#77: The Audacity of Anxiety
A short story
Again she found herself spending the morning pacing around the house, checking text messages, and laundry.
She fell onto the couch and grabbed her laptop from the side table that she bought on Etsy, hand-built by a lovely local craftswoman.
I think I am finally onto something.
How to be a badass freelance writer and a superhuman.
The dryer started to buzz.
The washing machine and dryer are brilliant inventions of the modern era.
Modern era or 21st century? Not sure. Make note to research this.
The washer and dryer are true feminist inventions, saving women countless hours of washing and drying by hand. Right there along with the dishwasher.
She remembered the clean dishes.
Okay. Make a note to unload the dishwasher.
Here comes Teddy.
Teddy, you sweet little dog. No worries in the world, is that right? As long as you are fed and taken outside, you are the happiest creature. Oh, no, but you’re not so happy now, are you? We’re late for your walk. I also promised Susan that I would pick up her dog and take you two little doggies to the dog park, while Sue goes on a much-needed shopping trip. Her clothes really are starting to look raggedy.
Clothes, that’s right. I have clothes to take out of the dryer. The longer they stay in there the more wrinkled they will become.
Yikes. It’s almost three o’clock.
Super women are our feminist future.
How to do more and be more to thrive.
How to look good, be good, and do more at home and at work.
This right here is exactly the kind of freak out that people talked about in the writing support groups she was a part of. Spend too much time being a perfectionist and you work up anxiety.
Deep inside her subconscious, she knew that a cluttered mind does not produce good writing.
Last week was a disaster. She just couldn’t find the time to pick up her overdue dry cleaning – between all of her house chores, taking care of Teddy, writing, and making sure to spend time with her best friend for life, Jacky, who to her outrage was being flaky and kept canceling plans.
Reaching your goals is all about perseverance. She read that in A Thriving Life magazine. One woman submitted writing samples to two hundred publishers, receiving rejections from all of them, until finally she got a callback. Another gal traveled the country photographing beautiful sunsets, uploading them to Instagram every day hoping to go viral, when, finally, after two years, Business Insider, picked up her story and published an article that helped her gain 10,000 Twitter followers in one week.
Jacky kept telling her to stop seeking external validation.
“It’s all fake, hun. You’re just a cog in the machine. Just be yourself and loosen up. Good things will come. Trust me. For now – we have that networking event to get to.”
“No...I can’t. I need to finish my article. I don’t even have a title yet. And I have to walk Teddy. And pick up my laundry. I need to skip the event.”
“Don’t be silly, Jenna. It can all wait. Come on, I’ll be in the car.”
PolyVentures was one of the most prestigious venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. They both considered a job there, but were rejected in the final round. Jacky quickly realized that the firm was not for her, but Jenna kept trying. She reached out to all ten partners, emailing them compliments, and she even made a video resume showcasing her Swiss army knife of talents.
At the PolyVenture reception, inside of a swanky Silicon Valley office building, Jacky leans over a plate of giant shrimp, accidentally bumping it with her torso. The plate of shrimp flies across the room somersaulting through the air.
Shrimp and red cocktail sauce flings onto Jenna’s white blouse.
“Oh my gosh, Jenna, I am so sorry.”
Jenna’s face turns red and her entire body tense up like a rock. She just stood next to the buffet table, stunned.
“Let’s go to the bathroom and get you cleaned up.” Jacky said.
Jenna and Jacky dodge to the other side of the office to the women’s bathroom just in time for Jenna to start hyperventilating.
“Blood! I hate blood. Cannot stand blood. No Noo Noooo! I am dying.”
“Jenna..listen to me. It’s not blood. It’s cocktail sauce.”
“I can’t. I just can’t.”
Red cocktail sauce paints the white marble tile.
This story was inspired by George Saunders’ short story, The Mom of Bold Action.
Have a good weekend, friends. ❤️
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