31. Worrywart / by Allie Farris

Just a quick check-in tonight because my apartment is a tornado and I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the amount of floor left showing. 

I've taken a lovely two day weekend, full of absolutely nothing to do but pack my things and list sellable items online. I've joyously spent the entire day pacing across my one-bedroom in my pajamas, doing so many small bursts of walking that MyFitnessPal logged five calories burned from all the steps I took, back and forth.
     I spent the day intermittently Face-timing with C, also lounging in his spot in Switzerland, sending me furniture ideas and asking me how I feel about open wardrobes. I decided that with the tiny amount of clothing I have left to move, I wouldn't be cluttering any spaces. I'm for them.

Two nights ago, I was out with friends at my favorite restaurant in Nashville. It's a place twenty minutes outside of town, situated on its own farm, calling itself a "hyper-local" establishment due to the sourcing of all its food within a twenty mile radius and changing its menu twice a month depending on availability. I love the food; it's amazing every time. Now that I'm typing this and making my mouth water, I may just go back next week.
     About halfway through my highly anticipated dinner with my friends, my stomach started to gas up and feel painful. I had been getting these bubbles for a while before now, but things seemed to worsen despite all my normal attempts to make it better. Returning to the table, my friend was in the middle of a very intense story when I held up a hand, dramatically, informing the table that I was about to hurl. I fanned myself while everyone got their checks and watched me closely, letting me know how red my face had become (I figured it was out of equal parts discomfort and embarrassment). I drove home with Sharon, convinced I had ruined an otherwise delightful evening. I even cried as I crawled into bed, clutching my bubbly stomach, fearing my friends would never want to go to dinner with my unpredictable gut ever again.

The next day, over an unconventionally cheesy slice of quiche Lorraine, I discovered that the same queasy, angry stomach demon had returned. His name, I realized, was lactose intolerance. I consulted my parents about their ability to process dairy, and hung my head in resolute, whey-based shame. Texting a sleeping C, I notified him that we were now a Lactaid family.

Why do I tell you all of this? Any of it? Maybe I want you to feel sorry for me. Maybe I'd just like to see the words typed out, and know they're true. For the past year, I thought C's lactose intolerance was his thing, that I could carry on eating the same cheese plates for dinner like I did in my early twenties. But a switch flipped, and a decision was made deep in my cells, out of my control. I think of all the things so far in my life that I cried over, that I begged wouldn't be because I couldn't make sense of them. I couldn't change the outcome to fit my own vision of what my life was supposed to be like. I wanted to be the top winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest; I didn't get picked. I wanted to have a long dinner with friends; boom, gas bubble. I just wanted to eat my dang mac and cheese in peace; that won't happen again without a pill.

I come from a long line of worriers, and I'm not saying the buck stops here. All I mean is I get it; I won't be adding any extra brie to my life by crying into my almond milk. Things could be a lot worse, and maybe sometimes they will be. It will be up to me to decide how long I hold onto the pain before I move on, and find another thing to think about. No amount of gray hairs sprouting from my scalp or substances I can no longer process will decide for me it's time to stop worrying so much, and that's the truth. Now if you will excuse me, I have a tornado to attend to.