Breathe

Salvation Army steal

Wake up early Monday morning to drop Mike off at his internship. I then meet George just before 9am to get the keys to the apartment. It’s two days before the first, but he said I could get them early. I’m siked. George lets me in and sees a couple cabinet doors aren’t closing right – he’ll send someone over in the afternoon to fix them. He leaves and I have the place to myself. My new home. I’m moving our stuff in shifts, so it’s not too overwhelming. I’ve brought over a car load of stuff but there’s plenty more back in North Hollywood. Bring everything in then head out to do some shopping – essentials: cleaning supplies, mostly, and a small kitchen table and two chairs from Walmart.

Back at our new place I get to work and am kind of grossed out. I have to clean everything. I windex everything, I scrub the sinks. Open the bathroom mirror and almost vomit – there’s hair everywhere, like guy shaved hair. Fred is here now fixing the cabinets when I make the discovery and somewhat gasp. “Was the place cleaned before you moved in?” I don’t know, but I’m doing a lot of cleaning. “That should have been done.” Well thanks, Fred, but somehow I know I just have to suck it up and clean and not hope for any money back. I don’t bother driving back to North Hollywood because it’s far and I have to pick Mike up at 6 anyway, so I go for a run in the afternoon. It’s a three minute jog until I see the ocean, and I smile. I live five blocks from the beach. Go ahead and be dirty, apartment, I couldn’t ask for a better location.  I run on the “boardwalk” if you can call it that; more of a cement walk along the beach.  Not to stereotype Venice, but it reeks of weed as I run past groups of people on the beach. Whatever man, it’s cool.

I pick Mike up and we drive back to the apartment: the table and chairs were too heavy to carry in by myself. We put the table and chairs together, and both can’t wait until we’re moved in. We really don’t feel like driving back to NoHo tonight, but have no other choice.

Table for two

Do it again Wednesday morning, but this time it’s really, really early. Mike got a PA gig through Red Varden; Auction Hunters on Spike, and it’s PAID. Yay! But I have to wake up super early. I know, anything before 9am is early for me, but today it’s a 4:45 wake up call. Bring in the second wave of stuff from the car and plan to head out at 10 when stores open. There’s nothing for me to do, so I easily pass out on the floor. No pillows, no blankets, just me and a hoodie and a bag filled with clothes. Head to Home Goods and Trader Joe’s to stock up on non-perishables (we have a mini-fridge, so not too much cold stuff). I’ve never had to “decorate” before. I don’t even feel like I’m decorating; more like matching. We have light celery green towels for the bathroom, so I buy a celery green toothbrush holder and bath mat. But wait, the bathroom sink extends into the living area, so it should match the kitchen. I find a white cutting board with celery green on the sides, then green dish towels, then a green step stool (high cabinets that I can’t reach). Wow, I just keep buying green. I don’t know how to throw in an accent color. I know nothing about decorating.

We don’t have the big stuff here yet: couch, TV, coffee table. I imagine where everything will go, where everything will fit. I feel like I’m playing house, except these are real things and they cost money. Still, it’s fun. I go for a run again, but this time on the beach. Can’t help but smile and think about where I am. I live in California right by the beach, I actually like my bartending job, and I can afford to do what I’m doing. I should be happy, right? Somehow, I’m not.

I’m the person who always says, “Things will be better when…” I get mad at myself for not being happy. I should be happy. No, I’m not a successful actress, by any means, but I’m OK. I’ve always wanted to live in Cali, I’ve always wanted to live by the beach, and I’m doing that. I enjoy writing; even if it’s just for myself, and I work in the first bar where I don’t dread going in. I’m out here with Mike and he makes me feel safe. Of course we’re not perfect and we have our issues, but he’s still my best friend and the most supportive person in my life who knows me better than anyone. I should be happy.

Last August I had some breathing problems. I couldn’t catch my breath. It started to get really bad after a couple weeks where I felt like I couldn’t breathe. It hurt in my chest and my back. I’d get really upset and cry; I never felt so not in control. Mike was worried. “You need to go to the doctor.” I can’t afford to go to the doctor, I don’t have insurance (an added stress). Mike started to scare me because he was honestly afraid for me. I felt like there must be something really wrong with me, so finally I went. It wasn’t planned. I couldn’t breathe and started panicking. Mike was at work so I text Carissa, my friend from Turtle Club. She knew how I’d been feeling and dropped what she was doing to come pick me up. It was a clinic downtown for people without insurance. They ran some tests. The doctor told me there was a spot on my x-ray and I needed to go to the emergency room to make sure nothing was wrong. OK, well, I have work at 4; can we do this another day? She just looked at me. “You really sh0uld go to the emergency room right now.” OK, fine, because I can afford that, lady. You’re just adding to my stress right now. I spent the rest of the night in the emergency room as the doctor ran tests on my blood or whatever else. Mike finally got there after work. As soon as he walked in I was a mess. I hate hospitals. I was scared, I didn’t know what was wrong with me, and I was worried about how much all this was going to cost.

After it was all over, I had NOTHING wrong with me. It was “stress”. This made me so mad and embarrassed at the same time. How can I let stress make me feel like this? The doctor could do nothing for me. I needed to relax and get help because I was crazy. He didn’t say that, but I’m sure he thought it. After about a week it went away. And now, six months later, those feelings are coming back. It’s even more upsetting because I feel like I should be happy. And I am happy sometimes, but I expect so much from myself, and I feel a lot of pressure to be better. Working on it.

*Anna Nalick

5 thoughts on “Breathe

  1. I will help you relax in April when I visit. We can work on our tans together and have delicious cocktails at the same time, maybe some deep breathing exercises 🙂 love you silly

    1. yes! i need more details of when exactly you’re coming so we can figure out giving you the keys and all that. hopefully we’ll get to hang out at least one night.

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