Broken Bread

I’ve been feeling pretty peaceful lately, and not in the, “a shitstorm is headed your way soon” type of way.  I just feel good.  B and I are getting along really well.  Work has picked up, and I’m cranking out projects left and right. I feel productive and busy, but not stressed.

I’m feeling this compassion settling in my heart again. I’m feeling calm. I’m feeling patient. I’m feeling kind. I feel sensitive again, but in a way that makes me feel empowered.

I know that I’m on the road to becoming the best version of myself again. I’ve stopped depending on other people to take care of me. My anxiety is essentially nonexistent. If my bread breaks, I can literally still eat my sandwich.

A year ago B and I were getting ready for our wedding. It was less than a month away. We fell in love shortly after we met and after 9 months together decided to get married. Our wedding was literally 10 days after our 1 year anniversary. In that time, I had quit a job to more seriously pursue my future in coffee. I had just gone back to school after taking a semester off from being sick. I met the love of my life, and also realized how fun skipping class with him was. I became sick again, and dropped out of college. We moved in together (pretty suddenly), got engaged, and tried to plan and execute a wedding in 3 months. This was also my first time living with a man – ever. Needless to say -THE TENSION WAS HIGH.-

I developed pretty severe anxiety; my doctor told me I had been so stressed for so long that my body was constantly in a state of fight or flight. I got to the point that the smallest, most basic tasks would overwhelm me completely… like my bread breaking.

Every payday, B and I would go to Subway to get a sandwich. I really loved their Italian herb and cheese bread, but probably 1 out of every 15-20 sandwiches the bread seam would break. It could be the sandwich had too many fillings or the bread was just too dry, but the seam would break.

I wasn’t supposed to be eating bread to begin with, my health problems had been caused by a stress induced gluten intolerance(???if that’s really a thing???) and food in general was difficult for my body to handle. I was at the point in my life where “If I’m going to eat something that could 50/50 make me sick – it had better be the most satisfying experience ever.” Unfortunately, my 1 in 20 broken breads happened at the start of my anxiety mess.

If the bread broke, my mind would break. So I switched to flatbread because that stuff NEVER breaks, and I could avoid all the risk factors of getting regular bread (too many fillings, bread was smaller than normal, bread was OVER baked (which I hated even without anxiety) etc) so that I didn’t even have to KIND OF deal with my bread breaking.  It was a good way for me to eliminate human error, and a good way for me to control what the outcome of my sandwich was going to be.

But there was one day that I was REALLY determined to get the Italian herb and cheese bread again instead of flatbread. I went through every possible scenario in my head of how that bread would break, and I struggled to convince myself that it would be okay when I got there and I was overthinking it. Seriously guys. This was an ORDEAL.

So I ordered.

And he pulled out the bread.

And it was over baked.

And I froze.

B tried to encourage me to continue ordering, but I was so frozen that when I tried to speak I just stammered. I looked at B and I felt like a god damn five year old as I quietly tried to beg him to not make me finish this order.

I panicked.

I literally felt trapped in my own body. I knew it wasn’t a big deal. Like I was completely logical throughout the entire anxiety filled chunk of my life. But I couldn’t get my logic and my irrational emotions to connect. I felt completely out of control of my own life.

I looked at the subway guy and I forced out an “I’m so sorry, never mind, I’m so sorry,” and I walked out, like I was apologizing for a piece inside me that was ruling my entire body.

I was so embarrassed. It was embarrassing to exist at times. I was embarrassed that B ever had to see me like that. I was embarrassed because I knew I was acting irrational, and I was even more embarrassed because I couldn’t control it.

Like who can’t control themselves? Honestly? But that was me. And that was the stage I was at in my life. That “version” of me was around a lot longer than I wanted.

So I look back at that. I remember the sheer-fucking-terror that coursed through my body in that moment. And I reflect on how I feel now. I feel good. I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of life again, which is incredible considering a month or so ago I was so scared that I was going to be an empty shell of nothingness for eternity.

B and I will be celebrating our 2 year dating anniversary in a couple weeks, and our 1 year of marriage a little after that. I’m successful in my work. I’m pushing myself to be better, healthier, happier, nicer, and much more empathetic. I like what I do and the people I’m around. I’m feeling more organized, and we’re reaching our goals quicker than I thought possible.

Just last night we were talking about our 5 year and 10 year plans. It’s so intimidating to think back to who I was 5 years ago and how much I’ve changed, and even 5 years before that. I have absolutely no idea who I will be in 5 years. But whoever I grow up to be, I hope I’m happy – broken bread and all.

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