Here's an essay, "Thoughts About Panic Attaking" at The Frisky, about my pre-birthday, pre-live TV panic attack week in November. There's a related essay in the works, because I'm still working on figuring out how not to collapse under pressure. This week, it's getting through until Friday and getting on a plane and going far away. Sometimes that's the only answer. And at least I now know how to get to Cherry Lane Theatre! Hopefully the Erin Courtney reading I missed will happen again.
Two days before my birthday last November, I got a facial at my favorite spa. I lay down on the bed, with the paper gown tucked around me, and the technician went about working her magic on my pores. She put a mask on my face and left me to relax for 10 minutes, with cucumbers resting gently over my eyes, the lights dimmed, and soothing music playing. The setting should’ve been everything I needed to stay calm, and it was … for about two minutes. Then my phone beeped, and I saw a text from a friend telling me to check her Twitter stream ASAP. Of course, I was curious, but I couldn’t get a signal, and spent the rest of the “rest period” feeling antsy, continually picking up my phone to see if suddenly service had been restored. The serenity that I look for when I go to the spa, the chance to shut off my mind while getting my skin rejuvenated, wasn’t there, because all I could think about was when I could get out of the room to check my phone.Read the whole thing
Later that afternoon, I decided to see a free play reading at a theater in the West Village. The playwright and I have mutual friends and I loved the idea of getting to do something for free that I couldn’t have done at my day job. I was running late, as usual, and chose the subway stop nearest where I thought the theater was. Then I found myself walking this way and that way, cursing to myself and then to anyone in the street as I realized I wasn’t going to be able to find the theater. I felt so stupid, because I’ve lived in New York since 1996; I should know where I’m going. Even though the West Village is notorious for its winding, hard to navigate streets, I was sure it was my fault. I took my iPhone and slapped it hard against my inner arm, the sting a reminder of my error, a physical manifestation of my anger at myself.