AN: Here goes nothing. SM owns twilight, I'm just borrowing her characters for a little bit, My Chance is all mine though.
I had been called many things in my 13 years. Smart, quiet, shy, innocent, but never once had I been referred to as extraordinary.
I am the epitome of common. A child of divorce, a solid A/B student, average height with little about myself that screamed supermodel beauty. But I was okay with it.
I much preferred to sit on the edges of the gym at a school dance, to watch silently, simply observing. I was never one to get into the trends that seemed to be getting stranger and stupider. I often felt that maybe I belonged in a different time, but seeing as that was impossible I figured my easiest escape was through classic pieces of literature.
Through the words of Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and the like, I discovered a world of chivalry, a world of ordinary girls with extraordinary loves.
Reaching over class lines, looking through faults and not just accepting imperfections but embracing them. I fell in love. The worlds painted by these romanticism authors were places I simply dreamed. Realizing that I would never know them.
By 13 knew three things for certain.
1) I had anxiety. My anxiety had a habit of overpowering my thoughts at the time and though my mother and I had tried everything, nothing truly helped.
2) My mother would never be able to stick with one hobby, from knitting to scuba diving (which was great for the scenery but horrible for Renee's lily white skin) to her current hobby of holistic medicine, it would never truly be something that we both enjoyed.
Not as long as I was focusing on the current predicament as well as trying to make sure the bills were paid on time…
3) The kind of love I wanted, was one I had a slim chance of ever experiencing.
It was a Thursday night in the beginning of June when Renee had her current boyfriend, Steven, over for dinner.
I'd been sitting at the kitchen table filling out forms in preparation for my transition into high school the following year. I could feel her anxiety beginning to creep up at the uncertainty of fitting in and the new (much larger) school. There was a tightening in my gut as well as a rush of thoughts.
What if I don't have friends? What if I manage to make friends and the ones that I find are great and then they realize I'm broken and they leave? What if I get made fun of? These kinds of thoughts haunted me.
Not to forget that I would have to know how to get around a new campus.
One with huge hallways. Packed with people. One with three flights of stairs.
Those three flights would not only provide ample opportunity to fall and tumble to the floors below (something I had decided, depending on my level of embarrassment/how overwhelmed I felt, might not be a bad thing.)
Involuntarily, my eyes began to dart around the room. I could feel my chest constricting. My hand involuntarily clenched into a fist, the pen I was holding now being held hostage in a tight grip with no hope for escape.
I knew what was happening. I didn't necessarily understand my anxiety but I knew the signs of a panic attack and knew what I had to do to get myself to calm down. Now if I could just get my heart to settle down, I would be okay. Renee and Steven entered the kitchen in time for me to start trying to get my breathing under control, perfect.
Feeling that I had little choice, I raised my arms up and clasped my hands behind my head. This was the only way I could feel myself truly be able to take a breath.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. And then another. And another. In my mind I was listing things I knew for certain that I could feel.
The floor beneath my sock clad feet,
My hair and the messy ponytail it was in.
My favorite shirt, a distressed and vintage Rolling Stones tee, that once belonged to Charlie, my dad, resting on my shoulders.
Suddenly, I could also feel my mother rubbing soothing circles on my back in an attempt to calm me down.
I was almost there. I knew I needed to continue the grounding exercise I had been doing. Not taking any time in between the feeling and the realization that I could once again breathe I continued.
Now going through the things I could see, hear, taste and smell.
I turned to my mother who was seated next to me with a look of vivid worry evident in her hazel eyes. But there was something else. Something that resembled the look Renee got when we were at the grocery store and she couldn't decide between Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia or Rocky Road. Indecision? I couldn't tell what I was seeing? Glancing at Steven who stood nearer the entrance to the kitchen I think I saw concern again but his look was almost overpowered by one of childlike curiosity. A look I could only compare to when my little cousin got his new magnifying glass out after finding a new ant pile. Almost malicious but not quite. That being said, my little cousins were freaks. Both mom and I had conveniently come down with strep throat, bronchitis and something they were almost positive resembled swine flu whenever Renee's family called about a get-together or reunion. Much easier to stay home than hanging around the crazies that came from the Higginbotham family tree.
