I started taking anti-anxiety meds in August, just after we moved to Vegas. Right after I fell down the big black rabbit hole.
Not that anything was particularly wrong. I did that thing I always do, where I sail through life without thinking. Of course it would be fine to leave NYC. Sure, I’d miss my friends, but I’d stay in touch. I’d make new friends in Vegas. It’s a big adjustment, sure, but it’s a huge adventure.
Adventures are awesome.
The move was smooth. We lost a few clay flower pots and the air conditioning went in my jeep, but nearly everything else made it here just fine. We had a great time in Tokyo.We watched David’s show 100 times, and roamed the streets looking for fashion accessories and yakitori and sushi.
Plus, we love a hotel bed. We know how to do our thing in a beautiful, big hotel bed pretty much anywhere.
But then we got to our new house. The house I had seen before we bought it. The house I knew had great bones and tons of potential. The house I knew was deprived of love and caring for many years.
And I saw the paint on the walls, bleak and dirty and morose. And the furniture the tenants left behind, broken, over-used, battered, cheap. The blinds and walls and shelves caked with years of decay. We had cleaners come in before the move, but the poverty that was there – not financial poverty, but spiritual poverty – could not be wiped down or washed away.
It was everywhere.
I labeled everything “poverty.” Poverty blinds. Poverty cupboards. Poverty furniture. So much of everyone else’s sadness left behind. And I soaked it up like a sponge.
And it was hot here. Obviously. August, Las Vegas heat, and water bugs the size of small puppies lived in the trees, forced their way through cracks in our old house, and there was a mouse in my sink, and apparently secadas come out every year here, not just every 17 years, and then shed their shells, so profusely that hard little shells were stuck all over the outside of our house. The kids ran around collecting them and kept them in a tin can in their room, and kept shoving the can in my face, asking me if I was still afraid of them.
I developed this crazy obsession with water bugs. Intrusive thoughts. I expected to see them everywhere. I remember seeing one on the outside of the house next door and going to check on it every five minutes, thinking it would come to our house. When it wasn’t on the house anymore, I checked our house. Had it come inside here?
I woke up in the middle of the night and searched the walls for signs of roaches. I was afraid to walk in the grass, or in the street at night. I asked everyone about their water bugs. Did they have them? Does the exterminator get rid of them? I talked to the clerk at Walgreen’s about roaches. No one was immune.
Everything I thought about was somehow connected to water bugs. Intrusive thoughts, so many intrusive thoughts. I wouldn’t stand under the beautiful, viney tree in our front yard because I was sure a roach would fall on me and get entangled in the web of my hair.
Water bugs as a symbol for my anxiety, my own personal crazy.
I fell down the hole. I woke up grey. The stray thoughts sent me spiraling out of control. Would this hurt me? Would that hurt me? Were there water bugs here? Under the bed? On the walls? On me? There isn’t one on me, is there?
I fell far away.
I fell into myself.
David saw it immediately. He sent me to the show doctor. I asked for meds. I got them. I recovered. And we painted the morose walls, and threw out the poverty blinds and the poverty furniture. I even took an old wrought iron shelf from the yard and transformed it into a place for Lucy’s copious amounts of tiny little collectible objects.
Make everything our own.
Find ourselves here.
It’s becoming beautiful. I see us in it, more and more everyday.
I’m still on the meds. I’m still fighting intrusive thoughts, but not nearly as many. I’m starting to love life here. I’m feeling good. I love my morning walks. We are going to good restaurants, hosting a lot of dinner parties, hanging with new friends. I love the light, the way I can throw open the windows and let the breeze blow in. There are good people here.
I’ve learned to pronounce “Nevada” correctly. Nev-a-da, not Nev-ah-da. This is important, I’m told. When you know people from Nevada, you pronounce the name of their state correctly.
When you are from Nevada, you pronounce the name of your state correctly.
This is a good adventure, after all.
And its Fall, and cooler, so not so many water bugs and all the black widows seem to have disappeared. And Fall is 85 degrees here. That helps, too.