Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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God, I Really Wish I Believed In God

I can only go for so long and then the same old anxieties come creeping back. Sometimes I last for months and months, keeping everything in check, feeling like I'm in control. But the anxieties are creepy crawly, like spiders. They scrabble up my body as I try to slap them away, but they keep coming.

Am I spending too much money, am I drinking too much, am I a good mom, do I let Violet watch too much TV, I don't brush her teeth enough, what if I get a toothache with no health insurance, is this mole changing color, I really need to start a college savings account, DOES THIS MOLE LOOK WEIRD TO YOU, what happens when we die...

Sweet lord.

Henry is starting to lunge and roll across the room now. Crawling isn't really involved. Not yet. He gets up on all fours, rocks back and forth as if readying himself for the big event and then LUNGE. There he goes. Supermanning forward, landing and then executing a sort of army crawl/roll type thing. If you watching him for five or ten minutes your mind will be blown. This little nugget that was, like, a FETUS 6 month ago is now looking at shit, sizing stuff up, contemplating distances and then flinging his arm, using its weight to help him roll over and over until he eventually crash lands into his destination.

This maneuvering pleases me. It also saddens me. I celebrate his hard fought independence, but he also needs me just a little bit less now.

Seriously, does this mole look like it's changing color?

Violet is talking in full sentences now.

"Um, Mom? Where is my blankie?"

"Look Mom! A horse! A horse! A horse! A horse! A horse!" She'll keep saying this until you acknowledge the horse. "Yes, Violet, it's a horse. Good eye!"

She loves this. The 'good eye' bit. "There's a cow! Good eye, Wylet", she'll shout. "An aipwane an aipwane! Right dare in da sky! Good eye, Wylet!"

I want to bottle up her essence and open it on special occasions. Smell her, see her, hear her sweet voice whenever I take a notion. I'll be old, lying in the foyer of a retirement home somewhere, yammering to strangers visiting their loved ones about how when I was a youngster we didn't have holograms or flying cars or anything and then some aide will pass by, wrinkle her nose in distaste and drag me back to my room to change my diaper. After she leaves I'll use my walker - that will have tennis balls attached to the front prongs. Cars may fly but we'll still be using tennis balls to make walkers more mobile - to limp over to the closet. I'll reach up on a top shelf somewhere and pull down the bottle containing Violet's essence. I'll open it, take a deep breath of my baby girl and all will be right with the world, even if it isn't.

The other day I said this sentence to Serge without realizing the irony: God, I really wish I believed in God.

I had a very quiet anxiety attack last night. I tried to sleep for hours. Couldn't do it. My mind was spinning too fast, wouldn't land anywhere specific. I experienced the familiar feeling of hands slowly tightening around my windpipe until I lose my breath. Not to mention Serge had the AC cranked so damn high I needed an extra quilt. In August. But yeah, my mind kept wondering weird shit and it would pick and pick and pick, pick, pick until I gave in. I'd go downstairs to my office where I keep my laptop and look up the information my mind required to quiet the storm. Below are just a few of the things my mind made me Google last night:

Whatever happened to Julie from the very first season of The Real World. You know, the one in New York?

What was the other book written my that author, Jonathan Lethem, that I like? Not The Fortress of Solitude but the other book?

After they jumped from the twin towers on 9/11, how long did it take people to reach the ground?

I wonder what happened to Joe Bonham, my friend from elementary school? I can't find him anywhere. What if he died and I didn't know it and I've been living my entire adult life not knowing that Joe is dead? This would be devastating.

I should Google image cancerous moles. Because this mole looks weird and I probably have cancer.

Reader Comments (15)

Deep Breaths lady...i dont know if this will help you but it helps me when i "get like that"...There are MILLIONS and MILLIONS and MILLIONS of people in this world...and somewhere there was someone or several people doing the exact same thing you were doing. Really...they were Goggling Julie from the Real World too and wondering about that book and their moles... You are just a little link in the HUGE chain of life...sweet, wonderful, hilarious, great momma...Monica :)

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Well? What IS Julie up to these days? I'm too lazy to google right now. Pathetic, I know. But the toddler is off to 'Camp Grandma' for 10 days, and my husband is on a business trip for another 2 so I'm trying to exert as little energy as possible!!!

