This is another Facebook post I originally wrote this summer, but…
- It’s a lot of fun
- I worked really hard on it
- If I just leave it on Facebook it’ll eventually be lost to the world as I fill up my timeline with endless memes against endless cat photos
- It’s December and I’d rather spend today thinking about Christmas than trying to come up with something to write about
- Also if I can throw in an additional four hundred or so new words I can publish a 3,000 word post which I may have already done ’cause I often do reach the 2,000 to 2,500 word mark but I’m not really sure without going back and checking through every post I’ve already published so I’m just gonna say that even if I have that it is pretty rare and so if I could stretch this one out to 3,000 words (or possibly even three thousand and one!), will that would just make my weekend, so please bear with me here as I do my best to make this impossibly long Facebook post into an even impossibly-er long blog post
- (Oh my, did he really just open his blog post with the world “impossibly-er,” which not only is not a real world, it’s not even a realistic sounding not-real but obviously fake but the author is trying to be hip and pass it off as a “cool, made up, not-real word?” Like, gag me with a spoon!)
- Almost there. Just a hundred and fifty more words to go.
- Three thousand words is now within reach… I just need to stretch this out a little bit longer…
- Did I ever tell you about the time I – oh never mind, looks like we’ve made it… I guess that story will have to wait for another time, another place… anyway, read the remainder of this blog post at your own risk…
- P.S. I’m still 75 words away from 3,000.
So, I hope you enjoy reading this, as much as I originally enjoyed writing (and living) it:
(Oh My Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Fire!)
Guys, my name is Michael Glenn and I totes feel like a Jedi Master right now and let me tell you, you guys are either gonna love this post or hate it!
(P.S. If you hate it then my name is actually Ed Gruberman and I’m not a Jedi Master at all and yes, thank you, I’m quite comfortable in my Mom’s basement…)
This is long and rambling and satirical and potentially mildly embarrassing (but it don’t bother me none) and will probably strain the limits of what passes as “good” writing
– but it’s intentionally more free flowing and “less” edited in an attempt to show you a closer, “inside” look into the reality of irrational fear… and how liberating it can be to ignore your inner critic and just say what you want to say…
and to poke fun at my own ridiculous thoughts and feelings…
and just get carried away and not care for once whether people like me or not…
and if people read this post, and still come back for my next one, I’ll know I hit the mark…
This post is made possible because of two things:
my own twisted take on how I respond these days to situations that used to cause me tremendous anxiety…
and my ability to see past my own amazingness (or lack thereof…), and say, “there’s a great story in here somewhere…”
Guess who’s a Chatty Cathy?
>This guy, that’s who!<
And guess who was the LAST PERSON ALIVE to ever realize that I’m a Chatty Cathy?
>Right here! Also me. It’s true. I always thought of myself more as a Nervous Nellie… but boy was I ever wrong! And they do say, “When you’re wrong, you’re wrong.” Well, I’m definitely wrong on this one. Lol…<
Earlier today I had a physical therapy appointment. (I know, doctors, clinics, hard cold surfaces… yuck, right?)
My second physical therapy appointment.
My umpteenth attempt to do something that might have a chance of helping me reduce my chronic back and neck pain.
The kind of thing that normally would come with heaps of nervous anxiety, stress, tension, worry, fear that my pain will never be manageable, fear that the therapist will judge me for not being able to do the stretches correctly, fear that I’ll be intimidated by the therapist’s demeanor and won’t be able to effectively communicate my concerns about my treatment – the list goes on and on.
(And on and on and on and on… like “Henry the VIIIth I am” on a 45 record that skips back to the first verse halfway through the second and no one ever gets up to turn the record player off…)
But I’ve logged a lot of hours this month dealing with fear and anxiety – maybe not enough to be a “fear specialist,” but I’m sure I at least qualify as a “fear enthusiast,” so please lend me an ear and listen to my tale.
Where It Begins
My appointment was the exact type of situation that, a month ago, I probably would have cancelled due to overwhelming anxiety.
But today it didn’t make me anxious AT ALL! (Woohoo! Victory)
So, cool, I pull into the lot and I’m like “Hey I’m not scared. Well it’s still physical therapy, though, so it’ll probably still suck. Whatever, let’s just get it over with so I can go home and watch the Last Jedi…”
Guess what though?
My appointment didn’t suck. In fact, I rather enjoyed it…
So much that when the nurse came to greet me, I gave her a huge smile and a firm handshake, and proceeded to tell her as much of my life story as I could in the 5 minutes it took her to get me set up and tell me that she wasn’t actually my therapist, but start stretching and my therapist will be along.
