard and keep going anyway. It also helps to listen to Patti Smith really loud in the car with the windows open when you’re on the freeway with traffic good or bad.  Singing helps because it forces you to breathe regularly. The right song will let you enter someone else’s heartache and leave yours behind for about three minutes. I like Patti Smith for these moments because she may have been afraid to get up and sing, but you’d never know by the raw growl and power of her voice. She’s bad ass. Since it’s looking like I won’t be a rock star, I’ll shoot for bad ass.

How do you handle anxiety? I’d love to hear your ideas, experiences and tips.  Please share!

photo credit: 27147 via photopin cc

What’s Louder Than Love?

Louder Than Love posterThis isn’t some poetic trick question, although play with the idea if you are so inspired.  Louder Than Love is a documentary film that will be shown as part of the Traverse City Film Festival next week.  I’m interviewing Tony D’Annunzio–the guy who made the film–tomorrow.

Louder Than Love tells the story of Detroit’s Grande Ballroom and the truly bad ass music scene than was shaking out in the late 60’s, early 70’s.  Other places were about peace and love, but Detroit was fueled by something different, more raw, more fierce, more…bad ass.  I’ll learn more from Tony tomorrow and post the interview next week.

MC5 was one of the bands that always played the Grande.   MC5 Guitarist Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith was married to Patti Smith until his death in 1994.  So working on this piece keeps my Patti Smith fixation in place.  Here’s MC5 Kick Out the Jams:

Patti Smith and My Hair

Channeling Patti Smith

I wasn’t going for a Patti Smith cut when I took scissors to my hair tonight, but I did channel her at least a little.

Today was rough.  A lot has been rough lately, but more on that for another post.  I had a couple of hours alone at home tonight and I decided to dye my hair.  To cover up the grey.  It felt so good to take charge that I decided to cut my hair too.  I took 4 inches off the bottom.  I just grabbed it and chopped it.  And then chopped it a little more and imagined that I’d got it evened out.  Then I did a little layering and finished up by ever so lightly trimming the bangs. I kept thinking about Patti Smith.  She cut her own hair.  And she’s a bad ass.

Voila!  No more grey.  No more blues.  Time for some red and I sang along with The Shins as I added fullness and body to my formerly lifeless locks.  When I picked Amalia up from the gym, I threw on my leather jacket (that Izzy finally brought home from school) along with my new favorite watermelon pink sneakers and even a little red lipstick to make things more festive.  I do know how to dress for the rhythmic moms on a Friday night.

Everyone liked my haircut, but I could tell one mom just couldn’t believe that I would actually cut my own hair and not spend 3 hours in the salon.  We’ll see how the color holds up.  We’ll see if the cut has any shape tomorrow.  My beauty-shop-for-one might lose it’s luster, but Patti Smith won’t.  Look at this photo…

Patti Smith

Photo courtesy of @Wildaboutmusic