“Anxiety is a mountain; rocky-faced and unforgiving.”
“Anxiety is a frozen stream, calm for months then roiling violently in the sudden spring sunshine.”
“Anxiety is a brick wall.”
“Anxiety is a weight on your back.”
“Anxiety is a cow, shitting on the green pastures of your life and destroying the atmosphere surrounding your ego with its methane farts.”
Like the thousand metaphors invoked to describe it, anxiety is interpreted differently by each person graced with its nuisance. And although I love metaphors as much as the next asshole – or more, on account of it’s my actual job to love them – I don’t see anxiety as an angry stream; it’s not a wall too high to see over, or a chain-link fence teasing me with an unattainable greener pasture I can’t access.
My anxiety is a neighborhood.
Today it was the middle-class suburb where I spent my preteen years drawing with sidewalk chalk and giggling about boys.
On Wednesday, it was the dark, cold neighborhood atop an irrationally steep hill in the slum-adjacent street where I remember little aside from being five and confused.
Some days are fleeting, like urban neighborhoods were I spent a night – maybe two – in this city or that, at this hotel or another, for whatever reason.
There are neighborhoods that I returned to month after month, and others I called home for years. In others, I was just a guest or maybe a frequent visitor.
What every neighborhood shares is its staying power in the blueprint of my personality. Every house, apartment, or room I ever lived in is another fraction of light in the vivid spectrum that shines through the word “home.”
There aren’t too many original ways left to say it, but home starts from within and comfort doesn’t have to be constant; just consistent.