Walmart Anxiety Attack on a Sunday Afternoon

by Elisabeth

I went to Walmart today. I try to avoid shopping there at all times. I’m much more into Canadian Tire, but I went there the other day to look for bins to ship my stuff, and couldn’t find any. The only other place I could think of to get them was Walmart, but there are no Walmart’s conveniently placed in the city. You have to be a car-driver to find them, and so I started a 3-week long procrastination pattern of picking a day to go and then not going- for some excuse or other.

Filling up those bins and sending stuff to Vancouver is one of my monthly goals, you see. It’s a fundamental step forward. It makes this move real. But going to Walmart is a lame and insignificant task- seemingly easy. You find out how big the bin can be, you go to Walmart, pick out your Rubbermaid container, then come home with it, right?

Let me walk you through what it was really like.

I got up only realize that we “sprang forward” and I was already an hour late. I won’t get everything I need to get done today, I thought. I don’t even know what to post when I write for my blog. But another voice came in and said: You have to get those bins today or else you this will drag on forever. You have to!

I showered, made a breakfast sandwich, and lamented the lack of non-promotional emails in my inbox. I watched a Youtube video, stared at the weekend’s dishes that were abandoned by both Nick and I, and mustered up some “I’ll deal with this when I get home” bullshit as a coping mechanism.

Then I worried about money, seeing as in order to feel POTENT, and MAGNIFICENT, and ABUNDANT- I decided to just go ahead and make an appointment for a trim and colour at a salon that I’ve never been to but that books appointments online. While spending money on myself can feel amazing, sometimes I feel guilty, frivolous, or vain for doing so. So I flip-flopped on the subject while considering the Walmart shop and whether or not I should take a cab home with the bins.

Then I worried about the bags under my eyes and wondered about this gallstone/liver flush I’m reading about. I’m going to do it next month- just to try it. But I recognize that there is fear mixed up in some of the things I do and the goals I try to set for myself. When I’m feeling anxious, fear grabs a hold of me and it cycles in with a bunch of random things like laundry in a dryer.

You see, my intentions and goals for the month involve a lot of nose-to-the-grindstone tasks.

  1. ship my stuff
  2. get someone to take our place
  3. save money
  4. work on a writing piece
  5. blog as much as possible
  6. vision board?
  7. scrapbook?
  8. eat healthier
  9. plan my birthday events
  10. the Four Agreements Book Club

Besides our book club, most of these goals seem super boring, or like I’m grasping at straws. I’ve always wanted to make a vision board, and I need to start making a scrapbook with all the stuff I’ve been collecting for years. I haven’t gotten around to either of these tasks, which feel more like place holders so I could have a cool ten in my list. My goals are mainly tasks that support the overall CDF’s that I came up with. But they don’t look so sexy on the page.

So mulling around this boring list of goals, I looked up the bus route to Walmart on Tous Azimuts, and headed into the frigid sunshine to take my ride. I tried to remain calm as doubts about my financial capabilities bubbled up. I got to the bus stop where somebody had lovingly spray-painted a line through the schedule so that I couldn’t read the bus times for that hour. I was having doubts about my timing and even the bus itself. Was it the right bus? I was sure to check all of this at home before I left, but now, alone and out in the world planning a cross-country move; I had doubts about my abilities to take a bus or buy bins.

When I got out at my stop, I had to walk across a long, windy parking lot to get to the store which was situated at the other end of the sea of parking spaces. I could still feel the discomfort. That feeling is what I had been avoiding. When I got into the store, I navigated my cart through crowds of people on motorized shopping carts to get to the Rubbermaid section. Massive anxiety hit me in a new, fresh wave. Which bin do I buy? How many do I need? Which ones fit with which lids?

Moments like this I wish I had a boyfriend.

I had to talk myself through it. These decisions won’t make or break the move, I told myself. I made my purchases and then immediately called a cab instead of figuring out the bus home. Then I felt guilty about it- I’m supposed to be saving money. I was freezing cold in the wind-chill and the cab was already called. I waited outside, berating myself for my financial choices once again- a vicious pattern. The cab driver came quickly. As we drove home- and this was the nicest cab driver ever- I sat there in the back of the taxi-van with a lump in my throat. Fear. I laughed at his jokes and gave him a good tip, but I wanted to get back home to go through this in private.

Once safely back at home, I ate a bunch of crackers and veggie pate and paced around starting and abandoning tasks. Even now, I’m still a bit worried. I’m still scared. But I did get one step closer to sending away my stuff. So I moved forward, despite all of that.

I guess this is what change is about. I’d love to say that I fearlessly embrace the change I instigate. But I don’t and spend a lot of time in an insane inner drama. I get sidetracked and bogged down in details and have anxiety attacks about buying bins on sunny Sunday afternoon.

Because of the strength of these doubts- I’m proud of myself. It turns out that a small task can be a huge step. Those bins are a symbol of me getting closer to my CDF’s.

“No one would have ever crossed the ocean, if they could have gotten off the ship in a storm.” -Charles Kettering.