"Honey, are you alright? Was it a bad one? Do you need anything?" mom asked
"Mom, I'm okay now, I promise. I was just slightly overwhelmed for a second. I got it under control. I'm kind of a pro now." I sighed. Turning to Steven i made an effort to mutter an embarrassed apology.
While my anxiety isn't necessarily a weakness, I knew it was a disorder, and given the chance I would get rid of it in a heartbeat. But more than anything I knew that I was a functioning and capable girl(at least most of the time), and I didn't need or want anyone's pity.
One last hesitance filled glance at me and Renee moved back to Steven and they stepped back into the living room, speaking in hushed tones. I straightened my forms, careful not to think about my future too much, and quickly put them back inside their manilla folder. I quickly moved the folder back into my backpack just as the doorbell rang.
Pulling plates and napkins from the kitchen I moved back into the dining room in time to see Steven setting 2 boxes of pizza on the table.
Steven was an alright guy. He was one of Renee's boyfriends and had been around for awhile so I knew him well. He was around Renee's age, slightly older with a look of intelligence about him. His rimless glasses and dark eyes made him look both harmless and dangerous in the same instant. I attributed it to the lack of warmth behind his muddy irises. Renee attributed to his "complete and total bad boy sexy factor that she just COULD NOT get enough of." I gagged just thinking about Renee's wine induced ramblings de la Steven.
He worked in the pharmaceutical industry. I didn't know his job title, but I knew there were tons of words in it and they all roughly translated into layman's terms meant research and development of medicine. Steven had been trying to convince Renee to enroll me into an anxiety study basically since he came over and witnessed one of my I was ambivalent, and to be honest probably leaning towards trying it out, Renee was against it every time. The risks always too high. Her baby was strong. She knew how to talk herself down and did it every time. She didn't need a study.
But as time went on Steven wore on my mom. He had been on a team that had been trying to put together a new drug that was specifically meant to help sufferers of anxiety and curb off attacks. Renee still said no but with less fire. She'd watched me miss out on things like a date to the girls choice dance, sports (though Renee could also attribute that to my inability to walk across a flat surface without falling and bruising, spraining, or breaking something.) and other things that involved anything that may trigger an attack. I was strong, yes, but, much to everyone's chagrin I was also stubborn, independent, and fearful whether I cared to admit it or not.
I would never place myself in a situation where I would have to do something that might cause an attack, especially around people I didn't know well. Therefore I sought solace in the back corner of the art room at school, the library with a book or in my home.
Renee, Steven, and I sat down and ate our pizza laughing and conversing about anything and everything.
One thing I liked about Steven was his ability to completely move on. He never questioned my attack, at least not to my face and could now move on to discussing random things like the new musical coming to the Herberger Theatre Center or baseball and my blind loyalty to the Seattle Mariners. My own silent connection to my father, in an attempt to make sure our weekly phone calls weren't filled with mundane information or silence, I made sure that I was always up to date with the latest on my father's favorite, and COMPLETELY coincidentally my favorite, baseball team.
I went to bed that night feeling comfortable in my life. Nothing extraordinary, but I was content with being content. Comfortable was good as far as I am concerned.
When I got up the next morning for school I dressed in my usual t-shirt, jeans, and dirty converse, and left without knowing that my last day of 8th grade would be one of the hardest I had ever faced.
AN: I am reposting this because I tried to write it one way and tbh it didn't work well for me. Either way I swear it's going to get good interesting. I am writing a book and I know you're supposed to write write WRITE in order to build skill and such so this is me doing that. I would request you go easy on me except I'd prefer you say what you want to say. I can take it. Thanks. Y'all are the best.
P.S. Grounding is an actual exercise to help with anxiety attacks! Take note of the place you're in if you feel one coming on.
5 things you can see,
4 things you can feel,
3 things you can hear,
2 things you can smell,
and 1 thing you can taste.
I'm not a doctor but this has worked for me in the past!