After the past few weeks, ibuprofen is definitely not enough.
Y’all know that I’ve been working hard to make my move to New York a reality. The first half of the year was made up of aggressive interviewing, during which, I learned to be much more selective about which interviews I take and how to negotiate salaries. I relaxed a bit when my office was more open to letting me telecommute from New York, which would have eliminated the need to hunt for a new job for a year or so, but last week, prospects of that happening seemed low.
Three people on my team have put in their notice, which would be jarring for anyone on a nine-person team (which should really be at twelve). So the hunt continues.
Also taking place during my blogging hiatus was a week of illness — what I thought was the flu happened to be the precursor to pneumonia. So yeah, fifteen days of antibiotics later, I’m a real person again!
In the meantime, I made a few of these cocktails last weekend on a hot day that I spent mostly inside, and it brought me back to a day a couple of years ago, spent on the dock of a bar in Annapolis, drinking these high-sugar, high-fat cocktails. They did not disappoint then, and they definitely fixed the debbie downers that have been creeping their way into the past couple of months.
I’ve been coming to terms with anxiety, and whether or not turning to meds is the answer. And after years of playing therapist to friends, I turned to some of mine, who have also struggled with anxiety. I come from a family that legitimately does not acknowledge emotions — I struggled with depression and anxiety through high school and much of college, and it went entirely unnoticed, mostly because my parents put a huge stigma on anxiety, and being diagnosed with depression or anxiety was just. not. an option. For most of my life, I was under the impression that any form of anxiety was mental illness in disguise. That you can solve any problem by yourself. That insecurity and anxiety are qualities that make you a weak person.
All of these notions are false. So incredibly false. While there are many times I feel like blaming my parents or my high school or my college, what it probably comes down to is the changing world — growing up in a generation of people who have been helped by therapy and who have recognized that feeling nervous, insecure, or regretful over a snippet of a memory of something that you did or said ten years ago might be due to a chemical imbalance… that it’s not normal to go sleepless over something that, in the big picture of your life, is too insignificant to interfere with the present.
And sometimes, the solution is to take medicine that corrects that imbalance. A solution that goes into your brain and calms you down, because your time is too valuable to waste, worrying about something that doesn’t matter. But sometimes, you can figure it out on your own. Sometimes, a nap or a good cry can calm down my emotions. Or validation from a comedian, who read a book about the female brain and came to the conclusion that it’s a miracle that we’re not bursting into tears all 24 hours of the day (truth girl, truth). Or a yoga class, which helps you differentiate the strengths and weaknesses of your mind from the strengths and weaknesses in your body.
But sometimes, a couple of stiff cocktails with your favorite people work more magic than anything. Because there are few things in this world that take pain away better than sharing delicious treats with people who make you feel loved.
The Painkiller, makes 1 cocktail
2 oz Mount Gay Rum
4 oz pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz cream of coconut
Measure out your ingredients and combine all in a glass (traditionally, a hurricane or a snifter, but I don’t have those at home, so I went for the mason jar). We ran the cream of coconut through a sieve to remove the chunks.
Serve with ice, and garnish with an orange wedge and a maraschino cherry. Repeat (safely).