Jenna Noelle Johns

Jane Fonda & Anxiety & Everything In Between

I've been waiting to tell you people about this since the day I found out it was real. And I'm not even gonna act cool about it, 'cause that's stupid. No one is cool when it comes to meeting celebrities. And if you think you are, I don't believe you.

I was sitting in my car, sipping coffee & listening to Amy Poehler's book as loud as I could to flush my nerves. My feet were propped on the dashboard, my hair was all amuck, clinging for it's life against the upholstery of my 9 year old car, and my palms weren't even sweaty yet. Hell yeah. "Today I'm going to be great." "Amy, don't interrupt. I'm being inspirational,"  I said as I watched a blacked-out Mercedes drive by slowly. I didn't think anything of it. It was 8am, and I was an hour early. 

I continued my ritual of pretending like I was cool and then I looked up. The second my eyes became level to the base of my dashboard, I saw Jane Fonda step out of that Mercedes. My coffee looked at me like I was lucky to not be sipping it at the time. Every inanimate object in my car all of the sudden became alive and stared at me like, "Oh here we go, she's gonna lose it. Start your engines, boys." I said "screw you" as I lowered the back of my seat into the earth and became invisible. 

No one was here yet. I was the only person to represent work thus far, and I had to go walk into a room with a celebrity sitting there, waiting to lay two pupils on mine as I walked through the sliding doors until I melted completely into the pool of anxiety that formed itself in every nerve of my being. So I decided to stay in my car for 6 more hours. 

Just kidding. It was 6 minutes, but I sure do have enough gray hairs to make you think it was 600,000 minutes. I gathered my things, I took a giant gulp of coffee, I chugged a water bottle, I stared at a power bar for 60 seconds wondering if I should eat it or for-go the inevitable up-chucking freak I would become. In all of this chaos of filling my body with things the internet says would calm me down, I forgot two things. One, my beloved ADHD pill. I know, right? You would never guess. Two, my sanity. 

Here's the thing. You think you understand yourself as a 21 year old that's been through some stuff, but you don't. Everyone tells you anxiety is normal and everyone deals with it in some way. But your mind tells you, "Hey you freak of nature, you're so weird. Why can't you just be confident like her? Or her? Or even her? Let's be real, she don't got it goin' on, but she definitely know mo' den you, chick." I guess my inner voice is from Compton. I'm cool with it. Anyway, your mind can destroy you. It can tell you that you're SO important to everyone you meet that you HAVE to be PERFECT when you meet them. It will tell you that no matter how many times you've rehearsed your maid of honor speech over the phone with a boy you liked that told you it was awesome through his loving chuckle, it was still gonna be atrocious, and everyone was going to hate you after the wedding. You're gonna ruin it. Why do you always ruin everything? Stop being so weird. Drink more wine. No, drink whiskey. Now have champagne. Move on. You're boring me.

Here's the real thing. Here's the blunt thing, the harsh thing, the cold thing, the GOOD thing. Nobody gives a rats ask. 

It's hard to see this all go down from the outside and think nothing of it. That's the sweet, sweet gift of anxiety. It makes you feel like you are all alone in this world of people made to judge you. TRUTH: It's not about you. Ever. Not even on your wedding day. Not even at your funeral. It's really not. If you lived a life completely alone and had not one conversation with another human being, my case would be different. But since the only people that have never spoken with anyone else on earth are non-existent, my point stands to this day. It's not about you, and it never will be. 

Life as I know it -no wait, real quick: for those of you who don't care about what I think, please stop reading. Life as I know it is about everyone else but me. My mother birthed me, my siblings friended me first, my friends laughed at me last, and my teachers hated to love me. They were the ones to make a permanent impression on my heart, only to care for it ever so tenderly, and then destroy it as they watched me crumble. Then they would help me pick up the pieces and glue it back together.

We all suck. We're human. Isn't that gorgeous? We ALL suck. In the same stroke, however, we're all EXCEPTIONAL. Or have the power to be, at least. We all have the ability to change the world together. TOGETHER. It's not about me. It's not about you. It's about us. Us is what makes the world keep turning. I could never be a brain surgeon. Blood is ew. I could never be a football player. Not because I'm a girl, I just hate the outfits. There are millions of jobs I could not fulfill scarcely because I don't want to and don't care to. But other people do. US is filled with billions of people who are in love with billions of things. Everyone is different, everyone struggles secretly and so deeply. If only I could just convince my brain to accept that, I'd start living like it constantly, even when I meet Jane Fonda. 

There is freedom in speaking up and telling people about what hurts you. There is freedom in looking at yourself in the mirror while you cry or feel your body succumb to a fit of rage. There is freedom in every situation your soul tells you your life is about to end. Look for it, ask for it, learn about it, understand it, and BELIEVE IT. I never believe in freedom in the moment, but I am working on it. Work on it with me. Go kick your anxiety's face when it's down and tell it how irrelevant it is. Tell it that it has zero power over you when it tries its hardest to take over. I'll practice the same. That I can promise you. 

Cheers, Brothers & Sisters.


Jenna JohnsComment