Anxiety is a bitch. J’s anxiety is a relentless bitch. J’s realization that he is stronger and bigger than I am makes his anxiety a hard-to-handle relentless bitch.
I say this because we went to the Social Security office today, and I had to take files. J was not happy seeing the files. They stress him out so he wanted to put them away, and I had to say NO, WE NEED THOSE. So he tried to get to them, and I tried to redirect him…and he became, quite quickly and determinedly, a wall.
A stone wall. A tall wall. A firm wall. A deeply-rooted wall. A wall with no openings, or weaknesses.
This became an argument, and I ended up hating myself. I always end up hating myself when J and I have a disagreement, or when I need to impose what needs to be done in spite of his anxieties.
We sat in front of the SSA employee looking, I’m sure, quite exhausted. J had a bruise on his lip, and I made sure to tell the man “this causes him anxiety. Having to go through this, bringing him here, it can be a problem for him because it is too abstract for him to process the thought that he needs to prove he is who he is, and who he is is a citizen of the United States.” I didn’t do it to be mean, but I wanted to make sure that, after confirming (not providing) all the basic information about J’s birth, there really was no need for all this to be done… He asked, very kindly, for a copy of his birth certificate and I, who want to make sure this doesn’t happen ever again, provided him with it, J’s original Social Security card, J’s Selective Service registration card, and his identification. I made sure that the file is complete, and that J doesn’t have to worry about being dragged to an office because someone doesn’t believe he is who he is.
As I said: I merely confirmed the information that was popping up on the Social Security computer system. Name (which they gave as First and Last, and I clarified was First-Middle-Last-Hyphen-Mother’s Maiden,) birth date and birth place. Everything was already in there.
I was not angry. I was very dignified. I wore a dress, heels, my hair neatly pinned in a bun…we were both neat, clean, properly dressed, properly equipped with paperwork.
The man whose letter summoned us looked humbled. It might have been because I stated “the purpose of this visit could have been stated with more clarity; there was no need to generate anxiety.” The other employee who was helping us agreed, and I’m sure that whatever training takes place on Wednesday afternoons (they close at noon for that purpose) might involve a quick mention of conveying a clear message when communicating with beneficiaries and their representatives.
J was nervous; he used the iPad to entertain himself, and when it ran out of batteries (his apps are never the low-consumption ones) he took my phone and, with the Proloquo, kept asking to call a TAXI and go HOME so he could EXERCISE, eat PIZZA and do a LEGO. This was done frequently enough that the person whose computer was moving as slowly as Flash in Zootopia looked like he wanted the ground to open up and swallow us.
But it’s done now. I feel exhausted. I am hoping that J and I can make up for this morning’s kerfuffle, and that we will forgive each other for re-enacting the whole stanza about the RAM and the DAM in the song High Hopes. There was a time when we were more the ANT and the RUBBER TREE PLANT, but… (By the way: A Hole In the Head, the movie in which High Hopes is performed by Frank Sinatra, is a really good non-It’s-a-Wonderful-Life Frank Capra movie…just in case you feel like watching it. And, on the subject of Capra: look up Five Came Back on Netflix. It’s totally worth your time.)
Off I go. We’re getting to the part in The Sound of Music where the kids sing The Sound of Music to the Baroness and Captain Von Trapp joins in, and by the time they sing So Long, Farewell I’ll be getting ready to pop his frozen pizza in the oven. By the time we get back from the mail it will be ready…
And we’ll find our center again. Maybe we’ll find our balance. Quite possibly, I hope, we will be peaceful and un-wall-like and un-ram-like… High hopes…high apple-pie-in-the-sky hopes for that…
Remember, girls and boys, boys and girls, communication is not just about talking…it’s about conveying meaning…a little understanding and clarity go a long way…