I have a hard time relaxing. Like even right now as I write this, I was actually trying to force myself to nap because I only slept three hours the night before, but instead my mind wandered and here I am, writing. Not napping at all.
I spent my entire day trying to do things that are relaxing. I had my nails done, I got my hair done and I walked into Sephora and ended up being bushwhacked into getting my make-up done. In the interim, I had three complete strangers tell me to relax.
“Relax your hands!” the manicurist shakes my arms and laughs, “I can’t do your nails if you aren’t relaxed.”
I was so taken aback by her request because, well, I thought I already was.
When I went to have my hair done, the woman washing my hair gently taps my neck, “It’s okay,” she says, “You can relax.”
On the way home, I stop at Sephora because I was out of eyeliner, a constant problem for me. I run out of eyeliner the way some people run out of milk. One of the bored make up artists notices me lingering just a moment too long and tricks me into letting her glam me up a bit. In the middle of trying to apply mascara she gently presses my shoulders down. “It’s okay,” she laughs, “You can relax.”
I wanted to shout, “I am relaxing!” I was relaxing as best I knew how but apparently, I don’t relax. I need to know what I’m doing wrong because I really thought what I was doing was relaxing but evidently relaxing to me just feels a lot like worrying.
This probably started early in life. I’ve never known my mother not to worry. I’ve never seen my father without a furrowed brow. Though, at a very young age my mother told me sternly not to wrinkle my forehead because that’s how you get lines. “I once saw it in a Doris Day movie,” she told me. Consequently, I have no idea how to even wiggle my eyebrows. I will, however, be the only worrier I know without worry lines.
One less thing for me to fret about.
I’m trying to force my shoulders below my ears as I write this but I’m getting so stressed out about being stressed out.
Oh, I should probably also mention I’m on a plane right now. A plane that’s two hours delayed from the original time it was supposed to take off. I’m scared of just about everything and I worry about things I shouldn’t but at least I don’t have a fear of flying. Or I didn’t until the guy next to me at the gate – a full-grown man mind you – started shouting that the plane wasn’t taking off because of “engine trouble”. Naturally my brain, which already has a penchant for worrying, wanted to desperately believe him on three hours of sleep.
Before we took off, I texted my friend Chris – whose job is basically a real life Flight Control game – to ask him if he knows what’s up with my flight and if it’s engine trouble. He explains that the guy at the gate is an idiot and that if there was any real trouble with the plane, they’d just cancel the flight or change planes. “Don’t worry,” he replies back. And so I try not to.
When napping on the plane doesn’t work for me, I decide to go back to my old stand-by, reading. I open my Sarah Vowell book, Take the Cannoli. I had read it before but years ago. It’s a set of essays, not chapters, so I figured it would be a good book for the plane.
I open it up to where I left off, a new essay starting on page thirty-five. I began to read in clear Garamond, “When the plane is going down, you suddenly feel the urge to hug that smelly, snoring person in the seat next to you. Because nothing brings people together like doom.”
My shoulders go back up and I close the book.
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