Have you ever heard of The Lominger Competencies? Many of the best companies use these attributes as a reference to one’s own success. Competencies can range from anything like time management to composure. Or presentation and written communication skills to problem solving. From peer relationships to, well, you should look them up. They’re extremely useful.
But I’m not here to talk about all 67 Lominger competencies. I’m here to talk about just one–Dealing with Ambiguity.
I feel as though ambiguity comes easily to the masses. That “go with the flow” mentality and willingness to open your mind in the moment of most situations is a true gift; a fact I wish I had. But I don’t. And it’s not that I don’t want to deal with ambiguity. Sometimes I do actually. And it usually works out. But right now in my life, I can’t control the ambiguity being thrown at me.
That’s because I deal with anxiety.
At this time last year, if I were to write a post about anxiety, I would have brushed it off because “everyone has it.” And I’m right. (I usually am.). It’s true! I believe anxiety is as large a scale as bisexuality–we all have the nature to love anyone and everyone, but we usually can’t control who we fall in love with. In regards to anxiety, some of us can handle more stress and pressure laid on our shoulders at any given time. But then there’s those of us who can’t.
(And now for a preview of my upcoming novel, “On Mondays We Play Bridge!”)
Think of anxiety like baggage. Everyone has baggage.
Some of us travel light. Not because they know how, but because they can. Some people can fit everything that bothers them in a small carryon, and not even have an extra purse or backpack to put under the seat in front of them. They can go away for a few weeks or simply a long weekend, but they still only need one piece of baggage. It’s not fair that some of us can travel so easily, but it is what it is.
The rest of us need at least a suitcase for our baggage. That extra weight from our childhood requires us to wear extra layers from time to time, even when it’s gorgeous outside. Most of us can’t fit our past in an overhead bin nor tucked away neatly under our seats without the back straps tripping someone else as they walk by. I always say that extra baggage happens to the best of us, so if that’s you then congrats—you’re one of the best of us.
The best of us take advantage of our one large suitcase when we travel through this airport called LIF International. The airlines, of course, have begun to charge us extra if our baggage is too big or too heavy. And we’re forced to remove any liquids more than 3 ounces, and God forbid we bring food on the plane not purchased within the airport itself. Oh, and don’t forget to take your shoes off! And all your tech has to be taken out of your carryons and checked for porn and you want to put it in your suitcase but you know it’s just gonna be stolen so you make it work.
Like I said, that extra suitcase helps.
And then there’s those of us who never pick up our baggage from the carousel at all. We got off the plane. We know what baggage claim area our luggage will arrive. We’ve even waited the what-feels-like-longer-than-the-flight-itself amount of time until there are any signs of suitcases to begin with.
Other passengers begin to pick up their own baggage. The cute guy who was sitting next to me already has his. It’s a big red one. Someone clearly has daddy issues.
Finally! Our baggage comes out. We recognize it easily. There’s a Star Wars luggage tag on the handle. But get this: we never pick it up. We just let it roll on by.
Because what if that wasn’t our baggage? What if I accidentally pick up someone else’s suitcase? I would feel so embarrassed! Then I’d have to have an awkward conversation with the passenger who’s baggage it really is, and we know it’s not the cute guy’s because, well, he already picked up his own shit.
So now I’m stuck talking with Mr. Smith about his wife and kids and how they just want to get home because little Timmy is getting cranky. So we open up our suitcase together to see who’s stuff is crumpled up inside and sure enough, this baggage is definitely not ours.
That’s why we didn’t pick up our baggage yet; those of us decided to wait just in case simply to see if someone else would take our baggage for us. Because—you know—then we won’t have to deal with it. Right!? But deep down inside, we know damn well that even when no one does take our luggage, and that bright pink suitcase goes by for a second time, we still leave it on the carousel.
You see, maybe if it stays there I can file a report with airport security and get reimbursed for what “they” lost. I can get a whole new wardrobe! Maybe even a new computer if I’m lucky. I can claim that all my tech was in my suitcase; the expensive shit because work forced me to take my $2000 MacBook with me on my personal vacation so that I could catch up on “writing documents.” If I can get my money back for all that, that’ll show those workers at LIF!
But here’s the thing…
If I can get away with lying about my “lost luggage” even once, I’m just going to file another report every time I travel. But eventually the airline will catch on. My baggage will turn up days later because there’s always some janitor at the airport who can see my suitcase still riding alone on the carousel. It is bright pink after all.
So now I’m just the boy who cried lies in the eyes of LIF Security, and I’m not only stuck with multiple suitcases on my doorstep, but if I don’t pay back the airline for my false claim, I could face time in jail. And by “jail” I mean sitting home alone while eating a tub of ice cream and laughing at Modern Family by myself even though I’ve see this episode hundreds of times. Ok, maybe just seven. And I’m not watching Modern Family. I’m watching Real Housewives of who-the-fuck-cares-they-make-me-feel-better-about-myself-because-their-lives-are-so-shitty-yet-they-still-make-more-money-than-me-because-they-have-their-own-television-show.
We all realize I’m not talking about actual baggage, right? I’m talking about our demons. The skeletons in our closets. Our trauma! Do you know what‘s in your suitcase? “What’s in your wallet?” Well, my wallet is stuffed with anxiety, and it’s about time I learn how to deal with it!
* * *
So that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m taking some time off from work to try and get a handle on my anxieties. I don’t know how long I’ll be out of work (I’ll leave it to my therapist to tell me when she thinks I’m ready to go back), but I don’t just want to spend a few weeks peeling away some layers of my past and present simply to throw myself right back into an already-anxious work environment. You try working in a terminal for almost 8 years where about 1 million people pass through every day, yet only 99% of them think they’re the center of the universe because “they have a train to catch.” Good God, get a grip, girl! There’s almost always another train in 20 minutes or less!
But I have some goals I want to accomplish during my time off, one of which is to finish my Bridge Book. I also want to lose some weight, learn better eating habits, but most importantly, I want to understand anxiety. I need time to understand different anxiety medications as well as the side effects of each.
Writing is extremely therapeutic for me, so if you’re one of the few who’s made it this far, then you’re in luck! Because I’m about to blog the shit outta this beast!
This blog post is brought to you by Anxiety. Anxiety–Deal with it!