One of the first things that anyone tells me, from home, when they hear I live in Tennessee now, is how beautiful this state is. I have to agree with them. It is beautiful here. Some places more so than others, but I genuinely enjoy the beautiful scenes I pass by everyday on the way just to my own house. The next thing that people mention is that they think Tennessee is beautiful because of the Smokeys, or the rivers, or the trees. Now, before I continue, I will tell you that I think all of these things are beautiful as well.
WARNING: I am about to reveal my other side...Get Me Outta These Trees...
Everywhere you look, there are trees. Drive down the highway, look to your left, what do you see? TREES! Look to your right, what do you see? TREES! Look above you, what do you see? TREES! They are everywhere and did you know they move closer to you. Every few seconds, they pick up and move a little closer to you. Did you know that? They are trying to take away all of the room. They multiply. You see a tree, turn around once and there are now four trees where the one was. They want all of my air!.....
If you haven't figured it out by now, I am claustrophobic, or at least have major bouts of it at times. I never knew I was claustrophobic until I moved here. Although, now that I know it, it explains a lot of things that have happened in my life. I just never had the word, claustrophobia, to put with it. Not long after I moved here, I got stuck in the elevator at work. Now, before you go feeling too sorry for me, let me explain. I was stuck for a total of about 1 minute. Long enough to pick up the phone and report it, but also long enough for me to have a major panic attack. I just knew I would never get out of that elevator. It took several years before I was physically able to ride an elevator without getting sick or hyperventilating. I still do at times, but I am a little better now. This is about the same time that I began to notice how many trees there are here and how they keep moving closer to me.
For anyone reading this that might not know me well...[AND if you don't know me well, how on earth did you find this blog and why would you want to read it?]...I grew up where it is flat. Let me expand on that idea, it was flat as in a pancake, except any pancake I ever ate had more hills and valleys than where I grew up. Look at this aerial view of my hometown. It is flat! AND I LOVE IT! I love being able to see as far as my eye can see. My husband explains it as the curvature of the earth being what causes one to not be able to see any farther in good old West Texas. I don't know about that but I know that I love that when a thunderstorm blows up, I can see it coming at me. I have never liked storms and am terrified of tornadoes, but at least I can see one coming there! Here, you never know what is coming towards you because you can't see it for all of those trees!!!! It is my conclusion though that I am afraid of tornadoes because of my claustrophobia. I am not afraid of being killed, I am afraid of being trapped somewhere and not being able to get out. I also don't like it when traffic comes to a standstill on the interstate. The thought of being stuck on the Interstate and not being able to get out of the traffic for hours, terrifies me! One day last year, we were coming into Nashville and we were in the middle lane of 3. All of a sudden, for no apparent reason, the traffic just stops. I was stuck. It didn't help that there was a truck on either side of me and in front of me, I couldn't see! I began to hyperventilate! Picturing myself being stuck here for ever.
I also can now explain a couple of things about my childhood. One of which is diving off the high dive at the swimming pool. Bless poor Coach Wilson! He tried and tried to get me to jump off the diving board. Our local pool had 2 boards, one low board and then a high board. For 3 summers, when I was about 6, 7, 8, my Mom signed me up for swimming lessons with good ol' Coach Wilson. Coach Wilson was the head football coach and also went to church with us. I was thrilled to take lessons with Coach Wilson, but was upset that I didn't get to take lessons with Coach Paty, another football coach, who also attended church with us and who taught my brother to swim! Anyway, the 3rd year, Coach had me helping him with the younger kids and told my Mom not to bring me back for lessons as he just couldn't take her money any longer, being as how I could swim like a fish after the first year. (We didn't have a Country Club membership, and this was my Mom's way of making sure I got some swimming in I think!). However, that last year, Coach was determined I was jumping off the high dive before lessons were over. I was equally determined that I was not! I had acquiesced and had jumped off the lower board, hating every minute of it, but there was no way I was jumping off the high! What I hated about the lower board, was not that I couldn't do it, and my mind knew that I was supposed to jump and when I touched bottom to push back off and come up to the top. However, I would almost drown every time, because as soon as the water started closing over me, I began to fight. Now, I understand why, it was the claustrophobia! I guess I was also smart enough to understand that if I had that feeling, just after jumping off the low board, that the speed and force with which I would hit the water after jumping off the high dive would just make the problem worse.
So, what is my cure for claustrophobia...a good trip to some WIDE OPEN SPACES!!! A trip home. We will be heading that way on Saturday. I need me some wide open spaces to readjust my head and be able to live among all of these trees again for another few months. It seems that my claustrophobia gets exceptionally worse this time year. 1--it has been since December since I've been home...2--I think when all of the trees bud and leaf out in the Spring, I get worse, cause I can no longer see beyond said trees. So, I am headed home, gonna straighten my head out and get some relaxing done before the crazy Fall Semester starts!