My life is a mess in that twenty-something way where its charm wears off real fast. I have approximately $9 in my checking account. I walked in my college graduation commencement two months ago, but still don't have final grades from one summer class, so I've convinced myself I failed it and that my diploma is definitely not in the mail. I have a job interview for an *adult* salary position next week and I don't even own dress pants (I got a cute blazer from Goodwill for $4, so that's covered). I don't floss every night, and I keep forgetting to not forget about it. My mom said my car looks like a homeless person lives in there. There's three or four half-empty seltzer water cans and a partially-eaten coffee cake on my dresser. I've been needing to do laundry for over a week, and now it's really a desperate situation.
So, yeah. Messy.
Thankfully, yesterday I had the day off work. It was barely noon, and there I was flinging clothes around my room trying to find something to wear in this late-summer heat so I could go to the store and buy more watercolor paint (a recent creative hobby I'm picking back up). I was examining my bike shorts in my bedroom mirror (I'm still conflicted about wearing them in a cool and intentional way, and not looking like a bum - can more people talk about this?) when I realized there was a humongous spider on the wall behind me.
I'll insert here that nothing in the world freaks me out more than big bugs, and if you want details, ask two of my best friends, they have some stories.
Obviously I screamed, and whirled to face the intruder with absolutely no intention of going near it. It was completely still as I sent a shaky photo to my friend, mom, and cousin asking what to do, as if there was more than one option. Written emotional support rolled in steadily, complete with heart emojis and YOU CAN DO IT messages. If you've ever been on the receiving end of those, you know how physically unhelpful they can be.
I spent the next stretch of the hour talking myself up with a shoe in my hand, internally screaming, profusely sweating, and eventually went very carefully to find the vacuum. When I was a kid, at some point I realized that instead of being within spitting distance of a spider to smash it, I could just suck it up in the vacuum hose and be done with it (and no, I do not release them later. Zero remorse.). So there I was, standing on my bed with the hose shaking in one hand, staring down this eight-legged behemoth and freezing up every time I thought I got the appropriate level of nerve.
I know, I know. It's ridiculous. I knew that.
And then it fell from the ceiling beside my bookshelf and I promptly screeched in frustration - at both the spider and myself. I prepared to wait beside my bookshelf and wait for it to appear again. At some point, I began using colorful choice words to insult it on the off chance that it might come out to argue back at me and I could attack it with the vacuum hose. I fully intended to do so with the same force and volume as a Game of Thrones warrior.
And then my mom called asking if I'd killed it yet, to which I promptly began angry-crying that this stupid spider got away and I would never find it again.
I let the spider have my room that night. I shut it inside after dragging my comforter into the hallway (following a careful inspection for anything brown and spindly) and refused to go in again for any extended period of time until it was found. I slept in the guest room and wouldn't go back for even my phone charger.
Here's the thing: I recognized that I was going completely overboard with the spider. It was likely very safe for me to sleep in my room still, and it was likely that the spider was more frightened of me than the other way around. Fear can be consuming, sometimes irrationally-so. Sometimes, it just means we have something to lose, meaning there's something to fight for.
I'm also terrified of not landing the job position next week, for example. That's understandable, I think. And I'm terrified of some complication arising which postpones me receiving my diploma (because after four long years, it feels too good to be true!), and I'm also nervous about being reamed at the dentist's office for not flossing. Again.
Something that I am learning this year: It's all going to be okay. I'm figuring it out. Messes can be cleaned up, and spiders can be killed. I'll survive it, but it's alright if I have a meltdown, too. We gotta be realistic, here.
A hurdle for me lately is beginning again. Finding a new job that may enter into a career, re-discovering my free time and creative interests, deciding what's important to me short-term in the next year, now that it doesn't include school for the first time in my life.
Even when I knew the spider was gone, after watching it be killed and carried away to the trash (a whole day later when I was sneaking in for my laptop), it was hard to go back into my room, to sleep in my bed. I couldn't stop myself from scoping out every visible fiber of carpet or wall space. But eventually, I brought my comforter back in and stopped imagining things on the walls.
Honestly, though — my cousin advised me to burn the house down and run from that monster. No promises next time.