Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello, Anxiety: “Two Definitions, not Wun”

This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.

Here are two definitions of ANXIETY. First, from Oxford Languages:

Well, Oxford Languages summed it up pretty well: “Worry, Unease, Nervousness,” otherwise known as WUN. (Truth in blogging: I just made up that acronym.)

Unnecessary sidebar: Did you know that “wun” is an actual word?! At least according to the unrivaled urbandictionary.com.

Uh oh, “Walking with the occasional burst of running for a few seconds, or minutes at best,” not to mention “let’s hope I survive” both sound eerily, anxiously familiar.

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A “hypothetical“ convo between Anxiety, Developing Truth and Me:

Me: “Anxiety ain’t gonna wun over me. I’m gonna wun from it.”

Anxiety: “We’ll see.”

Developing Truth: “Neal, it’s not about being adversarial, combative or managerial with Anxiety.”

Anxiety: “Again, we will see.”

Developing Truth: “Breathe and try again, Neal.”

Me: “Okay. I ain’t gonna wun from it. At least I’m gonna try not to.”

Developing Truth: “That’s enough for now.”

Anxiety: “We. Will. See.”

************

The second definition of Anxiety is from “my sister,” Anxiety Girl:

Whew, that’s enough defining for wun day.

Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello, Anxiety: “Introduction”

Spanning the past year or two, a Perfect Storm of sorts has swirled around my life, mind and body, making direct hits from time to time. The storm was/is created by the following major factors (among others):

* The pandemic’s upheaval of “normal” life as I/we knew it. Causing, at the very least, worry and unease. Affecting everything from family dynamics to personal health concerns.

* The deaths of my dad and brother, as well as husband Robert’s father, stepmother and grandmother, all within the last couple of years.

* The angry and dangerously hateful climate of divisiveness within our communities, states, country and political systems. And the constant, sometimes difficult-to-ignore media coverage.

* Realizing and coming to terms with my life as an older married-to-a-guy (!) gay man, closely connected to my two daughters and their families, as well as my loving ex-wife.

* Being married to a wonderful black man and taking a serious and difficult (often very painful) look at issues of racism and social injustices in our nation and world.

* Even the seemingly silly fact that I’m getting older (I’ll reach the milestone of 70 next January!) and dealing with aging issues, which can seem both unfriendly and foreign.

So a few months back, I came to realize I needed some help. (Duh.) After reading Lori Gottlieb‘s encouraging and often hilarious Maybe You Should Talk to Someone (for the second time), I started looking for a therapist.

It took me a while to narrow the offerings down. Have you ever googled “Therapist near me”?! After all, I stand in the produce aisle, taking forever to decide on the “best” tomatoes, based on color, size, texture, aroma and how-do-they-compare-to-my-childhood-memories-of-homegrown?

What was I looking for? I guess this …

… even though at that point, I had not thought about or considered the word “anxiety” itself. I was experiencing it but not naming it.

I finally found him, and it only took a few sessions for him to gently say one day, “Neal, I think it’s pretty clear that you have generalized anxiety disorder.”

I was a tiny bit insulted. I think what I desired to hear was somewhere along the lines of, “Oh my goodness, Neal, you are a terrifically well adjusted man. Now go and BE that. You can do it. You ARE it!”

When I could breathe easier, I realized he was right.

This new blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to be able to say “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the Perfect Storm. I invite you to join me.

But I’ll supply the tomatoes.

Posted in The View from Behind

The View from Behind: Introduction

For some reason, I have always appreciated, even revered, “the view from behind.”

As a child, on the first day of each new school year, I was a nervous wreck waiting for the teacher to announce our seating arrangement. Front of the class? 😢 Too much exposure! Too revealing! Too out there! Far too much responsibility to “be.”

A nice, comfy seat toward the back? 😁 Perfect. I get to observe, to “see.” To calmly breathe.

Note to self: ASAP, schedule at least three long therapy sessions to discuss the three short paragraphs above.

But for now, allow me to introduce my newest NealEnJoy blog category: “The View from Behind,” where I invite you to join me somewhere in the back.

Little gator and me, Okefenokee Swamp Park, Waycross, Georgia

Always hold an “alligator” (or any challenging life … critter) in front of you, and if you can, kindly but temporarily tape its mouth closed.

Posted in The Artful Dodger, Unexpected Art

“The Artful Dodger” #1

A new blog category about finding “art” in unexpected places and situations.

After drying my hands, I carelessly tossed the hand towel toward the bar on the outside door of our new glass shower (fully expecting it to fall to the floor as usual—the towel, not the door).

But lo and behold, I instantly became a renowned artist! InstaArt. Putting me in the same league with, say, Jackson Pollock and his brilliant “drip technique” of throwing/pouring paint onto his canvases.

See my artistic intelligence? No?! Just look! My masterpiece (well, master towel) seems “bathed” in soft light, accentuating the “clean” lines of the work. Dramatically crowned in portrait mode by the green loofah.

Enjoy!

{Holiday prints now available for a limited time only for $19.99 plus shipping and handling! 🎄}

Posted in Throwback Thursday, Post from the Past

Neal’s Post from the Past: “Sometimes I Get What I Deserve”

Here’s an old post from way back in 2014 (when I was still late middle-age).

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So today I ate lunch at Savannah’s hip Green Truck Neighborhood Pub on Habersham Street.

Here’s how the story went down.

As some of you know, I no longer bring meat into the house–it’s all vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds there.  But I occasionally indulge while eating out.  And for some some reason, today I had an all-too-powerful-to-ignore-or-resist hankering for a hunk of grilled meat.  So I pulled up to the Green Truck, belly-ed up to the bar to avoid the table wait and ordered the  Green Truck Classic Burger, described in their menu as “plain and simple as an old truck: lettuce, tomato, onion and our soon-to-be-famous house-made pickle.”  (I added cheddar.)

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Yum.  No, double yum!

I kept furtively looking around to see if any of my vegetarian friends might have followed me inside.  I was nervously poised to slam my meaty plate in front of one of the folks on either side of me at the bar.

Anyway, I savored every moment, every bite.  (Do Not Tell Anyone About This!  It’s Just Between You And Me.)

Well, when I finished, (and be forewarned, the rest of the story is probably TMI, so stop right now, if you like, and you will still have my burger story), I went to the non-gender-specific bathroom–I’m so 2014– before waddling back to the car.

There was the coolest retro sink inside.

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And the typical cabinet.

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But for some reason I glanced at the cabinet again …

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… and thought, “I wonder what’s in that little cabinet?  And if the contents are also non-gender-specific?”

(P.S. When inviting me to birthday or Avon parties, put some of those plastic child resistant lock things on your cabinets.  I’ve never been able to figure them out.)

So, of course I reached up and opened the cabinet door.  Wouldn’t you?  No?!  (I also opened a door in a huge hallway in the Biltmore House in Asheville some years back, and a piercing alarm went off, terribly embarrassing my family and friends.  Me?  When things like that happen, I just try to go to my Happy Place inside and block out externals.  There might have been an “Alarm Will Sound” notice on the door, I can’t remember, but really, how often would the Biltmores have changed the batteries?)

Lo and behold, an alarm of sorts also went off when I opened the cabinet door inside the Green Truck’s non-gender-specific bathroom.  Here’s what was scrawled on the inside of the door:

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I walked out of the bathroom beet red.

(P.S. II:  I was so taken aback by the message that I completely forgot to see what was inside the cabinet.  If someone wouldn’t mind, would you rush over to the Green Truck, pretend to have to use the bathroom, and snap a pic or two of the inside of that cabinet so I can go to sleep tonight?  Thank you.)