Cool, okay, thanks, great talking with ya…
(Whereas before, I’d be more like, “Oh, hi. Okay, I’ll just sit here and wait for the therapist.” All the while totally avoiding any eye contact or anything that would indicate that yes I know there is another human being in the room with me. You know, look at the floor, at my shoes, a potted plant, anywhere but at an actual person I might have to talk to… GASP! Whatever will I do?!)
So she walks off and I start in on my stretches, like I’m just out for a leisurely stroll through my backyard (’cause no way am I gonna stroll through a park… who knows what dangers lurk in green, wide open landscapes filled with friendly smiling faces?)
First Obstacle: Successfully Navigated. But Don’t Worry; There’s More To Come
Here comes the therapist. Big smile, cordial hello, instant connection. What I expected to suck is now A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
OM double G I’m having SO MUCH FUN,
just talking to another human being without letting fear or anxiety get in the way of my words!!!
Lord, am I dreaming? If so please don’t ever let me wake up…
(There’s literally ZERO fear or trepidation or anything in my voice or even inside my own actual head! I’m just like totally completely free to say whatever feels like coming out of my mouth… what?! Do I even know how to do that?!)
Somehow in all the excitement I didn’t even blink when she asked me what I do to relieve my pain and I answered,
“I tried pain pills but they don’t really do anything most of the time. The best thing I’ve ever found is to watch really good girlie dramas on Netflix and have a nice, long cry. That always takes my pain down like at least 90%!”
Sorry, in my neck of the woods, middle aged middle class men DON’T watch girlie dramas.
And if they do, they certainly DON’T bawl their eyes out when Ezra and Aria finally get married!
– Oh, what a beautiful love story that was! Let me tell you! (Le sigh…) –
And if they DO bawl their eyes out…
they certainly DON’T reveal that information to other people,
and definitely NOT to young attractive women who I’m sure will think I’m a total goober if I tell them I ADORE Pretty Little Liars! I binge watched the first 5 seasons like 3 times in a row before I finally watched the end and it was
(And I’ll totes do it again this fall, once the weather gets too cold to spend time outdoors… but don’t tell anyone okay ’cause they might think I’m weird and I def don’t want that to happen…)
But… I did admit to it… and I didn’t even care… and why would I?
How could it possibly hurt me to tell someone else that I need the emotional release I get from girlie t.v.?
(Besides, I also cry when I watch the Flash or Arrow, so there is a masculine side to me as well… cough cough…)
And you know what my therapist said? Basically, “Cool, you found something that helps you.”
Not at all what fear told me to anticipate! (Fear, you lied to me. I want a refund.)
But That’s Not All!
So we visited basically like the whole time she was working with me and I told HER my entire life story in fifteen minutes (which is a much better story than the five minute version I told the previous therapist, believe you me), then she handed me off to a second therapist to show me some new stretches to work on.
So I figure, okay this is the point where fear of doing something wrong and looking like an idiot is sure to kick in. (If only I had known what was going to happen next, I would have found some way to record it…)
I start to feel a little of my old anxiety creeping in, and I think to myself,
“For sure THIS therapist is already judging me cause I don’t know how to do something she wants me to do that I’ve never done before so obviously I’m an embarrassment to my family and better just shut down now before she says something that I know will hurt my feelings….
Plus this is like the THIRD person I’ve dealt with just in one hour so for sure my luck can’t hold out much longer so I might be okay but I don’t really know so I’m just warning myself to be ready to divert power to the forward shields just in case…”
So I start stretching and bracing myself for some sort of social faux pas, certain that she’s going to say something that will send me into a mental/emotional talespin, and then halfway through my stretch she’s all, “Um, no, try it like this.”
And I’m like, “Oh, lols, I thought I had it. Lemme try again.”
And then she’s like, “Cool. That’s much better.”
Where’s the anxiety?
Where’s the embarrassment?
Where’s the hearing her tell me I’m doing it wrong, and internalizing every word she says and misinterpreting and convincing myself that I AM WRONG for even existing…
and I better shut my mouth and hide my feelings and just try my best to white knuckle my way through the rest of this nerve-wracking experience so I can safely retreat to the comfort of my own home where I can be totally alone with my Loserville attitude…
(Well, I don’t know ’cause it’s been like six hours now and all those icky feelings still have not appeared, so… if I happen to run into them I’ll tell ’em you were asking around…)
So then she gives me a 100% brand new never been seen by me before stretch and I start and I’m like, “Oh, this is difficult. I’m having a hard time raising my left arm very high.” And do you know what she said in response? Do you?! Oh, it made me so……
She actually had the nerve to say, “Oh no problem, just do the best you can.”
