Agenda Anxiety

To be honest, I don’t like a lot of things. I don’t particularly like school, or clubs, or therapy, or the thought of time coming and going as quickly as it does. There’s one point in which my anxiousness reaches a new level: agendas.

My fear of scheduling has grown from feeling dreadful about weekly piano lessons to every day education through the public school system.

Over the last two years, it has grown into something I can’t control.

Once I noticed that I wasn’t able to do anything about attending these sorts of pre-planned and scheduled things, I began to overthink and panic at some points.

I wasn’t able to have a say in what I was doing. It was like I was being closed in by two never-ending glass walls moving closer and closer until I got crushed by lack of motivation and anxiety. I couldn’t push them apart no matter how hard I tried.

I play tennis. I like to play tennis and I enjoy the feeling of having the skills to be able to play the sport. I like watching it and being able to learn from the professionals – I love almost everything about it. I’d even played at the Huron Valley Tennis Club for about three years because it was an easy-access indoor area where I could practice and have fun with a small group of people.

Unfortunately, once COVID-19 struck Ann Arbor, I stopped going. I had to stay inside without seeing anybody besides my immediate family and my teachers through a screen. Occasionally, my dad and I would go into the street to play tennis. It was wide enough to have cars on either side; we still had enough room to hit a ball back and forth. But though it was nice, it just wasn’t the same.

That was in the early stages of the pandemic. Once people were becoming vaccinated, I was able to go back to the tennis club.When my mom brought it up in the past, I would usually be excited and ready to go; but this time, something was different.

I told my mother that I didn’t want to go.

Hearing this, my mother looked confused. Her eyebrows tightened and she turned her head away from me, giving me a slight side-eye. She paused for a minute before responding with something about doing something physical being good for me even though I told her I had no interest in going anymore.

The next week, she’d signed me up for it.

I was obviously a little bit upset since we had talked about it before, and I felt hurt. I felt as if my voice wasn’t heard. Once I had no choice, tennis changed from a hobby to a requirement. It had been something I appreciated. Now, it’s something I see drifting away from me in my future.

I don’t want to stop playing, but I may feel the need to completely drop it. I’m being put in this place that I can’t control no matter what I say or do.

The anxiety feels like a little kid attached to a parent’s leg. It follows me everywhere, including school. A daily alarm with repetitive beeping, packing my bag, walking out of the front door and getting in the car to head off. The music is accidentally too loud. It’s too cold. I already want to go back home.

I walk up to the front door, slip on my mask and go inside. On odd days, I immediately go downstairs to meet my French teacher on the first floor. On even days, I sit on the second-floor ledge until exactly 7:50 am so I have enough time to get there and set everything up for my morning math class.

The cycle continues; rinse and repeat.

I go to the rest of my classes and then walk out of the door, get into the car and go home. I get my backpack out along with my books and Chromebook to begin working on assignments. Once I’m finished, I can’t really do much before I start to think about what may happen tomorrow.

I can’t control half of these things, such as going to school, because of the consequences. I feel guilty — I can’t help it.

If I get something wrong, or accidentally forget to turn something in on time, I begin to panic. No matter what, I can’t stop the guilt nor the cause of it because there will be consequences and then a greater feeling of guilt.

With a schedule there, the glass walls push harder before I feel myself begin to break.

I want to not carry so much unnecessary weight on my back full of anxiety and harsh feelings.

I want to be strong enough to take off the pressure.

I want to be able to breathe.