I have the feeling that I am metaphorically holding my breath a lot these days. Last week felt like three months worth of emotion and stress packed into 7 tiny days. My Dad was in the hospital, my family and his girlfriend were all freaking out in various ways and somehow I found myself standing like an assertive hieroglyphic with my hands outstretched to either side trying to halt their emotional tidal waves from crashing all over me.
At the same time I was emailing our label to request information and materials we should have received years ago and letting them know of our disappointment over the lackluster promotion of our second album. Then, out of the black and white of newsprint, I found out my band was named Best Indie Band 2008 by the readers of the SF Bay Guardian. It was like I didn't have enough of a face to contain all the different emotions that seemed to be ping-ponging through my body.
Most workdays have ended with me stumbling home, exhausted and sore all over, plopping myself in front of the TV and gobbling hastily prepared meals or zoning out on Internet porn until I collapse into bed and read something comforting and familiar like Dykes To Watch Out For or Lynda Barry collections to unwind my racing mind so I can actually fall asleep. My dreams have been so vivid and jam-packed that I wake up confused as to what's actually happened and what was a flashing moment in my subconscious mind: super powers, people pretending to be Darth Vader, fantasy record shopping for suddenly released material from beloved long-defunct bands and disturbingly intense makeout sessions with someone I have zero sexual interest in all must mean something more significant in some form of analysis. But to me it's just my brain trying to dump some of its contents to prepare for the next day's worth of thoughts upon thoughts upon thoughts.
When I was a kid and my asthma was really bad and I couldn't get treatment for it I would be so embarrassed to wheeze out loud in front of my friends and classmates that I would hold my breath to keep from making a lot of noise. Not all of the time, mind you, but whenever I was in a quiet classroom or in the backseat of some friend's parent's car with no radio on or at the dinner table during grace. It was a really hard habit to break and became an unconscious response to stress, fear, anger or anxiety. These last couple weeks I've found myself having to consciously make myself exhale as I walk to work or make my dinner or sit at my desk at work or lay in bed waiting for sleep to wash over me. My father pops up in my mind seemingly every other minute and I just clench my stomach and stop breathing without meaning to. I can't write stories that are floating around in my head or consider things like going to school, which once seemed so enticing, or even really working hard to find a date without it all getting caught behind a mental image-dam of him sitting at home with an oxygen tank and a hose hooked into his nostrils. And I just keep reminding myself that it's okay to put things on hold while I sit through this horrible waiting for something I never want to happen.
See? This entry wasn't even going to be just about him and yet he's taken it over. But I don't think I could stop that if I wanted to. The irony of my last name being German for "without worry" has never been less lost on me.