Like, it was totally fine that I couldn’t just roboticaly follow her instructions.
Where is all the judgment my fear told me to be looking for?!
I tell you, if this keeps up I’m going to write a stern letter to –
Someone must be held accountable for taking away my scary thoughts and feelings. It’s just not right, I tell you!
I’ve spent a whole lifetime collecting all these fears, and for them to just up and move out when I don’t need them any more, well someone’s mother obviously didn’t teach them any manners!
Now Then, Where Was I?
So then I’m back to just chatting up this new therapist, just going on and on like we’re old friends just doing what we always do…
and before I know it my session is over and I’m saying goodbye to like seventeen people and wishing them all a pleasant afternoon…
and then I get to the parking lot and I had such an amazing time that now I’m in love with like 7 different therapists!
Which is hard, because I think they only have 6…
and I only interacted with two of them today (but I’m also totes in love with the nurse I met at the start)
– but that’s not important; when it comes to matters of the heart, one can’t be too concerned with such trivial matters as math or reality…
So, because I’ve put so much time and effort this month into facing fears, examining fears, conquering fears, blowing fears to smithereens!
An activity that would have normally triggered more than enough fears and anxieties to send me straight into a curled up in a ball throwing up into the toilet level anxiety attack…
is now the complete opposite, the antithesis of fear, the absence of anxiety, the dismissal of worry, and the moment that has solidified it all.
I’m in love with the world. Things that had no impact on me AT ALL a month ago now make me spontaneously laugh, and smile (and sometimes cry, but sometimes that’s the exact right thing to do, ya know…)
Things aren’t perfect.
I still don’t like my neighbor. (I just don’t worry anymore about the negative ramifications of not liking my neighbor.)
I still have struggles, challenges, obstacles – and some day soon I’ll wager one of them WILL make me afraid… for awhile… but probably not forever…
So That’s My Story; Now It’s Time To Take Us Home…
If you’ve read this far you’re probably wondering now, “What does this all have to do with Jedi Masters?”
Well, after my appointment I came home and watched the Last Jedi. (Sorry haters, but I love this film. It has everything that the Empire Strikes Back had to offer, and then some…) And I bawled my eyes out – so instant pain relief! Score…
Anyway, the movie got me thinking about, what’s the difference between a Jedi Knight, and a Jedi Master? And I think it’s basically like this:
(And I’m really stretching here but it sounds good in my own brain as I type this message but remember if it totally sucks it was written by Ed Gruberman so… you get what you pay for… just saying.)
A Jedi Knight uses their power for good, but they make the Force part of who they are, and they think it’s something they can control. (Luke says something to that effect to Rey, early in her training.)
But Jedi Masters, they know that the power they wield is all around them. It’s freely available, to everyone who is willing to reach out and grab it. But they can’t control it – they can only observe it, learn from it, and allow it to remove their ego and reveal their true intent and desire…
So they let go of their attachment to “self,” forego all attempts to “control” the Force, quit worrying about what others think (or even about what they, themselves, think), and learn to let the Force magnify their abilities, and their position as a “beacon of hope” in their far, far galaxy from long, long ago…
It sounds far out… and yet, throughout human history almost every “enlightened” teacher has laughed, not in the face of danger – but even at the very idea of danger. They have all taught that ego holds us back, that life is meant to be experienced, and that our emotions are for our benefit (okay well I made up that last little bit but hey it sounds good to me!)
So maybe those crazy old Jedi Masters are onto something, after all…
Anyway if you want to have those kind of results in your own life, dealing with your own fears and anxieties (or whatever other feelings make you feel like going and crawling into a rock – erm, I mean, under a rock LOL… crawling into a rock would probably be pretty difficult even for the best of us)…
but if you want to be able to “feel” anxious or nervous or afraid, without those feelings overwhelming you…
maybe now is the time to decide:
Do you want to be a Jedi Knight – or do you want to be a Jedi Master?
You’ve made it this far for a reason…
so don’t let fear or ego hold you back, when you’re already closer to your goals than you will ever know…
“Use the Force”
“May the Force be with You, Always.”
P.P.S. If you’re still reading this there is buried treasure forty-five paces south of the tree that’s twenty paces east of the shop that’s thirty paces north of the building that’s fifteen paces west of the courtyard that’s eleven paces east of the place we used to know when we were – oh sorry now I am at 3,000 words so, if it’s all the same to you I’ll just take the location of that buried treasure to the… Oopsie, 3,006 words. My bad…