Sunday, January 18, 2009

Subconscious Anxiety and Its Physical Manifestation*

Last week I emailed my landlord in Paris to tell her what time I was going to arrive and get her phone number so I could call her when I was almost to the apartment (she has to leave work and use her lunch break to let me into the apartment and get me my key, etc.).

After 5 days, I hadn't heard anything. I was slightly worried, but not to the point of it creating any nervous ticks or anything**. I had the numbers of two families in the area who said they would be willing to help me out with anything I needed upon my arrival in Paris. I figured if I was stranded without a place to live for a couple of days, that might be covered in the blanket offer to help.


Today before church as I was getting ready I noticed that my forehead was totally scrunched into a perma-worrywart wrinkle-fest. Wow. I hadn't even noticed my forehead was in a knot until I looked into the mirror.
During church I was just calmly minding my own business, listening to the speaker, or singing a hymn, when I realized my shoulders and next were so stiff I might as well be a marble statue of a Greek god (minus the awesome musculature... and stuff). My shoulders were hunched up to tight around my neck I probably looked like a turtle. :) I had to consciously take some deep breaths and focus on relaxing my body.

Less than an hour later I found myself clenching my jaw like there was no tomorrow, only noticing when I was actually in pain. I finally realized that I was FREAKING OUT on the inside but completely suppressing it so no one could tell. I must have been sunconsciously wondering what I was going to do with four suitcases and freezing temperatures if I couldn't get into my apartment and my "helper" families weren't answering their phones.

Of course, some of you might have already picked up on the fact that I'm freaking out a bit. My doomsday attitude ("Ummm... I think I have cancer," or "Okay, I don't have cancer, but I think my plane is going to crash.") might have tipped you off. I think part of me is terrified that after all this preparation and effort in making this dream a reality, something is going to go horribly wrong.

As it turns out, my landlord (who I heard from today) didn't respond earlier because she was out of town for 8 days helping with a family emergency.

So, all is well. But I still have a migraine (which I thought was from lack of sleep, but I'm sure my shoulder-hunching, jaw-clenching, worry-wrinkle-forehead subconscious wasn't helping). Good thing I haven't packed my economy-sized bottle of Excedrin*** yet.

*Doesn't this sound like a term paper for some kind of psychology major? I would totally volunteer myself for a study.
**Or so I thought.
***Excedrin is truly a wonder drug.

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