I’m about to move in with my boyfriend.
Rationally, I’m eager to get in there and start this next chapter of my life, but emotionally I’m terrified. I’m filled with so much anxiety at the prospect of moving and I’m sure that it’s the culprit behind my recent intense backaches. I’ve been going to therapy for my anxiety for about three years now so I’m fairly adept at brainstorming what could be behind my worries. In this case: how expensive moving is, especially when I don’t own any furniture; how much this move increases my commute time to work; moving far away from my parents; moving in with a partner whom my parents don’t even know exists yet.
Objectively, you have to admit, those four factors would worry even the most laid back among us — especially that last one, oy. My parents don’t know I have a boyfriend yet. I just came out of the closet to them and unfortunately for my frenetic nervous system, they are not handling it well. My mother is ignoring me and when I happen to talk to my father on the phone, he dismisses me by breaking into tears and berating me that he doesn’t agree with my “choice.” Oh, and he also gravely warns me that I better be careful out in the street so that I don’t get my ass kicked. “You are going to suffer,” he predicts. Anyway, I didn’t feel they were ready just yet to know that their son was getting rammed on a routine basis.
Having said all that, I feel like this shouldn’t be stifling my excitement. I’m financially independent and I’ll be 30 this year. When it comes to my parents, ultimately I can be with any partner of my choosing and I don’t actually need to run it by them. And regarding my other worries, they’re really about my uneasiness with getting out of my comfort zone. Moving is expensive; I have money saved and a renewable source of income — it’s ok to do some spending here. My commute time will be extended; I’ll just read on the metro. Whatever. All of these rationalizations are legit, but still I can’t control my nerves.
I suspect that what lies beneath the torture is that deep down I don’t believe I deserve anything good in my life; being gay AND Mexican American can do that to you. Your daddy yells at you whenever you act like a girl; you’re going to internalize his shame and start to believe that you’re a bad person who deserves to get reprimanded. Your mother accuses you of wanting to abandon her when you mention that you might want to move into the dorms of your college that’s commutable from her house; you’re going to start to think that striving for change isn’t actually a good thing.
Whenever I go the supermarket, and I read off of my receipt, “You saved X amount today,” it makes me feel so fucking good, even if it’s actually some promo scam for suckers. Yesterday my boyfriend and I did our furniture shopping. I had been nervous about the move especially because of these specific pending purchases; whenever he’d mention the words bed, mattress, or refrigerator, I’d lose focus and get distracted by the shape of his lips and the intensity of his speech pattern – he’s such a fast talker! To decrease my anxiety, I researched for deals deals deals. We ended up spending half of what we thought we would because we went to this discount furniture store I found that had goodish reviews on Yelp. As soon as I swiped my debit card, I could already feel my back losing stiffness and according to my boyfriend, I actually smiled! Obviously, preparation is my ally – whether it be by looking for sales, saving for emergencies, or planning how exactly to come out to my parents.
So that’s stuff I can see coming; what about things that aren’t foreseeable? Honestly, I’m still learning to enjoy life while knowing that something random could derail my plans. It’s all about believing in my own resilience and also reminding myself that, especially because I’m prone to anxiety, I will always look for things to worry about. That last part is key; a couple of months ago, I scored a scholarship, and then you know what I did? I worried about not deserving it! Can you imagine someone born into privilege doing that?
I’m working on taking deep breaths and quieting my mind.
Sometimes during a lull at work, I’ll marvel at all the terrifying yet worthwhile change I’ve effected in my life this year and feel so damn proud. Not only did I put myself out there for love (I literally met my boyfriend while standing against the wall of a dance floor looking like a hooker and forcing myself to wipe my default sour puss off my face), but also found the courage to come out to my Mexican immigrant parents. If Eder of five years ago could see me, he’d be in disbelief. I wish my parents were taking the news better, but I would never undo my decision, and I lessen my anxiety by reminding myself that I wanted to live a life without shame. If I didn’t tell them, then the possibility of them eventually accepting the real me wouldn’t exist. No risk, no gain.