I'm headed down to Kansas City today for a few meetings for work. It's been a while since I've been south of Omaha, so I'm excited to get back there today. Kansas City is a seriously cool town. Have you ever been? It's kind of a hidden hipster gem - and I don't mean that in a snarky way, despite the general overuse of the word hipster. There's a ton of great restaurants, cool night life, a city-atmosphere that still feels home-y and approachable...and it's south of Iowa AKA 20 degrees warmer. Sold you there, huh? I love the travel that comes with my job, but any thing that takes me away from home + my routine is a challenge because I have hiiiiiiiigh anxiety. I was talking about it with my mom the other day because she was telling me something about my sister (who has hiiiiiiiiiiigher anxiety) and she was really surprised when I started talking about my anxiety. Apparently I hide it well, AKA am basically Jennifer Lawrence Oscar-worthy for my acting abilities, NBD.
When it comes to traveling for work, I prefer doing it alone so my poor coworkers don't have to suffer through my personality disorder. Unfortunately for my coworkers that rarely happens (I AM SO SORRY), so I have to try and hide the crazy. It's not easy. One of the biggest stressors during road trips is the fact that my bladder is quite petite and sensitive to any and all liquids, and I need copious amounts of coffee and water to function like a normal human. Suddenly a nice trip down to KC for work is my equivalent of Sophie's Choice: does she choose water? coffee? neither to avoid an embarrassing accident? both and take the chance? WHAT WILL IT BE!?
Luckily for me, there is a God and he put a McDonald's in Missouri Valley.
There's sort of an unwritten rule in my office that on the way to KC, you stop about an hour down the road in Missouri Valley for a bathroom break, coffee, and Egg McMuffin. Just file that under reason #78763287 why I love my job.
Of course the anxiety doesn't stop there, and God knows it doesn't just stop at work travel, so I've made you a list:
Things That Give Me Anxiety
- Having to go to the bathroom away from home. It's possible that in a former life I had some sort of issue with public restrooms, but I am completely beyond that at this point. Give me a bathroom, any bathroom, and I'll use it; but all too often there IS NO BATHROOM and I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. I cannot tell you how many times I've been shopping and the urination urge has come upon me and the store DOES NOT HAVE A PUBLIC RESTROOM. WUT. I don't understand how that is even legal to be honest, but apparently it is and I just have to say Thank God For Starbucks. I feel like I need to mention that my kryptonite are Target and Barnes and Noble. I don't know if I have some sort of overactive bladder induced by the excitement of new books and $10 sunglasses, but give me 5 minutes in either one of those stores and guaranteed I have to use the toilet. Luckily neither Target or B&N is a third world country as far as the restroom situation so it could be worse.
- Not having a water bottle. If you've seen me in the past 5 years chances are I've had a water bottle in hand. If you don't recall a water bottle, I probably had a giant bag on my shoulder and was smuggling at least one, if not six, bottles of water. When I was in New York in February, I high tailed it to a Duane Reade immediately after landing and purchased a giant bottle of water that looked more like a small rocket and it basically was how I survived the week. Hydration is important.
- Not knowing when my next meal is. Remember that giant bag I carry? At any given time it also contains at least one individual serving of peanut butter, a granola bar, almonds, a banana, and pretzels. I must eat every 3 hours or my blood sugar crashes (maybe? it's what I tell people so...) so if we're traveling or a schedule is crazy for some reason and there won't be time for lunch, I have enough food to feed everyone. You're welcome.
- Being late. This one is especially is ironic because I will be late for my own funeral, but even my own bad habits cause me severe anxiety. We're talking stomach knots for days. I would change this if I could, but it's not my fault!! I read this article once that detailed how people who are always late actually have a sort of mental disability and are kind of programmed to be late by nature. Two groups of people were instructed to read a book and stop reading when they thought a minute had passed. The group that was always late went way over one minute; the group that was always early stopped way before. It also talked about how late people tend to remember THAT ONE TIME they got ready for work in 20 minutes, or drove to the airport in 30 minutes when it actually takes 45, so they subconsciously think they can always do that. I read the article like THIS IS ME. THIS IS MY LIFE. I tell you this so you can stop being irritated with my tardiness (MOM and also DAD) because I have a mental problem. Rude.
- Making phone calls. Scheduling an oil change can send me into a fit of hysterics.
- Sending text messages to people and not hearing back within 1 minute. Obviously they're picking over the text with a fine tooth comb and judging me and oh God I have no friends and why did I even send that text I'M SO STUPID.
- Going to new restaurants. I will ask where you want to go for lunch at least one day in advance and I will spend the entire morning looking over the menu to decide what I want to order. If they do not have an online menu, I will read each and every Yelp review in search of a common theme and then order whatever people recommend. If they don't have an online menu or a Yelp page then why the hell are we eating there anyway?
- Opening gifts in front of people. Nope.
- Movies with absolutely any stressful theme at all. Basically if Liam Neeson is in it, I will end up with a stress-induced headache for the rest of the day. I much prefer movies the second time when I know what to expect.
Of course, there are things that cause normal people stress that do not stress me out at all:
Things That Do Not Give Me Anxiety But Should
- Public speaking. I've really never had an issue with this. Granted, I will over prepare like you can't believe, but when it comes time to do the speechin', I'm fine. I've done a couple live news interviews in the past and I looooved it, and one time in college I had an entire debate with someone over a reading assignment I didn't actually read, just by picking up context clues during the first 10 minutes of class. Queen of the Bullshit, at your service.
- Crisis situations. Want to know a secret? I love crisis situations. Isn't that a terrible thing to say? It's like, I love train wrecks or, I love car accidents. But I thrive under pressure, as long as you're not asking me where I want to go for dinner, in which case I will be over here in the corner, curled in the fetal position and rocking back and forth.
- Flying. I've come to terms with the fact that if I'm going to die in a plane crash, I'm going to die in a plane crash and there isn't much I can do about it. I'll probably feel differently when the plane is going down in flames, but it isn't something I lose sleep over.
- Meeting new people. I LOVE MAKING FRIENDS. Which is really too bad for me because I am obviously a psychopath with an anxiety disorder and kind of feel bad for anyone who has to deal with me.
Do you share any of my anxieties? Do you carry individual servings of peanut butter in your purse to avoid starvation? No? Just me then? Okay.