The Starbucks Lie Exposed

The weather has taken a very Wisconsiny turn, as it were, and we are getting a bunch of snow.  It has been very well broadcast on the news and on social media and everyone is just simply talking about "the snow".  For someone who has anxiety and panic attacks about driving in snow, the huge build up, with expected amounts and arrival times, builds up my anxiety.  Yet, I want to feel prepared so I look at it all anyway. 
So the snow started overnight on Monday and it has been snowing lightly off and on since. The build up had me very nervous about my drive home last night (yes, it was slippery but I did fine), about my drive to work (much worse this morning, I was very stressed and shakey when I got to work) and about my drive home tonight (I am hoping it will be clearer tonight than my morning drive was.  I also have to get my son and I to the chiropractor tonight with not a lot of time to spare in between getting off work, getting home slowly and then getting us there.  Luckily, nothing is too far away from each other. Still, when I get filled with anxiety it makes me want to comfort in a big, bad way.  But since I've been doing so good with food lately, it makes me leery to do anything rash.  But there is that feeling like I want something to help with the feelings.  I have even considered having some beer or wine, pre-planning for my stress.  I haven't, but it sounds good.
I needed to stop at the corner grocery this morning to get some oatmeal, and as I walked through, accosted by all the pretty, shiny, tasty things to buy I analyzed what I am doing, trying to have a thing substitue or distract me from my feelings.  It reminded me of when I lived in Las Vegas.  My husband and I were pretty young, and our kids were so little and we were really stretching things just to live paycheck-to-paycheck.  The optical shop that I worked at shared a wall with Starbucks.  Ugh.  I love caffeine and sugary coffee drinks were right up my alley.  But I could rarely afford it.  Sure, sometimes on payday I would indulge in a $5 frappuccino and I felt very "put together" because for that one day I could afford a frap.  But a couple of the girls I worked with would come to work with their nails all salon-fresh, loads of hair and makeup products in tow, and they would be sipping Starbucks drinks all day long.  I will tell you, the days that I simply didn't have the money to buy a Starbucks were plentiful, and it felt so very awful inside.  I remember discussing it with my husband and dreaming of the day when I too could have a Starbucks whenever I wanted.  Now I am in that position, but what I didn't have the foggiest idea of back then was that those sugar-laden, caramel-drizzled cups of heaven weren't really about the drink itself;  they were my way of ignoring my reality while numbing my feelings because there were so many things I was unhappy about at the time.  To be honest, who wouldn't choose a frappuccino over low self-esteem, sleep deprivation, being detached from family and friends, working for a company I didn't like that much, and wondering how everyone else seems to be doing fine while I was stuck feeling like we would never get ahead?  That Starbucks represented "being OK" to me, and I wanted to pretend I was, just like everyone else. 
I do not own the rights to this photo. 

So these targeted desires change, I'm older now and living in a snowy place with anxiety and I wish I could afford a new car that's really great on the snow, but I can't so my substitute is to turn to something attainable, like alcohol.  Don't get me wrong, if I have some it is 1 bottle of beer or 1 glass of wine unless I'm feeling really saucy one night and have a second, but it is still an unneccesary crutch that doesn't do what I'm hoping it will do very well.  It's temporary and it isn't something that makes me wake up the next day rejuvenated and suddenly over all those feelings.  The fact that I am starting to see this stuff is really really positive; it means there is hope that I can move past these things.  The anxiety will take more work and probably medication, but the wanting to avoid it or comfort my feelings with external things is something that I think I can conquer with mindfulness if I am dilligent with it.  Desires stem from dissatisfaction, and at the young age of 46, I think I am finally learning to examine the dissatisfaction and look for coping or healing strategies, instead of focusing on the desire.  This comes in so many forms in my life.  I feel like there is a crack in the doorway and I'm about to open it wide to expose some really great stuff inside.  I have seen it said so many times and ways, that you have to face the dark stuff in order to heal and I have always known it but felt like there was something really unclear about my driving behaviors.  I am getting closer to the answers I seek.  I'm starting to understand the minfulness better.  So many of the things I have seen and read are finally starting to pool together in a way that makes sense to me.  A habit can sometimes be temporarily changed by sheer willpower, but it probably won't last long.  I think negative behaviors, or things you don't like about yourself, have valuable lessons underneath, and can be fixed by spending time focusing on them so you can figure out what drives the behaviors.  I have some that I really need to work on and I'm closer than ever to the initial step of naming them, stripping them thread-bare and changing my viewpoint of them.  More details to follow, of course!


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