Oh, and also, right there with you with the anxiety/panic. And I only have the ONE. And the lack of faith, but my husbands a church-going fella, and honestly? He still tosses and turns at night too. So I dunno if we're missing too awful much!

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYotko

I think we all have those nights. I pop a Calms Forte herbal remedy and enjoy the placebo like effect it gives me 10 seconds after ingestion. And how nice (or horrible) that I just pick up my iPhone from the nightstand to google random shit at 1 AM. Like, what happened to that fat, blonde baby that played Jerry on Roseanne?
It will pass. Just hang on.

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCristin

That baby was actually Roseanne's son! From her third husband. His name is Buck and he's, like, seventeen now! Leave it to me to know all about Roseanne...

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTheGirlWho

Well, this may or may not make you feel better, but I do believe in God and yet I have all these same anxieties all the time. So I don't know how much it helps.

Especially the cancerous moles thing. (Don't google it. Googling health issues never ends well.) I have actually had to cover up moles with band-aids because I would get so worked up over imaginary changes in them. And I think I may have just revealed too much...

Also, my seven month old daughter is crawling and it makes me sad. I haven't started her on solids yet because she needs to stay a baby a little longer (plus she seems uninterested).

Love the image of the walker with tennis balls on the feet, though.

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Anxiety is such a bitch, she just doesn't know when to take a back seat, relax and shut the hell up.

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThat Uncomfortable Itch

I'm not sure how to word this..... hmmm..... I respect that you worked through (and past) your Mormon upbringing. Because that is not truth, does that mean that there is no truth? I would say that there is a real, true God. He created the world. He loves you. He sent his Son to pay the price for your sins and give you peace during your short time here on earth, and give you eternal life with Him after you die. I totally get it that once you realized you didn't believe all (some?) of the things you were taught growing up in the Mormon faith that it caused you to... lose faith. ? But anyway, I just wanted to whisper it out there that you can believe Mormonism to be untrue and still belive in the one, true God. I do.
Love to read your writing, btw. You are a gifted writer and a loving mama. It's a cool combination!

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrooklyn

Some do find solace in God, She helps them through... When I feel my throat beginning to tighten (I've have physically ~choked~ from anxiety) I attempt to remember: Every Thing is All Right.

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I hear you. I hear you. I hear you.
I spend each and every day waiting for the other shoe to drop. Seriously.
My kids are healthy. I have a great job. My husband loves me unconditionally.
My answer to the anxiety is to go to the dr. to have her remind me that I'm not going to stroke out. She gives me samples of Ambien that I never take. I just like having it there.

You are a woman and a mom. You will keep putting one foot in front of the other. What other choice do we have?

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentershannon B.

I know.. this really hit home for me. I've just got the one boy. He's about the same age as violet and I feel like I can't have a moment go by with him that I don't think about how precious and short this time is. He is such a doll right now and sometimes growing up just seems tragic. And the anxiety. I've got that too.

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

That bit about the essence of Violet is the most beautiful and touching thing I've read all day. Damn, it's so hot in here that even my eyeballs are sweating.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterevanderz

you got this, woman. one day after the next. we're rooting for you.

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah B

I swear I've had all of those freak outs recently as well. omg. The health insurance, I hate it. I hate that I have to worry about it. Why can't anything be easy? Ever?

August 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

i have this saying, in fact, i am using it today as I am feeling kind of down. Okay here it is:" It's not alright now, but it will be," That's all, just acknowledging your feelings and comforting yourself that circumstances will change.Redirection and stirring in some Hope and faith that our current thoughts and their subsequent feelings don't tell always tell the truth and can be rather self defeating. Dammit.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

Yes. You summed up everything I haven't been able to articulate. Thank you.
I thought I was the only one googling complete randomness in the middle of the night.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKerry

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