by greenspacewriter 09/29/2012
I leave my apartment in the morning with a fuzzy head, squinting at the pavement. I try
not to make eye contact with anyone as I head to the subway, a place I decidedly do not
want to be. I canter down the stairs, bracing myself for whatever smells are about to hit
me, cram my headphones in my ears and try not to bump up against anybody inside the
car. I tentatively hold the subway pole, grimacing, thinking of the germs dancing up the
sticky metal. A little girl’s pigtails unfurl against the back of my hand and I tense up. I
feel eyes everywhere. I shut my eyes. I want to shut everything out so I can get where I’m
going without any problems, without any stress. I think I’m doing a great job.
Before I know it I’ve emerged from the subway and walked some number of blocks, two
or maybe eight, and arrived at my destination—work, a class, a doctor’s office. I don’t
really remember how I got there, or who I saw, or what I heard on the way. I spent the
ride stewing about how much I didn’t want to be traveling, and I felt very alone in my
anxiety. Now I don’t feel good, I don’t feel open, and I certainly don’t feel like writing.
In a city like New York that’s teeming with people and often with uncomfortableview more »
situations, we need our defense mechanisms in order to function—so we tell ourselves.