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Anxiety & Comfort

Anxiety & Comfort


“I look placid, you see, that’s why people think I’m fine. Inside I worry a lot.” _Maeve Binchy, Tara Road.

“All I ever really want to know is how other people are making it through life—where do they put their body, hour by hour, and how do they cope inside of it.” _Miranda July, It Chooses You.

I talk about things being cozy a lot. Comfy. This is because I was an anxious child. A very anxious child. When I was a kid, it was storms. I was terrified of storms. Now storms don’t bother me very much at all, I grew out of it. That being said I’m a pretty anxious adult, as well, but deceptively so. I have a very laid back demeanor. Kinda like a fourteen-year-old surfer dude. I use sk8er language a lot. Stoked, rad, dude, awesome, dope. It’s my natural way of speaking. I come off pretty chill, I know this. It’s deceptive because although I use those words and come off that way, my brain is going a billion miles a minute and I’m always wondering if I left the oven on or where my keys are or something something something. I can talk to almost anyone about anything. I don’t mind talking to strangers and meeting new people, I just need a three-hour nap afterwards. One time I was a chaperone for my daughter’s class field trip to the zoo and afterwards, I had to come home and sleep for like four hours. It’s just how I am. This can at times make me a difficult friend, I admit that. I saw something on Tumblr that said easy to talk to, hard to get a hold of and wondered if someone had written it specifically about me. You’re so easily exhausted by hanging out with people you probably think this quote is about you. Social situations wear me out completely and I’m not real big on group outings and hanging out all the time. My close friends know this and love me well. Also, cozy things help. Comfy things.

Cozy, comfy things are my form of medication, self-care. I also have COZY CRITERIA. Or a list of things that are cozy to me. It can sometimes be an undefinable thing. I’ve said before that I want to write Cozy Books. Books they sell at the airport so if someone is scared to fly (which I am, most of the time although wine helps,) they could pick up my novel or short story collection and it would be a comfort to them as they magically zap through the sky at mind numbing speeds and metal-tube-time-travel to wherever they’re going. I want my books on a table in a hospital waiting room, something to take your mind off of things while you nervously wait and wait. I’m a highly sensitive person and very easily overstimulated/easily startled. When I go somewhere and it’s super-loud or there are a lot of flashing lights and too much going on, I start to shut down. I like having dreamy cozy things at the ready to calm me down. At home, I have my weighted blanket, which does wonders.

I also love watching my favorite movies/shows over and over again. I don’t even feel like I’ve seen a movie/episode of something unless I’ve seen it twice. The first time around, I’m way too anxious to watch properly and can’t really enjoy it at all until I can watch it again, knowing exactly what’s going to happen. I am a NIGHTMARE to watch anything with unless you are my husband or my child or one of my closest friends. I will pause everything and rewind everything and right at the heart of the climax, when the major whatever is revealed…I will pause it and take a break because I’m so easily overwhelmed. Sometimes it can take me days to watch a movie all the way through.

I collect cozy things and these are some things out in the world I find cozy and comfy about life, movies/shows, things and things:

-Baseball. All of it, but I especially love the comfort of the count (one and oh, two and oh. It’s so pleasing for me to listen to and calms me down.)
-Movies/episodes of things where people stay up all night (for example, Stuck Between Stations and the They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They? episode of Gilmore Girls and the “Finally” episode of Felicity and the Telethon episode of Parks & Recreation)
-Movies/episodes of things where there are town meetings (for example, Gilmore Girls and Grand Seduction)
-Any brown-gold tint
Circle of Friends (the book and the movie)
Good Will Hunting and sometimes any Matt Damon/Ben Affleck movie
-David Fincher movies (which I will write about in more detail but even when they’re creepy-cozy, they’re still cozy, especially his night scenes. So much golden light!)
-any 90s song I heard/loved when I was in high school (Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Blind Melon, Pearl Jam, Counting Crows)
-Country Music Television
-baby animal videos
-buffalo plaid
-the first Twilight movie, the book too (judge me openly, I can handle it and will never change my mind on this)
Harry Potter/Hogwarts
-schools at night
-movies/books/episodes set at a boarding school/dorms
-chili/soup/stew/mac and cheese/mashed potatoes and crockpot cooking
-nice hotel lobbies when people are in their pajamas like it’s one giant sleepover
-wool socks, slippers, leggings, cardigans (I have a LOT of cardigans)
Friday Night Lights
My So-Called Life
-churches, when they smell like communion and baptism water

And also, so many other things. I am going alphabetical now, if you dig. And these are random, just a little nip of them. I fill my life up with these things/things like this for reasons.

ABBA and also, apples and the names of apples (Pink Lady, Pacific Roses, Braeburn, Winesapp) also, I do like ASMR videos. I’m one of Those People. Being home. I love being home. And “Back Down South” by Kings of LeonCoffee shops, also classic rock. Dogs I want to pet and dogs that want me to pet them. Emmylou Harris. Football on Sunday. Guinea pigs also Grant Lee BuffaloHogwarts at Christmas. Irish food. Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series. Kale soup AKA Portuguese Penicillin. Also, knitting. Lavender oil and lamps. I’m super-sensitive to overhead lighting. I love lamps. I LOVE LAMP. “Mushaboom” by Feist and mumblecore. New babies and making meals for new mamas. Oceans, being near them, being in them. I am so happy when I’m swimming in the ocean. Pride & Prejudice (movie, miniseries, book, play, whatever.) Quiet. Reading. Shopping for makeup (esp. eyeliner and lipstick/lipgloss.) Take-out. Also, Tim Riggins. Tim deserves his own episode of Line Drive and it shall be so, soon. Umbrellas and the sound of rain on umbrellas. Violets. Wandering around Target by myself with a cup of coffee. XTC, “Then She Appeared.” You (as in, if you are my person and also, certain people.) Zoos, when it’s raining.

Bless our hearts and the things we do to make it through this life, especially when it’s hard and unfair and cruel and scary. I find comfort when and where I can. That is also my prayer and wish for you, it is. I promise.

Leesa Cross-Smith
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About The Author

Leesa Cross-Smith

Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and writer from Kentucky. She is the author of Every Kiss a War and Whiskey & Ribbons. She is also the editor of WhiskeyPaper.

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