It takes a special kind of person to hold their composure when your anxiety is coming at them full force.
I don’t do well with large crowds; especially when my kids are rambunctious little beings. Yet, I can’t avoid large crowds if I want to experience things, more so have my kids experience things.
Yesterday we took an adventure to the Iowa State Fair. Had I known exactly how many people were going to be there at one time, I probably would have changed my mind. My anxiety was fine until we finally got to Des Moines and were having bad luck finding a parking spot. The first problem being we didn’t know exactly where the fair gate was in relation to the neighborhood that we were in.
I had remembered seeing a post on Facebook about parking at the Veterans building because it is their biggest fund raiser of the year. I typed in the address for it and we went there. It took us to a neighborhood. I really try not to be too judgy about things, but I couldn’t help it this time. It just didn’t feel like we were in a good part of town. My anxiety was on, but I figured we had to park somewhere and for all I know I could be wrong.
We finally got to the veterans building and their sign said “full”. Apparently we are inclined to not believe signs that say full because Chris pulled in anyways and asked if they were still full. The man replied in a not very nice tone, “do you see the sign? Yes we are full.” Another guy said to hold on because another car just left so he was going to check the spot. You could tell the other men were not amused. They seemed to be telepathically giving the finger to the man who was checking. The spot was not available and they instructed us to pull out. We drove around looking for another spot, but they were all full.
We finally pulled into a parking lot of a bar near the gate of the fair and asked the workers if they were full. The man said, “we have this spot, this spot, that one and that one….but….it is going to cost you $20”. My first thought was, “there is no way Chris will want to pay that and my next thought is, I don’t care just park conflabbit”. I was surprised when Chris said okay and handed me the $20 to give to them. We got our pass and parked. I actually was glad it was closer to the entrance because I knew by time we left the kids wouldn’t want to walk that far back to the van.
My anxiety wasn’t too bad until we got inside the gate and tried to figure out where we wanted to go. People truly don’t care about anyone but themselves, they clearly couldn’t tell that we were trying to stay together as they cut me off (I was pushing the stroller) and got in front of me. I was getting overwhelmed and cursing at Chris in my mind for not looking back to see that I wasn’t with him. Finally I yelled at him, trying to get him to wait for me. I know it is hard to wait when the crowd is moving like New York City streets. Somehow we managed to group back up and I told him my anxiety is not liking it. Being together for almost 10 years now, he has gotten very good at knowing my signs. He knows I don’t do well in gigantic crowds.
I also don’t do well with maps that don’t have a “you are here” sort of pin on them. I had the fair’s app on my phone and we were trying to get to the kids area where the animals and hands on stuff was. I couldn’t count how many times we were temporarily separated by the crowd. Slipknot was also playing that night so the line for that was taking up space to be maneuvered around. At some point though, we found our destination and I started to calm down.
I know I can be difficult when my anxiety is full force. I often feel guilty that my husband has to get the brunt if it. Often feeling like I don’t deserve him. And even as hard as I try to not let the anxiety lash out of me, I am not perfect and it happens. Never once has he batted an eye or called me crazy. He is patient and loving regardless. It takes a special kind of person to love and continue to love in the way that he loves me when I am being erratic. He is my rock.
We had a good time overall at the fair. Our friends wound up meeting up with us and showing us things we didn’t realize were even there. Monkey especially loved seeing all the farm animals; she has been obsessed with farms this year. We saw chickens hatching from their eggs, 1200 pound boars, beautiful horses, and even a baby ostrich (just to name a few). Pickle braved a couple of the thrill rides and they each went through a couple fun houses. Bug slept the majority of the time, but also enjoyed looking around when he was awake.
As we were getting ready to leave, it was finally getting dark out. I had been wanting to see everything lit up and finally had my chance. I took this picture with my phone, no edits or filters. I think it looks awesome.
At the end of the day with my throbbing feet and aching back, all I could think about was how thankful I am to have such a loving husband. Even in my most difficult moments he doesn’t lash back at me, roll his eyes, or run away; he chooses love. Every single time. And for that I will always be grateful.